Bob Welch, former member of Fleetwood Mac and Paris, dead at 66

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      One of my fave rockers from the '70s, Bob Welch, died today. His body was discovered by his wife at their home in Nashville, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. A suicide note was found, according to Nashville police.

      I first tuned in to Welch's music back in the mid-'70s, when the 1973 Fleetwood Mac album, Mystery To Me, was making the rounds on my trusty Yamaha turntable. I was particularly fond of the Welch-penned tune, "Hypnotized". I also really loved the Welch song "Future Games", which was the title track of the first album he made with Fleetwood Mac, back in '71.

      Welch left Mac after the 1974 album, Heroes Are Hard to Find, and it took two people--Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks--to replace him. I followed him when he formed the power trio Paris, which released two albums in '76, including the awesome Big Towne, 2061. That album was packed with great tunes, including "Blue Robin", "Janie", and "Heart of Stone". I'm quite shocked that no one I've ever met has even heard of this band. The timing just wasn't right for them, I guess.

      In 1977 the fame that eluded Paris came to Welch big time with the platinum solo album, French Kiss, which boasted such hits as "Ebony Eyes" and "Sentimental Lady", which he'd originally recorded on the '72 Mac album Bare Trees. Even though it had string arrangements, I played the French Kiss album a lot, and bought most of the five or so solo albums Welch released afterwards. I remember quite enjoying the 1979 LP, The Other One, which didn't have strings, and also boasted a nice reworking of "Future Games".

      You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

      Comments

      11 Comments

      Pat Crowe

      Jun 7, 2012 at 10:16pm

      Didn't he play at a Super Summer Sunday at Empire back in the day?
      Maybe with Heart?

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      Steve Newton

      Jun 8, 2012 at 12:16am

      Wouldn't be surprised, Crowedaddy. And I bet he was way better than Van Halen in 2012!

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      R2

      Jun 8, 2012 at 6:44am

      Now Steve you told PC and I a couple of days ago to give the Van Halen thing a rest and here you are still stirring it up in a post meant to pay respect to Bob Welch?
      Please practice what you preach and put it to bed....Van Halen was just 1 show of many we'll see this year....
      10-4 Rubber Ducky?

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      Pat Crowe

      Jun 8, 2012 at 7:21am

      Wait a minute...Empire?...EMPIRE?....Empire Strikes Back! R2!! Fucking R2!!
      Grrrrr.

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      Scott Barber

      Jun 8, 2012 at 7:34am

      Steve, great comments and glad to hear others had such a love for this music. I used to listen to WBUF in Buffalo, NY which had an awesome (and sadly) no longer available format which DJ Jim Santella played in the mid 70's. Paris was there and I also enjoyed Crack the Sky. Not sure if Bob played with Mr. Green in F/Mac, sorry I can't remember his first name, that was a great era!

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      Steve Newton

      Jun 8, 2012 at 9:37am

      Hey R2: You're not the boss of me; I'll practice whatever I want. And Scott: no, Bob didn't play with Mr. Green--first name Peter--that I'm aware of. I don't think Welch was as deep into the blues as Greenie. Sure could play guitar and write great tunes tho. And I loved his voice, so much feel.

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      Carl Spackler

      Jun 8, 2012 at 10:09am

      Love the paris lp! We cover 'Black Book' of that record Newt. We are gonna play this Sunday at Italian days in his honour. 3 pm at Mintage if your free Newt!
      To Valhalla!
      http://youtu.be/62AX-et_NeM

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      Steve Newton

      Jun 8, 2012 at 10:47am

      not sure I can make it, but thanks for the heads up Spackle King. Good to hear I'm not the only rock fan in Van who remembers Paris.

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      Mike Klassen *

      Jun 8, 2012 at 10:48am

      Bob Welch indeed played the huge Empire Stadium festival. Heart headlined, Welch backed up and Little River Band opened, I think (their first 2 albums topped Vancouver charts). At that time Heart was still considered to be a Vancouver band, having recorded most of their first two albums here (at Mushroom Studios on West 6th Avenue).

      I was standing in the middle of the crowd on the ground in front of the stage. The concert was a sell-out. If I go through all my old collectibles I think I might still have a program from that show.

      Welch was a huge star for about two years based upon the success of French Kiss (it was #1 on the album charts for weeks), which became such a big hit because Fleetwood Mac were so huge during the same period. It's sad to hear that he took his own life. He was a big talent. I've rediscovered Fleetwood Mac in recent years, including some of the early stuff from 1970, and admire the songwriting and playing in particular of Christine McVie.

      Always appreciate theses tributes on Straight.com, Steve. Thanks.

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