The Takeaway: Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Bob Welch Commits Suicide

Fin Costello:Redferns:Getty ImagesFormer Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch died Thursday at his home in Nashville, in an apparent suicide. According to Reuters, Welch’s wife found his body with a single gunshot wound to the chest, and a suicide note. Police said Welch, 66, suffered from unspecified health problems.

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Welch was en early member of Fleetwood Mac who went on to a successful solo career. Mick Fleetwood, Welch’s manager during his solo career, told Reuters that the suicide was “incredibly out of character.”

He was a very, very profoundly intelligent human being and always in good humor, which is why this is so unbelievably shocking,” Fleetwood said.

Mac praised Welch’s songwriting abilities and said Welch was “a huge part” of the band’s musical history. Welch played guitar and did some vocals on five of the band’s early albums, between 1971 and 1974. He left Fleetwood Mac in 1975, when the group added Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

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Despite Welch’s alleged influence on the band, he was excluded from the group’s 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, after suing the band in 1994 for unpaid royalties.

On his own, Welch released  French Kiss in 1977 (the same year Fleetwood Mac put out “Rumours”), which went platinum. He followed up with five more albums in the late 1970s and 1980s, none of which had as much success. In Nashville, where Welch moved in the late 1990s, he focused on songwriting and a bebop music tribute (Bob Welch Looks At Bop, 1999), according to Reuters.

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Here’s Welch performing “Sentimental Lady”:

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Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

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