“My baby’s gone and left me…crying by myself.
My baby’s gone and left me…crying by myself.
I loved another woman…I lost my best gal.”
Fleetwood Mac has been a functioning musical unit for over 40 years, marking time as both a British blues band and, later, as one of the most popular rock n roll bands in history. The only constants have been drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, legendary musicians whose rhythm section have powered some of the biggest hits and most influential songs of the modern era. Peter Green formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967 after leaving John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Britain’s preeminent blues band. He had replaced Eric Clapton and Mayall brought him in for only one album, the 1967 release “A Hard Road”. The album featured a track that would become the template for the early Fleetwood Mac sound: ‘The Supernatural’. The song was an instrumental drenched in reverb and atmosphere, with a tonal quality unheard of in any musical genre. Green was hailed as the next guitar hero and he soon decided to form his own group.
With fellow Bluesbreakers Fleetwood and McVie, he recruited Elmore James soundalike Jeremy Spencer to form the original lineup of Fleetwood Mac. Signed to the Blues Horizon label, the group’s eponymous first album, “Fleetwood Mac”, contained more of the guitar work Green had become known for. It also showcased Green as an expert songwriter and singer. The song ‘If I Loved Another Woman’ is notable from this effort as it is the first melding of Peter Green’s strengths as an artist. The almost Spanish quality to the rhythm and tones melded with his British sensiblity created a new kind of blues, which would later be heard in hits like ‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘The Green Manalishi’. The band were the toast of London and became one of the biggest selling acts in England at the time.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Peter Green’s tenture in Fleetwood Mac lasted only until 1970. Although lauded as one of the most influential guitarists of the blues scene, he mysteriously faded from view and remained silent for decades due to illness. Jeremey Spencer also left the group soon after, becoming involved with a religious cult while on tour in the USA. Fleetwood and McVie soldiered on with many different incarnations of the group, unsuccessfully for part of the 1970s. They brought in McVie’s then-wife Christine and Americans Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham to form another definitive lineup of the group in 1975, going on to great critical and commerical success.
However, the albums they released with Peter Green established the name of Fleetwood Mac and left Green a living legend. His guitar style remains untouchable, yet influential on almost all who followed him. ‘Black Magic Woman’ would ultimately become the signature hit for Carlos Santana, whose guitar style and tone was closely modeled after Green. Green reemerged in the late 1990’s with a new band, The Splinter Group. His health back on track, Green has released several albums of material that harken back to his days on the London blues scene. While he may not retain the sheer power of his early live shows and releases, the fact that he can continue to make music is a true miracle. He was able to stand with his bandmates at the 1998 Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction to be heralded for his massive contribution to the world of music. He played a smoking duet with Carlos Santana on ‘Black Magic Woman’, marking the first time the two men stood on stage and played together.
(This video features the original studio recording of the album. I do not know what the picture is all about! Enjoy the track.)