Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green, blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, dies at 73

Green, considered by some as one of the best British blues guitarists of the 1960s, also composed hit songs like "Albatross" and "Black Magic Woman."
Green And McVie
Guitarist Peter Green, right, and bassist John McVie, of British rock group Fleetwood Mac, rehearsing at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on April 22, 1969.Michael Putland / Getty Images file

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By Nicole Acevedo

Peter Green, co-founder of rock band Fleetwood Mac, has died at age of 73, according to a law firm acting on behalf of his family.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep," Swan Turton LLP, solicitors acting on behalf of his family, said in a statement.

The blues guitarist and singer-songwriter started the band alongside drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie in London in 1967. He left the group a few years later in 1969 after struggling with mental illness.

"For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental!" Mick Fleetwood said in a statement. "I will miss you, but rest easy your music lives on. I thank you for asking me to be your drummer all those years ago. We did good, and trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy."

Peter Green performs on stage on the first day of Cornbury Festival in Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, U.K. on July 11, 2009.Steve Thorne / Redferns file

Fleetwood told The Associated Press in 2017 that Green deserves most of the credit for the band’s success.

“Peter was asked why did he call the band Fleetwood Mac. He said, ‘Well, you know I thought maybe I’d move on at some point and I wanted Mick and John (McVie) to have a band.’ End of story, explaining how generous he was,” said Fleetwood, who described Green as a standout musician even in an era of great guitarists.

He was so fundamental to the band that in its early days it was called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, his band co-founder added.

Green became an influential blues rock guitarist, with Rolling Stone reporting that he's considered one of the best 100 greatest guitarists ever.

Green also made his mark as a composer, with “Albatross,” “Oh Well” and “Black Magic Woman.”

The dreamy instrumental “Albatross” — which John Lennon said influenced his song “Sun King” on the Beatles album “Abbey Road” — reached the top of the U.K. singles chart in 1968.

Following his departure from Fleetwood Mac, Green returned for sporadic guest appearances.

He ultimately reclaimed his musical career when in 1998 he appeared in New York for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his bandmates. He then continued to perform and tour over the years.

Divorced from Jane Samuels Green, Green is survived by their daughter, Rose Samuels-Greenbaum.

Tributes from other musicians poured forth Saturday.

"Sad to hear of Peter Green passing- one of the greats. RIP," tweeted Geezer Butler, founding member of Black Sabbath.

"Most sadly have lost one of the most tasteful guitar players ever I have always been a huge admirer of the great Peter Green may he rest in peace," Peter Frampton tweeted.

"R.I.P Peter Green. A unique artist and a beautiful guitar player," British guitarist Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths, tweeted alongside a photo of Green.

English rock and blues guitarist Bernie Marsden, best known for his work in the band Whitesnake, tweeted a heartfelt tribute to Green alongside one of the last photos they took together, saying, "Many more words will be written and spoken about Peter, but I - very simply - just miss him."

Diana Dasrath , The Associated Press and Variety contributed.