Peter Green, who has died aged 73, was one of the greatest Blues guitarists Britain ever produced.
His shape-shifting riffs and long, improvisational excursions made Fleetwood Mac one of the most exciting live bands of the 1960s Blues explosion.
He first picked up a hand-me-down guitar at the age of 10 and, like many of his peers, began to devour the import vinyl that trickled into the UK from the States. He studied the greats – Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and BB King – combining their tensely coiled playing style with the shimmering vibrato of The Shadows’ Hank Marvin.
But he actually started his professional career as a bassist, until an encounter with Eric Clapton persuaded him to ditch the instrument.
“I decided to go back on lead guitar after seeing him with the Bluesbreakers. He had a Les Paul, his fingers were marvellous. The guy knew how to do a bit of evil, I guess.”
He later had the seemingly impossible task of taking over from Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Fans were unconvinced at first, but after a handful of incendiary performances, he won them over, earning the nickname “The Green God”.
The musician was humble about his skills, however. “I didn’t really know what I was doing on the guitar,” he later told Guitarist Magazine. “I was very lucky to get anything remotely any good. I used to dash around on stepping stones, that’s what I used to call it.”
In 1967 he poached Fleetwood and bass player John McVie from Mayall and formed Fleetwood Mac – naming the group after its rhythm section.
It was here that his compositional skills came to the fore – creating songs that were tender and truthful, but often with an undercurrent of menace. Black Magic Woman incorporated Latin blues and two exquisite solos, while Oh Well’s pounding riffs inspired a thousand metal bands. . .