Fleetwood Mac – Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)

I heard this song when I was younger. It wasn’t on the radio but a friend of mine who had some old Fleetwood Mac albums. Peter Green was/is a great guitar player and his voice fit the band perfectly.

This is among the last songs Peter Green wrote before quitting the band. A consistent riff carries the rhythm, while Green wails the lyrics. At the time, he was taking a lot of acid, but has always maintained this was about the evils of money.

The song didn’t chart in America but did peak at #10 in the UK in 1969.

Judas Priest covered this on their Hell Bent for Leather album in 1979.

Peter Green: “When I woke up I found I was writing this song. Next day I went out to the park and the words started coming. The Green Manalishi is the wad of notes, the devil is green and he was after me. Fear, inspiration is what it was, but it was that tribal ancient Hebrew thing I was going for. Ancient music.” More recently he admitted, “It took me two years to recover from that song. When I listened to it afterward there was so much power there… it exhausted me.”

From Songfacts

As Green explained in a 1996 interview with Mojo, the song is about the evils of money: the Green Manalishi was the devil manifested as a wad of cash. Green explained: “I had a dream where I woke up and I couldn’t move, literally immobile on the bed. I had to fight to get back into my body. I had this message that came to me while I was like this, saying that I was separate from people like shop assistants, and I saw a picture of a female shop assistant and a wad of pound notes, and there was this other message saying,
‘You’re not what you used to be. You think you’re better than them. You used to be an everyday person like a shop assistant, just a regular working person.’ I had been separated from it because I had too much money. So I thought, How can I change that?”

Peter Green built quite a legend by giving away most of his money. He gave most of his savings to a London-based charity called War On Want, which provided aid to developing nations, mostly in Africa. Green explained: “Last thing at night they used to put pictures on telly of starving people and I used to sit there eating a doughnut and thinking, Why have I got this big stash that I don’t need when probably I’m going to die with it and all this is going on?”

Rumors had it that “Green Manalishi” was a kind of LSD, but Peter Green insists that is was about money. It was based upon a recurrent dream he had in which he woke up unable to move while messages about money formed in his brain. Green recalls:  (from an article by Neil Slaven on Union Square Music)

In retrospect, the song seems like an obvious cry for help from Peter Green, but this wasn’t so clear to his bandmates, who say that his descent was a gradual process, and that they didn’t read so much into this song. “Peter going off the rails was not an immediate thing,” Mick Fleetwood explained. “He left Fleetwood Mac under the most controlled circumstances.”


Fleetwood Mac – Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)

Now, when the day goes to sleep
And the full moon looks
The night is so black that the darkness cooks

Don’t you come creepin’ around
Makin’ me do things I don’t wanna do

Can’t believe that you need my love so bad
Come sneakin’ around tryin’ to drive me mad
Bustin’ in on my dreams
Makin’ me see things I don’t wanna see

‘Cause you’re da Green Manalishi with the two prong crown
All my tryin’ is up, all your bringin’ is down

Just takin’ my love then slippin’ away
Leavin’ me here just tryin’ to keep from followin’ you

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

22 thoughts on “Fleetwood Mac – Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)”

  1. Yeah, I agree with deKE; I prefer the Judas Priest version. Don’t get me wrong, admire Peter Green’s artistry a lot. I like him with the Bluesbreakers best. He’s a musicians artist. Understated. Economic. I’m no musician and don’t pretend to be, but I’ve spent my life listening to music and I’ve made my living with it too. I know a beautiful guitar tone when I hear it. Mike Campbell’s got it. James Honeyman Scott had it. Mick Ronson had it. Meredith Brooks has it. Peter Green and BB King probably have the sweetest tone of all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw a doc on Peter Green a while back. I’m surprised he functioned back in those days…and that he is alive now…with problems of course but he took things to the limit.
      I did like his use of reverb a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know anything about his personal life, except for what I read in your post. When I first started listening to AOR radio some of the rock enthusiasts that I admired always talked about “the Peter Green” Fleetwoodmac. So I checked him out. Oh, so he’s the one that did Hypmotized. I like that song were my initial thoughts, but then I started getting more into the blues and blues influenced guitarists and so forth and so on. Blah. Blah. Blah. To me, and I mean this as a big time compliment, he’s like the ultimate studio guitarist. He can play anything, beautifully but if you have an ear for the guitar, you can tell it’s him. His fingerprints are subtle but there all over it. Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He is one of the guitarists that you can tell by his tone…like Brian May, Knopfler and some others who it is right away. He led an interesting life that is for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t know this one; havent heard much of the early-era Fleetwood MAc. I like what I have heard but find it hard to think of it as that, it’s so different than the Mac we know (and generally love) from the 70s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac was one of the best bands I heard, at least through their album *Then Play On*, which I think was the last album he was on. I’d hear this back on FM radio when album-oriented rock was a thing, along with “Albatross” (a beautiful instrumental) and “Oh Well (parts 1 and 2).” Peter Green was one of a kind…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been years since I heard it…I just took a relisten…you could very well be right.
        I will do that song soon…thank you for bringing it back to me!

        Liked by 1 person

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