Peter Green

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Name: Peter Green

DOB/Location: London, UK 29 October 1946

Brief Biography

Peter Green is of the same generation of British guitarists as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton - he was Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966 - and while he is widely acclaimed by his contemporaries, he is a relatively obscure name among all but aficionados. This is mainly because he sadly succumbed to mental illness and drug problems which put him out of the spotlight after 1970, and despite recovering to return to playing and recording fairly consistently since the 1980s, he has never regained his position as one of the greats. This is a great shame, as he was a wonderful player who could play fiery blues and beautifully subtle ballads, and he deserves more recognition. Check him out!

Green’s brief period of success was as the founder of Fleetwood Mac in 1967 (the same band that would go on, after many line-up changes, to record Rumours etc.) and he recorded three studio albums with the band and several standalone singles. There is a 1971 Greatest Hits album which compiles Green’s greatest performances including ‘Albatross’, ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’ (the latter covered by Santana) which is a good place to start, although some tracks are mysteriously missing from Spotify.  

Green’s style brings together vintage blues influences including Robert Johnson and Elmore James - check out his slide playing on e.g., ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’, hard rock - ‘Oh Well’ is up there with classic Led Zeppelin riffs - and The Shadows’ Hank Marvin, who perhaps influenced the spacey sound sound of ‘Albatross’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’.


Green's iconic work was recorded on a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, subsequently known as 'Greenie' - and since owned by Gary Moore and Kirk Hammett. There's a lot of detail on this guitar here.  

Peter Green seems to have favoured Orange and Fender amps.

Related Lessons

Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac/Santana)

Albatross [1/3] by Fleetwood Mac
Albatross [2/3] by Fleetwood Mac
Albatross [3/3] by Fleetwood Mac

Videos To Check Out

There isn't a huge amount of really good Peter Green material on YouTube. Have a look at the TV studio performance of 'Need Your Love So Bad', above, as a starting point.

Also try this is handy compilation of Fleetwood Mac 1968-70. It's a little rough, but includes bits of ‘Oh Well’, ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ etc.

Oh Well

Black Magic Woman - appalling camera work and audio not synced - but good audio and some idea of Peter Green’s awesome tone.



The Guitar Greats



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