Bob Welch, founding member of Fleetwood Mac, and a successful solo artist died Thursday, June 8th, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound. The artist had been experience long term health problems. He was 65.
Welch was a pivotal member of the 70s pop super group Fleetwood Mac in the years leading up to their first hit singles, from 1971 to 1974. His time with the band was relatively short, but was important in helping the band find its musical identity.
Unfortunately, the other members of Fleetwood Mac, who had scored number 1 hits in “Don’t Stop,” “Landslide,” and “The Chain” didn’t quite agree. When the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the hall of fame chose to keep Welch off the list of inducted members. He was truly snubbed by this fact, and believed the members of his former band had pressured the Hall into keeping him off the list.
Of the incident he noted “It basically comes down to the fact that they don’t like me anymore. I guess they can do what they want. I could understand it if I had been a sideman for a year. But I was an integral part of that band … I put more of myself into that band than anything else I’ve ever done.”
Fleetwood Mac was a fusion of British Folk Rock that achieved a legendary status in Pop Music lore. Throughout the recording career of the band, major members Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John Mcvie, and Mick Fleetwood crafted albums that were touchingly emotional and amazingly well written. Each song, though crafted in traditional pop format, pushed musical boundaries beyond the genre. While they may have been pop, Fleetwood Mac had soul.
Of the death of her former bandmate, Stevie Nicks said “The death of Bob Welch is devastating … I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player – he was funny, sweet – and he was smart. I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac – so, so sad …”
In recent years, Welch had taken a new view on his role in the music world. After leaving Fleetwood Mac he founded the group Paris and went on to have 2 well selling solo singles: “Sentimental Lady” which featured Nicks and Buckingham on backing vocals, as well as “Ebony Eyes.” He continued to experiment with musical looping and jazz riffs until his death.
In an interview with the Tennesean in 2003, Welch said “I just wanted to play guitar in a good band. I wanted to travel the world and have adventures.”
Here’s to hoping Bob found all the adventures we wished for.
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