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Peter Green Biography

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Peter Green In-depth Biography

His career riddled by drug abuse and paranoia, Peter Green} is still regarded by some fans as the greatest white blues} guitarist ever, Eric Clapton} notwithstanding. As he grew up in London's working-class East End, Green}'s early musical influences were Hank B. Marvin} of the Shadows}, Muddy Waters}, B.B. King}, Freddie King}, and traditional} Jewish music}.

Born Peter Greenbaum} but calling himself Peter Green} by age 15, he played bass before being invited in 1966 by keyboardist Peter Bardens} to play lead in the Peter B's}, whose drummer was a lanky chap named Mick Fleetwood}. The 19-year-old Green} was with Bardens} just three months before joining John Mayall}'s Bluesbreakers}, whose rapidly shifting personnel included bassist John McVie} and drummer Aynsley Dunbar}. A keen fan of Clapton}, Green} badgered Mayall} to give him a chance when the Bluesbreakers} guitarist split for an indefinite vacation in Greece. Green} sounded great and, as Mayall} recalls, was not amused when Clapton} returned after a handful of gigs, and Green} was out.

When Clapton} left the band for good six months later to form Cream}, Mayall} cajoled Green} back. Fans were openly hostile because Green} was not God, although they appreciated Clapton}'s replacement in time. Producer Mike Vernon} was aghast when the Bluesbreakers} showed up without Clapton} to record the album A Hard Road} in late 1966, but was won over by Green}'s playing. On many tracks you'd be hard-pressed to tell it wasn't Clapton} playing. With an eerie Green} instrumental called "The Supernatural,"} he demonstrated the beginning of his trademark fluid, haunting style so reminiscent of B.B. King}.

When Green} left Mayall} in 1967, he took McVie} and Fleetwood} to found Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac}. Jeremy Spencer} and Danny Kirwan} shortly afterward gave Fleetwood Mac} an unusual three-guitar front line. Green} was at his peak for the albums Mr. Wonderful}, English Rose}, Then Play On}, and a live Boston Tea Party} recording. His instrumental "Albatross"} was the band's first British number one single and "Black Magic Woman"} was later a huge hit for Carlos Santana}. But Green} had been experimenting with acid and his behavior became increasingly irrational, especially after he disappeared for three days of rampant drug use in Munich. He became very religious, appearing on-stage wearing crucifixes and flowing robes. His bandmates resisted Green}'s suggestion to donate most of their money to charity, and he left in mid-1970 after writing a harrowing biographical tune called "The Green Manalishi."}

After a bitter, rambling solo album called The End of the Game}, Green} saddened fans when he hung up his guitar, except for helping the Mac} complete a tour when Spencer} suddenly joined the Children of God in Los Angeles and quit the band. Green}'s chaotic odyssey of almost a decade included rumors that he was a gravedigger, a bartender in Cornwall, a hospital orderly, and a member of an Israeli commune. When an accountant sent him an unwanted royalty check, Green} confronted his tormentor with a gun, although it was unloaded. Green} went to jail briefly before being transferred to an asylum.

Green} emerged in the late '70s and early '80s with albums In the Skies}, Little Dreamer}, White Sky}, and Kolors}, featuring at times Bardens}, Robin Trower} drummer Reg Isidore}, and Fairport Convention} drummer Dave Mattacks}. He reprised the Then Play On} Mac} standard "Rattlesnake Shake"} on Fleetwood}'s solo 1981 album, The Visitor}. British author {%Martin Celmins} wrote Green}'s biography in 1995. Psychologically troubled, on medication, and hardly playing the guitar for most of the '90s, the reclusive Green} resumed sporadic recording in the second half of the decade. He surfaces unexpectedly from time to time, most prominently January 12, 1998, when Fleetwood Mac} was inducted into the Rock & Roll} Hall of Fame. In a rare, perfect moment, Green} jammed with fellow inductee Santana} on "Black Magic Woman."} ~ Mark Allan, All Music Guide

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