Danny Kirwan, a guitarist for Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972, died on Friday (June 8) at the age of 68. No cause of death has been announced.
Mick Fleetwood wrote:
MAY 13, 1950 ~ JUNE 8, 2018
A TRIBUTE FROM
MICK FLEETWOOD AND FLEETWOOD MAC
Today was greeted by the sad news of the passing of Danny Kirwan in London, England. Danny was a huge force in our early years. His love for the Blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.
Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years.
Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!
~Mick Fleetwood and Fleetwood Mac
ALBUMS FEATURING THE WORK OF DANNY KIRWAN:
Then Play On 1969
Blues Jam at Chess 1969
Kiln House 1970
Future Games 1971
Bare Trees 1972
Kirwan was born in Brixton, South London and came to the attention of Fleetwood Mac while playing for the local band Boilerhouse. He first played with his band in support of Mac so that he and Peter Green could work on gelling musically. In August 1968, Mick Fleetwood convinced the rest of the band to bring him on full time.
Danny’s first work as a member was on the track “Albatross” which became the band’s first number 1 single in the U.K. By the time they recorded Then Play On, Kirwan was firmly established, writing or co-writing half of the tracks with Green.
With each album, Green and Kirwan further advanced their dual guitar harmonies; however, outside of music, the two did not mesh. Kirwan was a strong proponent of rehearsal and punctuality (to the point of obsessively being early for everything), Green was more laid back and stronger at improvisation.
Green left the band in early 1970 with Jeremy Spencer taking the spot for the album Kiln House and, after Spencer left, with Bob Welch for Future Games and Bare Trees.
Meanwhile, Kirwan worked on other artists’ albums including playing Otis Spann’s The Biggest Thing Since Colossus, producing and writing for Christine McVie’s Christine Perfect and Spencer’s self titled solo debut.
By the time Bare Trees was released, Kirwan was battling alcoholism and became estranged from the rest of the band except for Fleetwood. In the Autumn of 1972, Kirwan went into a rage before a Mac show and Fleetwood fired him from the band.
Kirwan first formed the short lived group Hungary Fighter before recording three solo albums for DJM Records, Second Chapter (1975), Midnight in San Juan (1976) and Hello There Big Boy! (1979). None did well when Kirwan refused to tour behind them.
According to most reports, Kirwan’s mental health deteriorated throughout the period and he did not play again post-1979. At times during the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was said that Kirwan was homeless, living around London.
Kirwan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 for his work with Fleetwood Mac but did not go to the ceremony.