Early Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan dead at 68

Written by on June 9, 2018

Fin Costello/RedfernsDanny Kirwan, guitarist and vocalist for Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972, died Friday.  He was 68.

The news was announced in a Facebook posting by Mick Fleetwood, who wrote, “Today was greeted by the sad news of the passing of Danny Kirwan in London, England. Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.”

Fleetwood continued, “Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years. Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!”

Kirwan appeared on the Fleetwood Mac albums Then Play On, Blues Jam at Chess, Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees.  His first major contribution to the band was playing on the instrumental “Albatross,” written by Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green, which topped the charts in the U.K.  Kirwan also wrote songs for the band and handled lead vocals on a number of tunes.

Kirwan began to struggle with alcoholism, and in 1972, Mick Fleetwood fired him after he refused to go onstage one night following a fight with another band member, Bob Welch.

Kirwan recorded a series of solo albums following his departure from Fleetwood Mac, but was reluctant to perform live.  In 1998, he was inducted along with the rest of Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he didn’t attend the ceremony.

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