Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder, Dead at 73

Green was considered to be one of the best guitarists of his generation

Peter Green
Guitarist Peter Green (right) and bassist John McVie, of British rock group Fleetwood Mac, rehearsing at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 22nd April 1969.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Peter Green’s name might not be as well-known as some of the other musicians who played in Fleetwood Mac, the long-running group he co-founded with Mick Fleetwood in 1967. But Green’s skill as a musician and his work in helping bring the initial lineup of the band together helped set the stage for one of rock music’s most beloved bands. The BBC reports that Green died this weekend at the age of 73. A statement from his family provided minimal details and mentioned that a longer version would be forthcoming.

Green was considered one of the best guitarists of his generation. Famously, graffiti testifying to his skills popped up around London in response to the then-ubiquitous “Clapton is God” slogans found around the city. When Green replaced Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, so too did a new slogan arise: “Peter Green is better than God.” Among his admirers was B. B. King.

Mental health issues prompted Green to leave Fleetwood Mac in 1970 after recording 3 albums with the band. He spent part of the decade institutionalized. In 1996, he returned with a new band, The Splinter Group. Two years later, Green was one of the members of Fleetwood Mac inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Earlier this year, Fleetwood organized a tribute concert to Green which was held at the London Palladium. Among those performing were David Gilmour, Pete Townshend and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. A deluxe collection of older Fleetwood Mac material is set to be released in September; it’s a date that’s taken on a bittersweet cast with today’s news.

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