RIP Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Danny Kirwan

His work in tandem with Peter Green was brilliant, and produced some of the early band’s finest moments which we look at today in his honour

 (L-R) John McVie, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac, 1969 (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Fleetwood Mac and their guitarists have been in the news a fair bit of late. One Mac guitarist who unfortunately hasn’t been in the news much for the last 40 years or so, Danny Kirwan, who was once the perfect foil for the band’s founding guitarist Peter Green, has sadly passed away at the age of 68.

Danny was with the band from 1968 to 1972. These of course were the pre-Lindsey & Stevie days, although Danny was still in the band for a while after Christine joined.  He wasn’t an original member of the band; Jeremy Spencer was Peter Green’s original guitaring partner, and he remained for a while after Danny joined, but Danny very clearly helped take the band into new terrains. His work in tandem with Green was brilliant, and produced some of the early band’s finest moments. After Green left in 1970, Danny remained, helping to make overlooked Fleetwood Mac albums Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees the undiscovered treasures they remain.

After being fired from Fleetwood Mac for alcoholism in 1972, Kirwan released a number of unsuccessful solo albums, but sadly by the end of the decade his mental health was deteriorating. He endured long periods of homelessness in the 80s and 90s. Mick Fleetwood asked Missing Persons to find him in 1993.

“Danny was a huge force in our early years,” Fleetwood has said on Facebook. “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 50 years. Thank you Danny Kirwan. You shall forever be missed.”

ILYOS remembers the wonderful Danny Kirwan with half a dozen classic Mac tracks. Danny’s the dreamy blonde guy in the videos. We hope you enjoy, and encourage you to explore Fleetwood Mac’s wonderful pre- Lindsey & Stevie catalogue.

“Albatross” 

A Mac classic, and the band’s first single with Danny

“Man of the World” 

A haunting masterpiece that continued the hushed tones of “Albatross”

“Coming Your Way” 

Danny’s great opener for the classic “Then Play On”

“Oh Well” 

One of rock’s all-time great riffs. Dig the interplay between Kirwan and Green.

“Station Man” 

A Kirwan tune from the first post-Green album – and the first Mac album to feature Christine album - Kiln House which remained in the band’s set into early Buckingham-Nicks line-up.

“Sands of Time” 

A beautiful Kirwan original from Future Games, the first Mac album to feature Bob Welch, who eventually would be replaced by Lindsey Buckingham…