Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green Dead At 73

Peter Green, the English guitarist who founded and led the original blues-oriented incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, has died. According to a statement from his family, the Associated Press reports, Green passed away “peacefully in his sleep.” He was 73.

Born Peter Allen Greenbaum, Green began learning guitar at a young age and was playing professionally by the time he was 15. In 1966, he replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. And a year later, he formed Fleetwood Mac with two other former Bluesbreakers, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, naming the band after them.

Initially billed as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac featuring [guitarist] Jeremy Spencer,” the band quickly secured a recording contract and released their self-titled debut album in 1968. Green wrote hits like “Black Magic Woman,” later covered by Santana, and the instrumental “Albatross.” But as the band’s success grew, so did Green’s LSD use, and his mental health deteriorated.

Green began wearing robes and a crucifix and became obsessed with giving away his money. Following a bad trip at a commune in Munich in 1970, Green hit a breaking point. He recorded one final hit with Fleetwood Mac, “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown),” and left the band. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent much of the mid-1970s in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

Green returned to music as the ’70s drew to a close, releasing a string of solo albums and finding work as a session musician. In the ’90s, he formed the Peter Green Splinter Group and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as part of Fleetwood Mac. He later began touring as Peter Green And Friends.