Peter Green (musician)
Green with harmonica and guitar (Bilston, England, 2009)
|Birth name||Peter Allen Greenbaum|
|Born||29 October 1946|
Bethnal Green, London
|Years active||1966–1973, 1977–1985, 1997–2010|
Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum, 29 October 1946) is an English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. As a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green's songs, such as "Albatross", "Black Magic Woman", "Oh Well", "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)" and "Man of the World", appeared on singles charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.
Green was a major figure in the "second great epoch" of the British blues movement. B.B. King commented, "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats." Eric Clapton has praised his guitar playing; he is noted for his use of string bending, vibrato, and economy of style.
Rolling Stone ranked Green at number 58 in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". His tone on the instrumental "The Supernatural" was rated as one of the 50 greatest of all time by Guitar Player. In June 1996, Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.
- 1 Career
- 2 Playing style and song writing
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Influence
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Peter Allen Greenbaum was born in Bethnal Green, London on 29 October 1946, into a Jewish family, the youngest of Joe and Ann Greenbaum's four children. His brother, Michael, taught him his first guitar chords and by the age of eleven Green was teaching himself. He began playing professionally by the age of fifteen. He first played bass guitar in a band called Bobby Dennis and the Dominoes, which performed pop chart covers and rock 'n' roll standards, including Shadows covers. He later stated that Hank Marvin was his guitar hero and he played The Shadows song Midnight on the 1996 tribute album "Twang." He went on to join a rhythm and blues outfit, the Muskrats, then a band called The Tridents in which he played bass. In 1966, Green played lead guitar in Peter Bardens' band "Peter B's Looners", where he met drummer Mick Fleetwood. It was with Peter B's Looners that he made his recording début with the single "If You Wanna Be Happy" with "Jodrell Blues" as a B-side. His recording of "If You Wanna Be Happy" was an instrumental cover of a song by Jimmy Soul.
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
After three months with Bardens' group, Green had the opportunity to fill in for Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for three concerts. Soon after, when Clapton left the Bluesbreakers, Green became a full-time member of Mayall's band.
As the band walked in the studio I noticed an amplifier which I never saw before, so I said to John Mayall, "Where's Eric Clapton?" Mayall answered, "He's not with us anymore, he left us a few weeks ago." I was in a shock of state [sic] but Mayall said, "Don't worry, we got someone better." I said, "Wait a minute, hang on a second, this is ridiculous. You've got someone better? Than Eric Clapton?" John said, "He might not be better now, but you wait, in a couple of years he's going to be the best." Then he introduced me to Peter Green.
Green made his recording debut with the Bluesbreakers in 1966 on the album A Hard Road (1967), which featured two of his own compositions, "The Same Way" and "The Supernatural". The latter was one of Green's first instrumentals, which would soon become a trademark. So proficient was he that his musician friends bestowed upon him the nickname "The Green God". In 1967, Green decided to form his own blues band and left the Bluesbreakers.
Green's new band, with former Bluesbreaker, Mick Fleetwood on drums and Jeremy Spencer on guitar, was initially called "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer". Bob Brunning was temporarily employed on bass guitar, as Green's first choice, Bluesbreakers' bassist John McVie, was not yet ready to join the band. Within a month they played at the Windsor National Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1967 and were quickly signed to Mike Vernon's Blue Horizon label. Their repertoire consisted mainly of blues covers and originals, mostly written by Green, but some were written by slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer. The band's first single, Spencer's "I Believe My Time Ain't Long" with Green's "Rambling Pony" as a B-side, did not chart but their eponymous debut album made a significant impression, remaining in the British charts for over a year. By September 1967, John McVie had replaced Brunning.
Although classic blues covers and blues-styled originals remained prominent in the band's repertoire through this period, Green rapidly blossomed as a songwriter and contributed many successful original compositions from 1968 onwards. The songs chosen for single release showed Green's style gradually moving away from the group's blues roots into new musical territory. Their second studio album Mr. Wonderful was released in 1968 and continued the formula of the first album. In the same year they scored a hit with Green's "Black Magic Woman" (later covered by Santana), followed by the guitar instrumental "Albatross" (1969), which reached number one in the British singles charts. More hits written by Green followed, including "Oh Well", "Man of the World" (both 1969) and the ominous "The Green Manalishi" (1970). The double album Blues Jam in Chicago (1969) was recorded at the Chess Records Ter-Mar Studio in Chicago. There, under the joint supervision of Vernon and Marshall Chess, they recorded with some of their American blues heroes including Otis Spann, Big Walter Horton, Willie Dixon, J. T. Brown and Buddy Guy.
In 1969, after signing to Immediate Records for one single ("Man of the World", prior to that label's collapse) the group signed with Warner Bros. Records' Reprise Records label and recorded their fourth studio album Then Play On, prominently featuring the group's new third guitarist, 18-year-old Danny Kirwan. Green had first seen Kirwan in 1967 playing with his blues trio Boilerhouse, with Trevor Stevens on bass and Dave Terrey on drums. Green was impressed with Kirwan's playing and used the band as a support act for Fleetwood Mac before recruiting Kirwan to his own band in 1968 at the suggestion of Mick Fleetwood. Spencer, however, made virtually no contribution to Then Play On, owing to his reported refusal to play on any of Green's original material.
Beginning with "Man of the World"'s melancholy lyric, Green's bandmates began to notice changes in his state of mind. He was taking large doses of LSD, grew a beard and began to wear robes and a crucifix. Mick Fleetwood recalls Green becoming concerned about accumulating wealth: "I had conversations with Peter Green around that time and he was obsessive about us not making money, wanting us to give it all away. And I'd say, 'Well you can do it, I don't wanna do that, and that doesn't make me a bad person.'"
While touring Europe in late March 1970, Green took LSD at a party at a commune in Munich, an incident cited by Fleetwood Mac manager Clifford Davis as the crucial point in his mental decline. Communard Rainer Langhans mentions in his autobiography that he and Uschi Obermaier met Green in Munich, where they invited him to their Highfisch-Kommune. Fleetwood Mac roadie Dinky Dawson remembers that Green went to the party with another roadie, Dennis Keane, and that when Keane returned to the band's hotel to explain that Green would not leave the commune, Keane, Dawson and Mick Fleetwood travelled there to fetch him. By contrast, Green stated that he had fond memories of jamming at the commune when speaking in 2009: "I had a good play there, it was great, someone recorded it, they gave me a tape. There were people playing along, a few of us just fooling around and it was... yeah it was great." He told Jeremy Spencer at the time "That's the most spiritual music I've ever recorded in my life." After a final performance on 20 May 1970, Green left Fleetwood Mac.
On 27 June 1970, Green appeared at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music with John Mayall, Rod Mayall (organ), Ric Grech (bass) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums). Also soon after leaving Fleetwood Mac, he accompanied former bandmate keyboardist Peter Bardens (Peter B's Looners) on Bardens' solo LP The Answer, playing lead guitar on several tracks. In that same year, he recorded a jam session with drummer Godfrey Maclean, keyboardists Zoot Money and Nick Buck, and bassist Alex Dmochowski of Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation; Reprise Records released the session as The End of the Game, Peter's first post-Fleetwood Mac solo album. In 1971 he had a brief reunion with Fleetwood Mac, helping them to complete a US tour after guitarist Jeremy Spencer had left the group, performing under the pseudonym Peter Blue. He recorded two tracks for the album Juju with Bobby Tench's band Gass; a solo single and another with Nigel Watson, sessions with B. B. King in London in 1972 and an uncredited appearance on Fleetwood Mac's Penguin LP in 1973, on the song "Night Watch". Green's mental illness and drug use had become entrenched at this time and he faded into professional obscurity.
In the early 2000s there were rumours of a reunion of the early line-up of Fleetwood Mac, involving Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. The two guitarists and vocalists were apparently unconvinced of the merits of such a project, but in April 2006, during a question-and-answer session on the Penguin Fleetwood Mac fan website, bassist John McVie said of the reunion idea:
If we could get Peter and Jeremy to do it, I'd probably, maybe, do it. I know Mick would do it in a flash. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much chance of Danny doing it. Bless his heart.
Illness and first re-emergence
Green was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in psychiatric hospitals undergoing electroconvulsive therapy during the mid-1970s. Many sources attest to his lethargic, trancelike state during this period. In 1977, Green was arrested for threatening his accountant David Simmons with a shotgun. The exact circumstances are the subject of much speculation, the most famous being that Green wanted Simmons to stop sending money to him. In the 2011 BBC documentary "Peter Green: Man of the World", Green stated that at the time he had just returned from Canada needing money and that, during a telephone conversation with his accounts manager, he alluded to the fact that he had brought back a gun from his travels. His accounts manager promptly called the police, who surrounded Green's house.
In 1979, Green began to re-emerge professionally. With the help of his brother Michael, he was signed to Peter Vernon-Kell's PVK label, and produced a string of solo albums starting with 1979's In the Skies. He also made an uncredited appearance on Fleetwood Mac's double album Tusk, on the song "Brown Eyes", released the same year.
In 1981, Green contributed to "Rattlesnake Shake" and "Super Brains" on Mick Fleetwood's solo album The Visitor. He recorded various sessions with a number of other musicians notably the Katmandu album A Case for the Blues with Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry, Vincent Crane from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Len Surtees of The Nashville Teens. Despite attempts by Gibson Guitar Corporation to start talks about producing a "Peter Green signature Les Paul" guitar, Green's instrument of choice at this time was a Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion guitar. In 1986 Peter and his brother Micky contributed to the album A Touch of Sunburn by Lawrie 'The Raven' Gaines (under the group name 'The Enemy Within'). This album has been re-issued many times under such titles as "Post Modern Blues" and "Peter Green and Mick Green – Two Greens Make a Blues", often crediting Pirates guitarist Mick Green.
In 1988 Green was quoted as saying: "I'm at present recuperating from treatment for taking drugs. It was drugs that influenced me a lot. I took more than I intended to. I took LSD eight or nine times. The effect of that stuff lasts so long.... I wanted to give away all my money.... I went kind of holy - no, not holy, religious. I thought I could do it, I thought I was all right on drugs. My failing!" 
Peter Green Splinter Group
Early in 2004, a tour was cancelled and the recording of a new studio album stopped when Green left the band and moved to Sweden. Shortly afterwards he signed on to a tour with The British Blues All Stars scheduled for the following year. The tour was cancelled, however, after the death of saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. At the time, Green stated that the medication he was taking to treat his psychological problems was making it hard for him to concentrate and sapped his desire to play guitar.
In February 2009, Green began playing and touring again, this time as Peter Green and Friends. In May 2009 he was the subject of the BBC Four documentary "Peter Green: Man of the World", produced by Henry Hadaway. Green and the band subsequently played a tour of Ireland, Germany and England. They went on to play several dates in Australia during March 2010, including the Byron Bay Bluesfest. The band were supported by singer-songwriter Garron Frith on their UK tour dates during May 2010.
Playing style and song writing
Green has been praised for his swinging shuffle grooves and soulful phrases and favoured the minor mode and its darker blues implications. His distinct tone can be heard on "The Super-Natural", an instrumental written by Green for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers' 1967 album A Hard Road. This song demonstrates Green's control of harmonic feedback. The sound is characterized by a shivering vibrato, clean cutting tones and a series of ten-second sustained notes. These tones were achieved by Green controlling feedback on a Les Paul guitar.
Early in his career, Green played a Harmony Meteor, an inexpensive hollow-body guitar. He began playing a Gibson Les Paul with the Bluesbreakers, a guitar which was often referred to as his "magic guitar". Though he played other guitars, he is best known for deriving a unique tone from his 1959 Les Paul. Green later sold it to Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore for $US300, which was the same price he had paid for it. In 2016, Kirk Hammett of Metallica bought the guitar for a reported 2 million USD.
In the 1990s, Green played a 1960s Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion model, using Fender Blues DeVille and Vox AC30 amplifiers. More recently, the Gibson ES-165 has seen more use.
Many rock guitarists have cited Green as an influence, including Gary Moore, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash. Green was The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson's pick in Guitar World's "30 on 30: The Greatest Guitarists Picked by the Greatest Guitarists" (2010). In the same article Robinson cites Jimmy Page, with whom the Crowes toured: "he told us so many Peter Green stories. It was clear that Jimmy loves the man's talent". Green's songs have been recorded by artists such as Santana, Aerosmith, Status Quo, Black Crowes, Midge Ure, Tom Petty, Judas Priest and Gary Moore, who recorded Blues for Greeny, an album of Green compositions.
Enduring periods of mental illness and destitution throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Green moved in with his older brother Len and his wife Gloria, and his mother in their house in Great Yarmouth, where a process of recovery began.
Green married Jane Samuels in January 1978; the couple divorced in 1979. They have a daughter, Rosebud Samuels-Greenbaum (born 1978).
- The End of the Game (1970)
- In the Skies (1979)
- Little Dreamer (1980)
- Whatcha Gonna Do? (1981)
- White Sky (1982)
- Kolors (1983)
- A Case for the Blues (with Katmandu) (1984)
- "Peter Green". Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Dantzig, Jol (16 August 2011). "The Secret of Peter Green's Tone". Premier Guitar. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- Marshall, Wolf (September 2007). "Peter Green: The Blues of Greeny". Vintage Guitar magazine. 21 (11): 96–100.
- "Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, The Band, The Music, The Legacy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "15 Iconic Les Paul Players". Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Guitar World: 30 on 30: The Greatest Guitarists Picked by the Greatest Guitarists". www.guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Thirty Great Guitarists – Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen – Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time". www.guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "58: Peter Green". The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
- Blackett, Matt (October 2004). "The 50 Greatest Tones of All Time". Guitar Player. 38 (10): 44–66.
- "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Mojo (31). June 1996.
- "Mojo – 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Peter Green – The Sixties Remembered – Sixties Music". Loti.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Eder, Bruce. "Pater B's Looners". allmusic.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Peter Green Biography". Fmlegacy.com. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "John Mayall A Hard Road". discogs.com. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Peter Green: The Green God with the Holy Grail Guitar". Boles Blues. 3 October 2010. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Bassplayer (05/06/1995), A life with Fleetwood Mac – John McVie Archived 24 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine", Blue Letter Archives. URL last accessed 20 February 2007
- "Fleetwood Mac Compilations". allmusic.com. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Liner notes for the CD The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac, 1968–1970, "Jet" Martin Celmins, Trojan Records, 2002.
- Rawlings, Terry (2002). Then, now and rare British Beat 1960–1969. Omnibus Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-7119-9094-8.
- Vernon, Mike (1999). The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (CD box set booklet). Fleetwood Mac. Sire Records.
- John McVie – "Peter Green: Man of the World", BBC TV, 2009
- Brunning, B (1998): Fleetwood Mac – The First 30 Years. London: Omnibus Press p28
- Dawson, Dinky & Alan, Carter, "Life on the Road", Billboard, 1998, pp. 131–132.
- "Peter Green: Man of the World", BBC TV, 2009
- SPL 1046 Stony Plain Records LP "White Skies" 1981 liner notes
- Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Guinness. p. 947. ISBN 1-56159-176-9.
- Wasserzieher, Bill (October 2006). "The Return of Jeremy Spencer". Blues Revue. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "The Penguin Q&A Sessions: John McVie Q&A Session, Part 2". The Penguin. January 2006. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Celmins, Martin. Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac. Castle. p. 143. ISBN 1-898141-13-4.
- Martin Celmins (31 August 1996). "Shall I tell you about my life..." The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "BBC4 Peter Green: Man of the world". bbc.co.uk. 6 February 2011. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Celmins, Martin. Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac. Castle. p. 145. ISBN 1-898141-13-4.
- Celmins, Martin. Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac. Castle. p. 148. ISBN 1-898141-13-4.
- "1996 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion". archtop.com. Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Green, Peter. "The Penguin Q&A Sessions". FleetwoodMac.Net. Archived from the original on 30 September 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Brunning, B (1998): Fleetwood Mac – The First 30 Years. London: Omnibus Press p29
- "Rock Legend Told to Ditch his Band". The Mail on Sunday (03/28/04). Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Bacon, Tony (2000). Electric Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portable. p. 124. ISBN 1-57145-281-8.
Scapelliti, Christopher. "Kirk Hammett Talks About His Prize: Peter Green and Gary Moore's Les Paul". Guitarworld.com. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Gary Moore Biography". watchmojo.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Joe Perry Biography". monstersandcritics.com. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Classic Rock Magazine: Andy Powell Interview". classicrockmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon – Status Quo". Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Midge Ure delights fans with Airdrie show". Daily Record (Scotland). 27 March 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs. No. 7. Oh Well" Archived 31 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 October 2014
- "The Tragic Tale of the Green God " Media Wah Wah". Mediawahwah.com. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Celmins, Martin. Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac. Castle. p. 169. ISBN 1-898141-13-4.
- "Peter Green". Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Bacon, Tony. Electric Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portable (2006). ISBN 978-1-59223-053-2
- Celmins, Martin. Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac. Castle (1995). ISBN 1-898141-13-4
- Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Guinness (1992). ISBN 978-1-882267-02-6
- The circumstances surrounding Peter Green’s experience at the Highfisch-Kommune are explored in Ada Wilson’s novel Red Army Faction Blues ISBN 978-1-901927-48-1
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter Green.|
- Peter Green and Friends on Facebook
- Peter Green Biography
- Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – 1998
- Guitar Player Magazine - Peter Green: 5 Essential Live Solos
- Guitar Player Magazine - Peter Green: Guitar Playing 1966-1970