100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

From Jerry Garcia and Joan Jett to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone critic chooses the best and most influential guitarists in rock

Load Previous
Peter Green

38. Peter Green

Many six-string devotees — including fellows named Carlos and B.B. — insist that Britain's greatest blues guitarist isn't Clapton or Beck, it's Peter Green. In the Sixties, first with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, then as the original frontman for Fleetwood Mac (long before Stevie Nicks entered the picture), Green played with a fire and fluidity that's rarely been matched. But in 1970, with the Mac on the verge of super-stardom, Green quit the band, saying he needed to escape the evils of fame. It was the beginning of a long, drug-fueled breakdown that would include stints in mental institutions and on the street. Miraculously, Green recovered and took up guitar again in the mid-Nineties; though his leads aren't as authoritative now, the spirit of a true survivor is in every note.

Back to Top