LOS ANGELES – AUGUST 1974: (L-R) John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Bob Welch and Christine McVie of the rock group “Fleetwood Mac” pose for a portrait under the Hollywood Sign in August 1974 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Fleetwood Mac
On June 7th 2012, we lost a very important figure in Fleetwood Mac’s history. At the age of 66, Welch shot himself to death at his home in Nashville, Tennessee leaving behind a 9-page suicide note and a love letter for his wife Wendy. About four years later Wendy would also die at the age of 66 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease. Three months before Welch’s death, he underwent a spinal surgery and was not recovering well. Doctors assumed he would become an “invalid,” and Welch felt this would make him a burden to his wife.
Welch joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971 as a replacement for guitarist Jeremy Spencer and left the band in 1974. During these years the primary lineup consisted of Welch, John McVie, Christine McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. This would be known as the “Transitional Period” as the band’s sound drifted from the previous British-blues base coming from founder Peter Green and would soon gravitate to the mainstream era when Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks would join in 1975. With his impressive guitar work, Bob Welch created a sweeter musical sound that helped reshape Fleetwood Mac into their most famous pop-oriented style. After his time in Fleetwood Mac, Welch focus on his solo career and released several of his own albums up until his death.
Watch Bob Welch perform with Fleetwood Mac live on the Midnight Special in 1973 here: