Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound today. Welch apparently was in poor health. He was 66.
Welch spent the late 1960s and early 1970s in Paris as a struggling musician when his guitar work came to the attention of Fleetwood Mac via a former girlfriend who happened to work for the band. He would formally join the band in 1971 replacing following the departure of Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Welch was with Fleetwood Mac for five albums (Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery to Me and Heroes Are Hard to Find) before leaving the group in 1974 burned out from constant touring. During his three years with Fleetwood Mac, Welch mostly played rhythm guitar but took over lead guitar duties on the Heroes LP. Welch was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and three years later Fleetwood Mac would attain superstardom with the 1977 album Rumors.
But 1977 also proved to be the pinnacle of Welch’s career with the release of his solo album French Kiss which would attain platinum status and yielded two hits “Sentimental Lady” and “Ebony Eyes” with a little help from Fleetwood Mac members Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie. “Sentimental Lady” had actually originally been recorded by Fleetwood Mac on the Bare Trees album. Welch would release another successful album in 1979 titled Three Hearts. However, Welch’s recording career would stall in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, Welch became entangled in legal problems with Fleetwood Mac over being shortchanged on royalty payments. Although the matter was settled out of court it is believed it contributed to Welch excluded from Fleetwood Mac’s induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Here is Welch being interviewed by the recently departed Dick Clark during happier times.