Stevie Nicks Had This One Regret About Fleetwood Mac Founder Peter Green

In 2017, Mick Fleetwood explained why he dedicated a “lion’s share” of his book Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac Volume 1, 1967-1974 to Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. “Without Peter, there would be no Fleetwood Mac— period—so let’s get that straight,” said Fleetwood. “There are those who think that I formed Fleetwood Mac. Well, I didn’t. I was happy to be at Peter’s side when Peter asked me to play drums. The rest is of course a long history of me being there since the beginning, and on and on we went.”

Green even named the band Fleetwood Mac for his bandmates Fleetwood and John McVie. “He had no interest in being a solo creature,” Fleetwood said of Green, who was “furious” when the band’s 1968 debut was titled Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. It was later re-released as Fleetwood Mac.

A blues guitar master, Green replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in the early ’60s when he was barely out of his teens, before reconnecting with his former Peter B’s Looners bandmate Mick Fleetwood to form Fleetwood Mac in 1967. Green would write the majority of the band’s early catalog, including their 1968 debut single “Black Magic Woman”—a later hit for Santana on Abraxas—and their first hit, the instrumental “Albatross,” which was inspired by Santo and Johnny’s 1959 hit “Sleepwalk” and went to No. 1 on the UK chart.

“He called the band Fleetwood Mac for a reason,” added Fleetwood. “He was asked, they said, ‘Why would you call the band Fleetwood Mac? Why did you?’ he said, ‘Well I pretty much felt that one day I would leave and I wanted Mick and John to have a band.'” 

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LOS ANGELES – 1969: (L-R) John McVie, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer of the rock group ‘Fleetwood Mac’ pose for a portrait in 1969 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Green’s Departure

With Green, Fleetwood Mac debuted at the British Blues and Jazz Festival in the summer of 1967, which led to a recording contract, and a 1968 debut, which went to No. 4 on the UK Albums chart and stayed on the chart for 13 months.

As the band gained success, Green became more erratic, along with his drug. At the time, Green was taking acid and mescaline, while suffering from severe mental illness, which was evident in his final single with the band, “Green Manalishi.”

“I was dreaming I was dead and I couldn’t move, so I fought my way back into my body,” revealed Green in a 1996 interview with Mojo. “I woke up and looked around. It was very dark and I found myself writing a song. It was about money; ‘The Green Manalishi’ is money.”

Green remained with the band for its first three albums, including Mr. Wonderful from 1968 and Then Play On in 1969 before his departure in 1971.

Stevie’s Regret

By the time Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, Green had been long gone and the band had already released six more albums and added on Christine McVie. Green’s departure from Fleetwood Mac opened the door for McVie, Nicks, Buckingham, and the band’s heightened success.

Following Green’s death in 2020, Stevie Nicks said she regretted never sharing the stage with the band’s founding member. “My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him,” said Nicks. “I always hoped in my heart of hearts that that would happen. When I first listened to all the Fleetwood Mac records, I was very taken with his guitar playing. It was one of the reasons I was excited to join the band.

Nicks continued, “His legacy will live on forever in the history books of Rock n Roll. It was in the beginning, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and I thank you, Peter Green, for that. You changed our lives.”

[RELATED: The Dark Fleetwood Mac Song Lindsey Buckingham Wrote That Was the Most Difficult for Him to Perform]

Behind the Album: Fleetwood Mac’s Self-Titled 1968 Debut Turns 46
17th June 1968: Blues, rock ‘n’ roll and progressive pop influenced band Fleetwood Mac, when their instrumental single ‘Albatross’ was topping the British charts. The line up is, from left to right; Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Later Years

During the mid-1970s, Green was in and out of psychiatric hospitals after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Post-Fleetwood Mac, Green released six solo albums from The End of the Game in 1970 through Kolors from 1983. He married Jane Samuels in 1978, and the couple had a daughter, Rosebud, son, Liam Firlej, and by the 1990s, started performing again with the blues rock band Peter Green Splinter Group. He released eight albums with the band through Reaching the Cold 100 in 2003.

In 1998, Green was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac.

Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns

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