Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well -Pt1

This song was from Fleetwood Mac…the 60’s version of the band with the great guitar player Peter Green. The song peaked at #55 in the Billboard 100 in 1970.

Fleetwood Mac was six years away from their Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham era when this song was released. The lineup on this track was Peter Green (vocals, guitar), John McVie (bass), Danny Kirwan (guitar), Mick Fleetwood (drums), and Jeremy Spencer (piano).

This is the only song that has been played in every decade of Fleetwood Mac, starting in the ’60s. When Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers joined the band in 2018, the song became a feature for him, and his only lead vocal in their set.

The single was released in two parts. Radio stations usually play the A-side, “Oh Well (part 1).” The B-side is “Oh Well (part 2),” an orchestral piece that sounds completely different. Both parts were written by Peter Green and go together on the album, but Green always thought the best part wasn’t played.

Peter Green: “The best bit was Part 2 on the other side of the record,” “You miss the best bit, the Spanish guitar break. The first side was what we played on stage. I didn’t think it would be a hit and I used to hate playing that one because we played the part that wasn’t as good. I wanted a bit of moody guitar playing. They wanted the bit that was easy to do, that everyone knew.”


From Songfacts

At the time, Fleetwood Mac was a successful blues band known for their raucous stage shows. Their albums consistently sold about 300,000 copies and they were known as outstanding musicians. When Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band in 1974, they changed their sound and became one of the best-selling bands ever. Until then, “Oh Well” was the only Fleetwood Mac song that made the Hot 100 in America; they did have several UK hits in this era, including the #1 “Albatross.”

This was one of Peter Green’s last contributions to Fleetwood Mac. He was revered as one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters of the time, having replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before forming Fleetwood Mac in 1967. He became a high profile acid casualty in 1970 when he suffered a mental breakdown and left the band, devoting himself to religious practice and proclaiming money as evil. An oft-repeated tale has him entering his manager’s office with a shotgun, demanding that his royalty checks be discontinued.

Mick Fleetwood was sure this song would go nowhere. He bet Green that it would tank.

The stop and start technique inspired Led Zeppelin to do the same thing on “Black Dog.”

Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes released a version on their 2000 album Live At The Greek.

Oh Well – Part 2

The original  with Peter Green

Oh Well

I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to

Now, when I talked to God, I knew He’d understand
He said, “Stick by my side and I’ll be your guiding hand
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to”
Ooh, well

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well -Pt1”

  1. Yes, I respect the “Peter Green Fleetwood Mac.” I’ve known fans who never accepted the “Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac” though I’m not one of them. Frankly, I’ve always loved the core of the group, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood and then a little later, Christine McVie…This might incur some eye rolls and laughter, but I don’t care (Ha!)…I prefer The Rockets cover version. I prefer Peter Green with the Bluesbreakers, but that’s just me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like all versions of them. I look at it as a growing experience and all of them worked well for what they did.
      When our band played it… we learned the the Rocket’s version…yea I like it also.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never would link side a with side b as the same song. Side b is so beautiful and mellow and my mind wandered to a soundtrack for a spaghetti western. I was shocked at what song side a was, as I know the song but not the name. I can see where Peter would have preferred to play side b because it’s more challenging, but it’s a no-brainer that side a would be used to big concerts. Maybe a small audience jazz club for b. When I think of a brilliant artist’s mental health being destroyed by drugs it makes me both sad and angry. I see that Peter is performing music again, or he was in 2012 at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was really hit bad not only by that but by the cult he joined. I don’t know which one did him more damage. It was terrible.
      It’s crazy that he declined all of his money…and ended up broke for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He met up with some people…I’m not sure what they were called. The other guitar player joined one and stayed there for 25 years…Peter met some people that were not good for him. I’ve heard Fleetwood talk about it….and the drugs combined…he said ” I went kind of holy – no, not holy, religious. I thought I could do it, I thought I was all right on drugs. My failing!”

        It was a mixture of influences.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. From what I heard, Peter Green grew his fingernails really long so he wouldn’t be tempted to play anymore. I’m relieved he thought better of it.

    You never heard part 2? It’s the best part of the song. Very melancholy and meditative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I never heard it before. The first time I heard part 1 was the Rockets verison…but I do like Fleetwood Macs version…I do like the second part though…but I never heard it til last night


  4. That’s a cool tune with a nice guitar riff. There’s no question Peter Green was an excellent guitarist. That being said I have to admit I really dig the more pop-oriented Fleetwood Mac from Rumours. But I’ve also come to appreciate their early phase pre-Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. It’s like listening to two different bands!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that is the truth. I also like the live version they did with Lindsey singing.
      I do respect the Green version of them. It worked for them turning more pop.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just read where Peter Green wrote Black Magic Woman. And, here I thought Carlos did.

    He messed himself up with LSD and did time in a psychiatric hospital for schizophrenia. The commune didn’t help even though he stated that he enjoyed it.

    Fleetwood Mac went thru a similar sound change like Journey did.

    Part I sounded good (new to me). Part II sounded like Clint Eastwood riding a horse thru the desert (new to me, also). Pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea Fleetwood Mac did Black Magic Woman…I like Carlos’s version better but yea it’s good.

      Lol Eastwood riding a horse..good description.


      1. Like I said the early ‘Mac’ is the stuff I like. I hung on until ‘Bare Trees’ then faded. I’ve hooked up with a guy that runs his own internet station out of NY. I just turned him onto some of the early stuff and he’s loving it. He played ‘Worlds In A Tangle’ another tune you’d dig if you havnet already.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s been a while since I heard that one. When I posted this one I was going to do Man of the World…it was a tossup…thanks for bringing up Worlds in a Tangle…cool song.

        Liked by 1 person

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