Fleetwood Mac founding guitarist Peter Green has died, the BBC reports. A statement issued on behalf of his family reads, “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep.” Green was 73 years old.
An influential musician, Green was a prominent figure in the scene of British blues guitarists that included Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. The late B.B. King described him as “the only white guitarist who sent shivers up” his spine. He was responsible for naming Fleetwood Mac, a portmanteau of the names of his desired rhythm section (drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie), and formed the band in 1967.
Born Peter Allen Greenbaum, Green was 20 years old when he replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s band the Bluesbreakers. At the time, Mayall famously told his producer, “He might not be better [than Clapton] now. But you wait... he’s going to be the best.” After departing that group, Green formed the original Fleetwood Mac with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Green recorded three albums with the group—their debut self-titled, Mr. Wonderful, and Then Play On—before departing the band in 1970 as his mental health sharply declined.
For many years, Green battled schizophrenia. An infamous LSD party at a German commune was long touted in the Fleetwood Mac mythos as a turning point for Green. He spent a period of years in and out of mental hospitals. He mounted a comeback in 1996 with a new band, the Splinter Group. He began touring under the name Peter Green and Friends in the 2000s.
Following the news of his death, Stevie Nicks wrote a tribute to Green on Twitter. “My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him,” Nicks wrote. “I always hoped in my heart of hearts that that would happen. When I first listened to all the Fleetwood Mac records, I was very taken with his guitar playing. It was one of the reasons I was excited to join the band.” Find her full statement below.
“For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental!” Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone. He added, “Peter was the man who started the band Fleetwood Mac along with myself, John McVie, and Jeremy Spencer. No one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without a reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and to the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passion!!!”
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork