Peter Green

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Peter Green (2009)

Peter Green (actually Peter Allen Greenbaum , born October 29, 1946 in Bethnal Green , England ; † July 25, 2020 on Canvey Island , England) was a British guitarist and singer who mainly played the blues , rock and pop scenes of the late Helped shape the 1960s. He was the founder of Fleetwood Mac .


The early years

Peter Greenbaum was born in 1946 to a Jewish working-class family in Bethnal Green , London . When he was fifteen, he changed his name from Peter Allen Greenbaum to Peter Green because he was bullied because of his Jewish origins. Musically, he was under the influence of musicians such as Buddy Guy , BB King , Freddie King , Otis Rush and Muddy Waters as well as traditional Jewish music from an early age .

He made his first professional appearance in 1966 as a bassist with Peter B's Looners , whose drummer was Mick Fleetwood . Peter Green was a big fan of Eric Clapton and took the chance to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers as his substitute . Clapton had left the Bluesbreakers for an extended stay in Greece. With the band were John McVie as bassist and Mick Fleetwood as drummer. Peter Green fitted into the group well and was disappointed when Clapton returned after a few gigs and he had to leave the band again.

But six months later, Clapton left the band for good to form Cream . John Mayall hired Green to replace Clapton. Initially, some fans were hostile to Green. When the band appeared in the studio without Clapton to record their album A Hard Road , even their producer Mike Vernon was skeptical. But soon Green's game won him over. With his remarkable instrumental The Supernatural , Green showed the style that was later typical for him, reminiscent of B. B. King.

His time with Fleetwood Mac

Peter Green with Fleetwood Mac, 1970

In 1967 Peter Green founded the band Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac together with Bob Brunning (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) . Jeremy Spencer (guitar, vocals, piano) was present at the concerts (1967 Live at the Marquee) and several studio recordings . After only one studio recording (Long Gray Mare) , Brunning was replaced by John McVie (bass), who had previously been bassist for the Bluesbreakers and who has remained loyal to the band to this day. Now Green's most successful time began with the albums Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac , Mr. Wonderful , English Rose and Then Play On and pieces such as Albatross , Need Your Love So Bad , Man of the World , Oh Well and Black Magic Woman , which later became a world hit for Carlos Santana was. With these singles, Fleetwood Mac itself repeatedly took top positions in the European charts.

But Green soon struggled with his fame, the music business, and psychedelic drugs like LSD and mescaline . He also became religious and appeared wearing a huge crucifix and wide robes. After a nightmare , he was convinced that money was bad and had a "ruinous influence", which is why he donated most of his royalties to charities like War on Want , which he also asked his bandmates to do.

As part of a European tour, Fleetwood Mac made a stop in Munich in March 1970 , where they played two concerts in the Circus Krone and a gig in the Deutsches Museum . At that time, Green was invited to the castle of the rural commune near Landshut by the Munich “Highfish” communards Uschi Obermaier and Rainer Langhans . According to a long-lived legend, Green consumed one too much LSD trip there, which is said to have permanently changed his psyche. In contrast to Green's biographer Martin Celmins, the band members and the crew of Fleetwood Mac are still convinced that Green has become a different person, especially through the LSD trip in Munich. He himself later stated: "I went on a trip, and never came back." ("I had a trip and never came back.")

However, even before the European tour, there was increasing tension between Green and his bandmates. In contrast to these, Green wanted to donate the joint profits to charity; musically, he wanted to develop in a new direction together with his band (endless jam sessions and improvisations).

After the end of the European tour, Green left the band in 1970. His last song as a band member was the hit The Green Manalishi . He recorded the solo album The End of the Game , which consisted mostly of improvisations . In the following year, two more singles ( Heavy Heart / No Way Out and Beasts of Burden / Uganda Woman ) were released, which are now sought-after rarities. Green took part in some recordings of befriended musicians like Peter Bardens and B. B. King until 1971 , worked temporarily as a gravedigger in London, played again as a substitute for Jeremy Spencer on Fleetwood Mac's US tour and then withdrew completely for several years back to the music business.

Due to the numerous albums that Peter Green recorded with John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac and blues greats like Duster Bennett , Eddie Boyd , Paul Butterfield , B. B. King, Memphis Slim and Otis Spann by 1970/71 , he was named "the best white blues guitarist "And occasionally called" The Green God "by fans, friends and former bandmates.

The following years

Reports of Greens following years are contradicting. He himself had declared that he consciously pursued a materially simple and modest lifestyle. In the 1970s he is said to have lived temporarily in a kibbutz in Israel . After an incident in 1977, in which he allegedly threatened his former manager with gun violence over the phone, because he had paid the incoming royalties to Green instead of to War on Want despite instructions to the contrary , Green was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and again after a few months Dismissed as cured.

After he was released, friends and relatives persuaded him to return to music. The 1979 album In the Skies was a surprising success and sold over 200,000 copies in West Germany alone. Some well-respected albums followed. After White Skies , Green went on tour with a newly formed group of the same name but, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung , appeared "lost, listless and uninterested" on stage.

Until 2004 Green was touring with the Peter Green Splinter Group again and again , after separating from the band he moved to Sweden. He publicly assured that he would continue to be musically active. He recognized his drug problem and was working on it. On the album Time Traders he sings in the song Downsize Blues (Repossess My Body) : “I'm gonna repossess my body from the demons / exorcise my soul / gonna change those clothes in my old wardrobe / they ain't gonna fit me anymore ", in German for example:" I will break away from the ghosts / cleanse my soul / I will change these clothes in my old wardrobe / they will no longer fit me " In spring 2009 he went on tour again. He also gave some concerts in Germany as Peter Green and Friends.

In 2011, the Rolling Stone listed Green 58th of the 100 best guitarists of all time . In a list from 2003 he was ranked 38th. Peter Green died in July 2020 at the age of 73.

Influences on other bands

Peter Green developed his way of playing guitar, influenced by Muddy Waters , BB King , Freddie King and Eric Clapton , into an independent guitar style and sound, which guitarists call "greeny". Carlos Santana made Green's Black Magic Woman a worldwide hit with a cover version in 1970 . In 1979, the heavy metal band Judas Priest covered Peter Green's song The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) . In 1995 rock and blues guitarist Gary Moore dedicated the tribute album Blues for Greeny to his role model Peter Green .

Green's songs have been covered frequently. So interpreted Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes song Oh well and Shake your money maker on the live album Live at the Greek . Also use Aerosmith Oh well at live performances. The latter also released a version of Stop messin 'around on the Honkin' on Bobo album . Oh Well is also played live by Stan Webb's Chicken Shack .

Guitar World magazine published an article 30 on 30: The greatest guitarists picked by the greatest guitarists in 2011 , in which Rich Robinson named Peter Green as an excellent blues guitarist.

Peter Green as a fictional character

The British author and former "Strangeways" musicians Ada (Adrian) Wilson leaves in his novel Red Army Faction Blues (2012) to the undercover agent and agent provocateur of the Berlin intelligence service known "train-Peter" Peter Urbach in of the above-mentioned Munich Highfish municipality meet with Peter Green. Twenty years later, the fictional character Urbach wants to find out what happened to Greenie back then, that he changed as a result of visiting the community and withdrew from public life.

The Peter Green Les Paul

For years, Gary Moore was the owner of Peter Green's legendary Gibson Les Paul , whose neck pickup magnet was mistakenly reinstalled in the pickup with reversed polarity during service or at the factory, which caused its characteristic out-of-phase sound. In addition, the pickup was reversed, i.e. H. with the screws in the direction of the bridge, built in, but this alone has no influence on the guitar sound.

When the guitar company Gibson wanted to mass-produce a signature model of his Les Paul together with Peter Green , Green turned down the offer. The fact that there is now an official replica of Greens Les Paul is thanks to the guitar collector Melvyn Franks, who bought Green's legendary guitar from Gary Moore and then made it available to Gibson to make a signature model which does not have Green's name, but is an imitation of his Les Paul. The model has been marketed by Gibson since the beginning of 2010 under the name "Gibson Collector's Choice # 1 1959 Les Paul Standard Gary Moore".

At the end of 2006, guitar designer Trevor Wilkinson developed and launched the Vintage V100MRPGM Lemon Drop, an inexpensive model that imitates Peter Green's legendary Gibson Les Paul.

Video documentations on Peter Green

In addition to the almost 40 minutes long DVD Fleetwood Mac - The Early Years , which unites various TV appearances, there are the following DVD documentaries, which are devoted in detail to Peter Green's life and work:

The Mick Fleetwood Story

The DVD The Mick Fleetwood Story , released in 2003, not only portrays the co-founder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac , Mick Fleetwood . Rather, the DVD traces the history of Fleetwood Mac and offers personal insights and impressions of Mick Fleetwood as well as interviews with well-known rock and blues musicians who shared the stage and studio with him. Some concert recordings show the early Peter Green, to whom a separate chapter is dedicated. Green's bandmates complain that Peter Green never recovered from the devastating LSD trip that they believed he was given in the Munich Highfish community.

An Evening with Peter Green

The lasting destruction caused by psychedelic drugs and, as a result, certainly also by psychiatric treatment ( psychotropic drugs , electroshock therapy ) at Green is shown by the interview with Peter Green (and Nigel Watson) filmed in 2003, which was an encore on the Splinter Group - Concert DVD An Evening with Peter Green can be seen (2003).

Man of the World. The Peter Green Story

To mark the 40th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac, 2007 is the DVD documentary Man of the World. The Peter Green Story published. It uses rare archive recordings of live and studio performances as well as numerous interviews to deal with Peter Green's life and work. The time focus is on the time when Green was lead guitarist for John Mayalls Bluesbreakers and later head of the British blues band Fleetwood Mac. In the "bonus track" called an encore, Peter Green presents his valuable guitar collection.


Solo career (selection)

Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1979 In the skies DE12 (17 weeks)
AT24 (4 weeks)
- UK32 (13 weeks)
First published: May 1979
1980 Little Dreamer DE15 (17 weeks)
- - UK34 (4 weeks)
US186 (5 weeks)
First published: April 1980
1981 Whatcha gonna do? DE46 (4 weeks)
- - - -
First published: March 1981
1997 Splinter Group - - - UK71 (1 week)
First published: May 1997
1998 The Robert Johnson Songbook - - - UK57 (1 week)
First published: May 1998

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

More albums

  • 1970: The End of the Game
  • 1981: Blue Guitar
  • 1982: White Sky
  • 1983: Kolors
  • 1986: Come On Down
  • 1987: Katmandu - A Case for the Blues
  • 1988: Legend
  • 1997: Bandit


year title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, , Placements, weeks, awards, comments)
2002 Albatross - - - UK86 (1 week)
First published: December 2002
with Chris Coco

With John Mayall

  • 1967: A Hard Road (Decca)
  • 1967: Raw Blues (Ace of Clubs)
  • 1969: Looking Back (Decca), compilation
  • 1971: Thru the Years (Decca), compilation
  • 2001: Along for the Ride (Eagle Records)

With Fleetwood Mac

  • Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
  • Mr. Wonderful
  • English rose
  • Then play on
  • Fleetwood Mac in Chicago
  • Fleetwood Mac: The Blues Years (3 CDs, 1993)
  • Rattlesnake Shake: Live in Boston
  • London '68
  • The Pious Bird of Good Omen
  • 2000: Alone with the Blues (Peter Green and the original Fleetwood Mac)

With Peter Green Splinter Group

  • 1999: Destiny Road
  • 1999: Soho Session
  • 2000: Hot Foot Powder
  • 2001: Time Traders
  • 2001: Blues Don't Change (album, was only available at gigs and via the Splinter Group's homepage at the time.)
  • 2003: Reaching the Cold 100
  • 2012: Blues Don't Change (album now also available in stores.)


Web links

Commons : Peter Green  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Chloe Stewart: Peter Green Dead: Fleetwood Mac co-founder dies aged 73. In: Daily Star , July 25, 2020, accessed July 25, 2020.
  2. Silvia Kusidlo: Mourning guitarist Peter Green. In: Jüdische Allgemeine . July 25, 2020, accessed July 26, 2020 .
  3. ^ Obituary by Rainer Elstner, in: Spielräume Ö, July 27, 2020
  4. Rainer Langhans: It's me . (PDF; 410 kB).
  5. The possible effects of the legendary Munich LSD trip and the question of which Communards invited Peter Green to the Munich party in March 1970 was discussed and clarified in Peter Green's Trauma Night with German Communards in 1970 at the end of 2007, as well as in the German and English speaking countries Wikipedia articles on Peter Green document the details of which have since been adopted by the media (e.g. Wolfgang Höbel : Laboratory rats on cocaine . In: Der Spiegel . No. 51 , 2014, p. 132 f . ( online ). ) and found its way into Ada Wilson's novel Red Army Faction Blues .
  6. ^ Wieland Harms: The Unplugged Guitar Book. 20 of the most beautiful songs for acoustic guitar. Gerig Music, ISBN 3-87252-249-3 , p. 41.
  7. ^ Wieland Harms: The Unplugged Guitar Book. 20 of the most beautiful songs for acoustic guitar. Gerig Music, ISBN 3-87252-249-3 , p. 41.
  8. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 8, 2017 .
  9. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time - David Fricke's Picks. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .
  10. Article
  11. ^ Ada Wilson: Red Army Faction Blues .
  12. ^ Gibson: The Collector's Choice # 1 1959 Les Paul Standard .
  13. a b Chart sources: DE AT UK US