Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam – Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Peter Green

Blues guitarist Peter Green was in Fleetwood Mac from 1967 through 1970 writing and performing songs including “Black Magic Woman” and “Oh Well”
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Photo by Jan Persson, Getty Images

Photo by Jan Persson, Getty Images

In 1967, the blues rock band Fleetwood Mac was formed in England with a nucleus of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Peter Green, all who had been members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Jeremy Spencer joined on slide guitar and piano and then Danny Kirwan was added as a third guitarist.

Johnny Bee Badanjek, from Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels and The Rockets told Goldmine, “It's sad to hear about Peter Green's passing. He was an incredible guitar player and songwriter on early Fleetwood Mac songs including ‘Albatross,’ ‘Black Magic Woman,’ ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)’ and ‘Oh Well’ which we did a cover of when I was in The Rockets on RSO Records and it ended up being a Top 40 hit for us in 1979, the same year that Peter started playing guitar again, after many years of absence, with the help of his brother Michael. B.B. King said that Peter Green had more talent in his little finger than he had in his whole body and that he was the only guitar player who gave him cold sweats. It was a shame that Peter left Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970s. They were a great high energy blues and rock and roll band. Listening to the early Fleetwood Mac recordings, it amazing how energetic the band played live on stage together. Peter is up in Heaven now and I hope it was a peaceful transition. May Peter rest in peace. God bless him.”

Fleetwood Mac’s first charting single in the U.S. happened in 1969 with “Black Magic Woman,” which peaked at No. 104 for the group, and was successfully covered by Santana the following year and reached No. 4. That same year, Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well – Pt. I” became their U.S. Top 100 debut single, peaking at No. 55. The A side of the single featured a call and response style with electric guitars being featured in the instrumental sections, followed by Peter’s a cappella vocal interludes. This style was repeated by Led Zeppelin the following year with their Top 40 hit single “Black Dog.”

German picture sleeve

German picture sleeve

The flip side of the 3:32 “Oh Well – Pt. I” single was “Oh Well – Pt. II,” a 5:45 instrumental which Peter had intended to be the first part of the nine minute song, but the people at the record company wanted to put the potential hit on the A side. “Oh Well – Pt. II” was performed mainly by Peter on acoustic and electric guitars, bass, cello and percussion, with Jeremy Spencer on piano.

Peter Green flip side

Fleetwood Mac

Flip side: Oh Well – Pt. II

A side: Oh Well – Pt. I

Top Pop 100 debut: January 31, 1970

Peak position: No. 55

Reprise 0883

The two parts of “Oh Well” were featured, back to back as one long song, on a reissued release of Fleetwood Mac’s Then Play On album. Peter passed away on July 25 at the age of 73.

Then Play On 1969 album cover

Then Play On 1969 album cover

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