Christine McVie is still awestruck by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green: ‘We always thought he was a genius’

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Christine McVie, a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1970-98, came in with a healthy appreciation for the group in its original blues-focused Peter Green-led incarnation. In fact, she could have almost been described as a groupie.

McVie, then Christine Perfect, was part of an precursor band called Chicken Shack that actually opened for Fleetwood Mac — giving her an early glimpse at his genius. Before long, she and bandmate Andy Silvester were going to shows to watch Green, whether Chicken Shack was on the bill or not.

“We were actually huge, huge fans,” she tells BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce. “We used to just trail around them, whatever pub they were playing in.” McVie describes her reaction to Green as being “awestruck. Everybody was awestruck by Peter. Except for [fellow late-1960s blues legend] Eric [Clapton], there was only Peter. To me really, these days, it’s still the case. We always thought he was superlative, a genius.”

Her appreciation for Green coalesced around a non-album single called “Man of the World,” this darkly emotional track that seems to explore his own sense of unfulfillment despite having reached such epic creative heights with the early Fleetwood Mac.

“Man of the World” was released in April of 1969, not long before the mercurial Green’s departure. 1970’s Kiln House would be Fleetwood Mac’s first without Green, and their first to feature McVie. Still, McVie — who would join Green in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame upon the band’s 1998 induction — never quite got over “Man of the World.”

“This song was clearly when he was very depressed,” McVie adds, “and you can tell by the lyrics. But it’s such a beautiful song. It’s a shame that he sort of stopped, in a way. I feel so sad. He plays in a band, but he doesn’t really sing much anymore. But from that point of view, I suppose I would never have joined if he hadn’t left.”

McVie remained largely out of the public eye since leaving Fleetwood Mac, until recently. She appeared on stage with them during the band’s current tour, and is said to be at work on a solo project. Green’s more recently offered a reissue of some 2001 recordings, called Blues Don’t Change.

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