When Peter Green was putting together the band that would become Fleetwood Mac, he invited Mick Fleetwood to join simply because the drummer was enduring heartbreak at the time.

But Fleetwood discovered the truth behind the loving gesture only a few years before guitarist Green died in 2020, as he told Classic Rock in a recent interview.

“I did a really lovely limited-edition book called Love That Burns, which was the beginning of an overture that the Peter Green concert is part of, too,” he said. “And when I was doing that book, I spoke to Peter, spent a couple of hours with him. I’ve still got the interview tapes. … He said to me on the phone: ‘Don’t you remember, Mick, you were so heartbroken? You were my friend, and I wanted you to be okay.’ Because my then-girlfriend had left me and I was totally brokenhearted.”

Fleetwood admitted he "talk[s] too much, but when Peter said that, I stopped. He didn’t know it, but I actually broke down in tears. Because it was just so indicative of my relationship with Peter. It had nothing to do with music, actually, at all. … He just basically said, ‘Screw it, this guy is so down in the dumps, I’ve got to pull him out.’ It actually meant so much more.”

He also reflected on the drama surrounding Green’s departure from the band in 1970, as a result of mental health and drug issues. Noting that they’d only realized something was wrong “when it was  too damn late,” he said, “I don’t think we would have been, in retrospect, equipped to do anything about knowing how to help him anyhow. He intimated that he was done. We were on a tour in America and he said, ‘We’ve got to give all our money away.’ Of course, we didn’t know that his illness was starting then. And he disowned himself. Disowned what he’d done. Said that he’d stolen everything he’d ever created.

“Of course, it’s nonsense. But then suddenly it was like, ‘Oh, shit, he’s fucking leaving.’ … He left very responsibly. He didn’t dump us. Then came the real damage, which is public knowledge," Fleetwood added. “I think he was just so not equipped to being such a powerful entity. And then the drugs. … He was one person who didn’t need any of that shit. He was so sensitive anyway.”

 

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