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Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum, 29 October 1946, in Bethnal Green, London) is a British Blues-rock guitarist and founder of the band Fleetwood Mac.

A figurehead in the British Blues movement, Green inspired B. B. King to say, "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats." Green's playing was marked with a distinctive vibrato and economy of style. Though he played other guitars, he is best known for deriving a unique tone from his 1959 Gibson Les Paul. - a result of the magnet of his guitar's neck pickup being accidentally reversed to produce an 'out of phase' sound.

Peter Green

Green was ranked 38th in Rolling Stone magazine list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" 


John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Green played lead in Peter Bardens' band, Peter B's Looners, in 1966. After a three month stint, he had the opportunity to fill in for Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for three gigs. Upon Clapton's permanent departure not long after, he was hired full-time.

Green made his full album debut with the Bluesbreakers with A Hard Road. It featured two compositions by Green, "The Same Way" and "The Supernatural". The latter was one of Green's first extended instrumentals, which would soon become a trademark.

In 1967, Green decided to form his own blues band, and left Mayall's Bluesbreakers after appearing on just one album (just as Clapton had done).

Fleetwood Mac
The name of Green's new band was Fleetwood Mac. Originally billed as "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac"; it originated from the band's rhythm section that comprised Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, both of whom, like Green, had played most recently in Mayall's band. In the mid 1970s the re-organized band topped the charts with mainstream pop/rock, but initially it was a straight-up blues-rock band playing blues classics and some original material. Green wrote the song "Black Magic Woman" that was eventually picked up by Santana. Green was the leader of the group throughout its initial period of success in the late 1960s, with hits including "Oh Well", "Man of the World", "The Green Manalishi" and the #1 British chart hit "Albatross".

Following the release of "Albatross" and his consequent rise in fame, Green struggled with success and the spotlight. His personality changed drastically after LSD-abuse: he began wearing a robe, grew a beard, and wore a crucifix on his chest. His abuse of LSD may have incited his schizophrenia.

While touring Europe, Green binged on LSD in Munich. In his own words, he "went on a trip, and never came back."

Communard Rainer Langhans mentions in his autobiography that he and Uschi Obermaier met Peter Green in Munich, where they invited him to their "High-Fish-Commune". They were not interested in Peter Green really. They wanted to get in contact with Mick Taylor because they wished to organize a "Bavarian Woodstock." They wanted Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones as leading acts of their Bavarian open air festival. Langhans and Obermaier used the "Green God" to get in contact with The "Rolling Stones" via Mick Taylor.

Green quit Fleetwood Mac in 1970, performing his final show as a member on 20 May 1970. He recorded a jam session The End of the Game and faded into obscurity, taking on a succession of menial jobs. It was during this period that Green sold his trademark 1959 Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard to Irish guitarist Gary Moore and recorded with Bobby Tench's band Gass on their eponymous album.

Green had a brief reunion with Fleetwood Mac when Jeremy Spencer left the group (Green flew to the USA to help them complete the tour) and he was also an unaccredited guest on their 1973 Penguin album on the track "Night Watch". He appears on the track "Brown Eyes" from 1979's Tusk.

Mental illness diagnosis
Green was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental illness commonly characterized by hallucinations and paranoia, and he spent time in psychiatric hospitals undergoing electroconvulsive therapy in the mid-1970s. Many sources attest to his lethargic, trancelike state during this period. In 1977, he was arrested for threatening his accountant, Clifford Davis, with a shotgun, but the exact circumstances are the subject of much speculation, the most popular being that Green wanted Davis to stop sending money to him. After this incident he was sent to a psychiatric institution in London. This was prior to his re-emergence as a recording artist with PVK Records in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He suffered a relapse in 1984 and effectively lived the life of a tramp-like recluse for six years until he was rescued by his brother Len and his wife, going to live with them in Great Yarmouth and regaining some of his former health and strength.

Apart from his solo work in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he contributed to "Rattlesnake Shake" and "Super Brains" on Mick Fleetwood's solo album, The Visitor, and recorded various sessions with a number of other musicians. Despite some attempts by Gibson at a German trade show to start talks about producing a Peter Green signature Les Paul, Peter's instrument of choice at this time was in fact a Gibson 'Howard Roberts' Fusion, very often seen accompanying him on stage in recent years.

A 1990s comeback saw Green form the Peter Green Splinter Group, with the assistance of fellow musicians including Nigel Watson and Cozy Powell. The Splinter Group released nine albums between 1997 and 2004. It was in the latter part of this period that he picked up a black Gibson Les Paul again. Green signed and sold this Les Paul, which had been tweaked for Peter to sound like the famous 'green burst' and is now owned by a UK enthusiast.

A tour was cancelled and recording of a new studio album stopped in early 2004, when Green left the band and moved to Sweden. Shortly thereafter he joined The British Blues All Stars, but their tour in 2005 was also cancelled. Green has said that the medication he takes to treat his psychological problems makes it hard for him to concentrate and saps his desire to pick up a guitar.

Green, with a new band "Peter Green and Friends", began playing concerts again in February 2009.