May 24: Peter Green Plays His Last Show With Fleetwood Mac
Founder of Fleetwood Mac
As a founding member and lead guitarist of the iconic British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green played an instrumental role in shaping the band’s early sound and establishing their musical legacy. His unique guitar style, soulful voice, and songwriting abilities set him apart as an artist of exceptional talent and vision.
Today, we take a closer look at Peter Green’s journey …
The Rise Of A Musical Prodigy
Born on October 29, 1946, in London, Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum), discovered his love for music at an early age. Drawing inspiration from blues greats like B.B. King and Muddy Waters, he honed his guitar skills and developed a distinctive sound. It was in 1967 that Green, alongside fellow musicians Mick Fleetwood and Jeremy Spencer, founded Fleetwood Mac, a band that would soon become a household name. Bob Brunning played bass for a few shows until John McVie joined the lineup.
Fleetwood Mac’s Early Success
Under Green’s creative leadership, Fleetwood Mac experienced a meteoric rise to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their debut album, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, was released in 1968. Although no tracks were released as singles, the album reached #4 in the UK.
“Black Magic Woman” and “Albatross” were released as singles following the album’s success. These tracks not only captivated audiences but also influenced a generation of guitarists.
The latter of the two was the first song to include Danny Kirwan, who joined the band as a third guitarist. It became Fleetwood Mac’s first #1 single in the UK and made it to #4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles in the US.
The band’s follow-up albums further solidified their place in rock history.
The Demons Within
Amidst the band’s soaring popularity, Green struggled with personal demons and declining mental health.
Mick remembers that Green became very concerned with accumulating money. “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.'”
In March 1970, Green took a large dose of LSD at a commune. The band’s manager has said that this incident was a crucial turning point in Green’s mental decline. Stories about the evening differ from one person to the next, but according to one roadie, Mick and two roadies had to go and pick up Green from the commune.
On May 24, 1970, Peter Green played his last show with Fleetwood Mac.
The Legacy and Return of a Legend
Following his departure from Fleetwood Mac, Green embarked on a solo career that showcased his immense talent. He released several albums, including The End of the Game (1970) and In the Skies (1979).
While Green’s time with Fleetwood Mac was relatively short, his influence on the band’s early sound cannot be overstated. His departure left a void that would take time to fill. But Fleetwood Mac endured and went on to achieve even greater success in the years that followed.
Other Notable Rock Events From May 24
1955 – Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto Cash Distin welcomed Rosanne Cash, their first daughter. She would also grow up to be an artist.
1962 – Elvis Presley was #1 on the UK singles chart with “Good Luck Charm”.
1963 – The Beatles recorded their first BBC radio program. The program was called “Pop Go The Beatles.”
1963 – Elmore James died at 45. He was a blues artist who influenced many artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, and Jimi Hendrix.
1965 – Elvis Presley began filming in Hollywood for Frankie and Johnny. The title track of the film would reach #25 on Hot 100.
1968 – The Rolling Stones released “Jumping Jack Flash” in the UK.
1969 – The Guess Who made their first appearance on American Television.
1969 – “Get Back” by The Beatles reached #1 in the US.
1974 – Duke Ellington, a great Jazz band leader, died of cancer at the age of 75.
1974 – David Bowie released Diamond Dogs. The artwork for the album was controversial with the full painting showing a hybrid of a man and a dog’s genitalia.
1975 – Earth, Wind, and Fire saw their single “Shining Star” reach the top of both Billboard charts and the Cashbox Magazine best sellers list.
1980 – Phil Collins, Tony Barks, and Mike Rutherford man the Roxy Club box office to sell tickets for their upcoming Genesis show, surprising fans.
2000 – Chrissie Hynde of Pretenders was told to stay out of trouble for 6 months if she wanted an arrest for protesting leather goods at the Gap dismissed.
2003 – Paul McCartney played for 20k people in Red Square. It was his first live performance in Russia.
2006 – Elton John accepted $188,000 in libel damages from London’s Daily Mail newsletter after the Daily Mail said Elton wanted no guests to show at his annual charity fundraising.
2009 – Billy Joel is sued by his former drummer, Liberty Devitto. Devitto claimed he wasn’t properly paid for 10 years of work and was asking for hundreds of thousands in unpaid royalties.
2010 – Slip Knot’s bassist, Paul Gray, was found dead in an Iowa hotel at age 38.
2016 – Tragically Hip announced Gord Downie’s brain tumor diagnosis.
2017 – Sunny West, friend and bodyguard of Elvis Presley, died at 79. West, along with his cousin Red West and Dave Hebler, was abruptly fired in 1976. According to Elvis’s stepbrother, the three bodyguards were fired because they were loose-lipped about the rockstar’s drug problem.
2020 – Al Rex, who played for Bill Haley & His Comets, died at 91.
1941 – Bob Dylan (Singer-songwriter)
1947 – Albert Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult (Drums)
1969 – Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes (Guitar)
On This Day In History – May 24
From the birth of legendary musicians like Bob Dylan and Albert Bouchard to the release of iconic songs and albums, May 24 holds a special place in the rock music timeline.
As we reflect on the events that unfolded on this date, we honor the artists who have shaped the rock genre and left an indelible imprint on our musical landscape.