“For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental!” Fleetwood wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “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!!!”
Green was one of eight Fleetwood Mac members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998; the blues guitarist also placed number 58 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists list. In 1967, two years after replacing Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Green and fellow Bluesbreaker Fleetwood formed their own band, later to be known simply as Fleetwood Mac; the pair would later recruit another veteran of the Bluesbreakers, bassist John McVie alongside guitarist Spencer. With Green at the helm, this early blues rock incarnation of Fleetwood Mac released three albums, beginning with their 1968 self-titled debut.
Green’s family confirmed his death in a statement to the BBC, “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. A further statement will be provided in the coming days.”
Earlier this year, Fleetwood spoke to Rolling Stone about the last time the pair talked. “It was about a year and a half ago. I went out with my girlfriend, and spent the day with him. He’s not the Peter that I knew, clearly. But he plays acoustic guitar,” Fleetwood said. “He loves painting, and fishing is his hobby. It’s no secret that he took a left turn and never came back, but he’s OK. He also has really little or no ego at all, which is unbelievable. You want to go, ‘Do you realize what you did?’ ‘No, no. Yeah, I suppose so.’ He has no ego about what he did.”
In his statement following Green’s death, Fleetwood expressed his thanks to the Hall of Fame guitarist. “Peter, I will miss you, but rest easy your music lives on. I thank you for asking me to be your drummer all those years ago,” he wrote. “We did good, and trailblazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy. God speed to you, my dearest friend.”