Born In: Bethnal Green, London, England
Peter Allen Greenbaum, famously known as Peter Green, was a British blues rock guitarist and composer. He is popularly known as the founder of the famous English band Fleetwood Mac. He was ranked 38th in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Mojo magazine voted him as the third-best guitarist of all time. Green started his escapades with music at a very young age, learnt guitar all by himself on a cheap Spanish guitar that his brother bought him when he was 11. After that he began to make music professionally with different bands, until he made a blues band of his own -Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac - featuring Jeremy Spencer and later renamed it as Fleetwood Mac. The band came out with many successful albums, and most of the compositions were Green’s original. But, due to high dependency on drugs, gradually he lost control on his mind and suffered from drug induced schizophrenia, which led to his professional as well as personal decline. Green spent many years in psychiatric care and took electroconvulsive therapy but eventually emerged from it and rebuilt his career by working sporadically with Fleetwood Mac and formed his own band again, Peter Green and Friends.
Also Known As: Peter Allen Greenbaum
Died At Age: 73
Spouse/Ex-: Jane Samuels
mother: Ann Greenbaum
siblings: Len, Michael
children: Rosebud Samuels-Greenbaum
Born Country: England
place of death: Canvey Island, Essex, England
City: London, England
Diseases & Disabilities: Schizophrenia
Peter Green was born in Bethnal Green, London, in a working-class household. He was interested in music since a very early age and started experimenting with guitar at the age of 11.
At 15, Green started playing music professionally. He initially played in the band called, Bobby Denim and the Dominoes and performed pop chart covers and rock ‘n’ roll standards with the band.
Green later joined a rhythm and blues outfit the muskrats and thereafter a band called The Tridents. He played bass for the band but in 1966, he was hired as lead guitarist in Peter Bardens’ band, Peter B’s Looners.
Peter Green started to gain popularity in the music circuit and he was invited to fill in for Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for three of their concerts. When Clapton left the band, he became the full-time member.
In 1967, his recording debut released with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, titled A Hard Road. It featured his own compositions like, The Same Way and The Supernatural. Around this time, he gained the nickname The Green God.
He decided to form his own blues band and assembled a bunch of musicians. The band was named Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer and included ex-Bluesbreaker Mick Fleetwood on drums and Jeremy Spencer on guitar.
Within a month of their formation the band played at the Windsor National Jazz and Blues Festival in 1967, which led to their signing to Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon label. Soon ex- Bluesbreakers' bassist John McVie joined the band.
From 1968, Peter Green increasingly started contributing more and more as a writer for the band and made many original compositions. Their studio album, Mr. Wonderful was released and Green's Black Magic Woman topped the charts.
More of his singles started to hit the chart in 1969, like, Albatross, Oh Well, Man of the World and The Green Manalishi. Band’s next album, Blues Jam in Chicago was recorded at the Chess Records Ter-Mar Studio, Chicago.
In the same year, they signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records and released ‘Then Play On’. The album featured band’s new guitarist Danny Kirwan; it was because Spencer declined playing on any of Green’s original compositions.
By 1970, Green’s state of mind started to change and his band mates recognized it. He started writing very sad lyrics like, Man of the World and took large doses of LSD. He left Fleetwood Mac later that year.
After leaving his original band, he performed at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music with John Mayall, Rod Mayall and Larry Taylor. He also recorded a jam session, The End of the Game, during the same time.
In 1971, he reunited with Fleetwood Mac for a brief time for their USA tour under the different name, Peter Blue. He also recorded two tracks for the album, Juju but his mental health was increasingly deteriorating by this time.
By 1979, with the help of his brother Michael Green started to resurface on the professional scene and signed with Peter Vernon-Kell’s PVK label. He also made an appearance on Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.
He made contribution to Mick Fleetwood’s album, The Visitor, specifically to the songs Rattlesnake Shake and Super Brains, in 1981. He also recorded sessions with various other artists like, Katmandu, Ray Dorset, Vincent Crane, Len Surtees, etc.
In the late 1990s, he formed a group with Nigel Watson and Cozy Powell named Peter Green Splinter Group and the group released albums like, Soho Session (1998), Hot Foot Powder (2000), Blues Don’t Change (2001), Reaching the Cold 100 (2003), etc.
A BBC Four documentary, Peter Green: Man of the World, produced by Henry Hadaway, was released in 2009. He formed the band Peter Green and Friends this time and toured with them to Ireland, Germany, England and Australia.
Although Peter Green had been a part of many band over the years but his formation of Fleetwood Mac is considered to be his most prominent work until his mental health started to fail and he had to leave the band.
In 1978, Peter Green married Jane Samuels.The couple had a daughter together: Rosebud Samuels-Greenbaum. The couple divorced in 1979.
He underwent long periods of mental illness (schizophrenia), drug addiction and poverty in 1970s to 1980s.
Peter Green died at the age of 73, on July 25, 2020.
Green acknowledged in the press that his mental illness was brought on by hallucinogenic drugs.
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