Thursday, June 7, 2012
Empathy for Bob Welch, ex-member of Fleetwood Mac.
Like too many people of my generation, I believed that Fleetwood Mac began in 1975 with the self-titled album and then-new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. And in 1977, I bought Bob Welch's album FRENCH KISS, only to find out later via ROLLING STONE that Welch's hit single "Sentimental Lady" was a remake of an album track from Fleetwood Mac's BARE TREES, recorded during Welch's tenure with the band. Welch's brand of pop music fit well on Late 70s AM radio--then, after the 1979 TWO HEARTS, I never heard his later music. Welch committed suicide today at the age of 65 in Nashville, TN--apparently he was distressed over health issues according to the RollingStone.com site. What follows is an excerpt from Welch's Wikipedia biography, which probably gives an idea of the used-to-be-Somebody heartache he may have carried through his life over the past three-plus decades: Hall of Fame controversy When Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, original band members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were named to the Hall, as were Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Welch, who anchored the band for several years and three albums, was not. "My era was the bridge era," Welch told the Cleveland newspaper the Plain Dealer in 1998, after he was snubbed by the Hall of Fame. "It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with 'saving Fleetwood Mac.' Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts." Welch went on to tell the Plain Dealer, "Mick and I co-managed the group for years. I'm the one who brought the band to Los Angeles from England, which put them in the position of hooking up with Lindsey and Stevie. I saw the band through a whole period where they barely survived, literally." At the time, Welch believed that he had been blackballed by the Hall because of the breach of contract lawsuit against Fleetwood and John and Christine McVie. At the time of his snubbing by the Hall, he believed that the falling out with three band members led them to pressuring the selection committee into excluding him from the Hall. In a 2003 online question and answer session on the Fleetwood Mac fan site The Penguin, Welch revised his opinion of why he was snubbed by the Hall. He had recently attended a Fleetwood Mac show and visited the band members back stage after the show. The visit reconnected him with Mick Fleetwood, his ex-band mate and ex-manager, after being estranged for many years. (He had never been estranged from Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who were not party to the lawsuit.) By 2003, Welch believed that he had been snubbed by the Hall as the directors in New York, music industry insiders, did not like his style of music. However, he did believe that the lawsuit was a factor in his being blackballed, as it prevented him from getting in touch with Mick Fleetwood, whom he was not talking to at the time of the induction, who may have otherwise have used his influence to get Welch included with other members of the band. (Jerry Garcia had used his influence to get 12 members of the Grateful Dead inducted into the Hall, including some band mates whose contributions were considered marginal.) Welch said he had also communicated with Christine McVie but was still estranged from John.