Bernie Marsden Picks Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green As His Rock God

Elifnaz Yuksel

An interview of late guitarist Bernie Marsden has recently been released, in which he talked about his ‘Rock God.’ Bernie began the interview:

“Hi, my name is Bernie Marsden and my rock god is Peter Green.”

Then he started telling about the first time he heard Peter’s performance and the first time he saw him live. He also mentioned that the early ’70s were a lucrative time to learn how to be a musician:

“I first saw Peter Green play live when I was about sixteen years old when I went to a gig in North London to see Fleetwood Mac. But the first time I heard him was with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he did the impossible job of replacing Eric Clapton. So his name was straight up there with Jeff Baker and all the other guitar players. It was a great time to be learning my craft.”

Marsden also praised Fleetwood Mac and emphasised how Green’s songwriting influenced him and changed his perspective, along with the band’s musical influences on him:

“What really grabbed me was Fleetwood Mac. His singing, his harmonica playing, obviously his guitar playing were a great influence on me.

But really, it was the songwriting that I thought was very very special. And when he reached the pique where he was writing ‘Oh Well,’ ‘The Green Manalish,’ ‘Man of The World,’ and of course, the great big hit ‘Albatross.’ I just realised that playing the guitar was one thing, but also to be able to write good songs, hopefully great songs was going to be very important in this world.”

He also mentioned that he witnessed Peter’s last performance with Fleetwood Mac and that he followed his solo career afterward:

“I followed Fleetwood Mac as much as I could, I followed them around the country, and then suddenly, I saw the last gig he did which was at the Bath Music Festival. And he left the band, and I never really came to grips with it. He made a solo album after that called ‘End of The Game’ which was some great playing, and I think he’s vastly underrated and not many people got a good listen to it, this great playing.”

Lastly, Bernie told the story of how he met Peter in person:

“I know he went into a kind of decline and he disappeared for many many years but I tried to keep in touch with him and fortunately I was in a band called Babe Ruth and the drummer in Babe Ruth had gone to school with Peter. One night he said ‘A friend of mine is coming to the gig’ and that friend of his was Peter Green so I met him again that time.”

Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green passed away on July 25th, 2020, aged 73 and former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden passed away on August 28th, 2023. Bernie wasn’t the only musician who chose Peter as an idol. Earlier this year, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson praised Peter and picked him as his ‘guitar hero’:

“In the early Fleetwood Mac days, Peter Green had a real soulful quality. He could make a guitar sing like a human voice. Peter had this wonderful tone, wonderful control. He could play a lot of notes when the music warranted it, otherwise, he seduced you with quality rather than quantity.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.

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