Now it’s not a meaningless question to ask, if they’ve been and gone
Bob Welch had a great voice, he was a great guitarist, and he was an integral part of the earlier years of Fleetwood Mac (pre-Rumours). I say WAS, not because he lost any of these qualities, it’s because he is no longer on this Earth. It’s not a nice story, but all I will say here is that he chose to leave this Earth and only he will know the reason why.
With that said, what he left and always left behind was an incredible yet. maybe in my opinion only, largely ignored or forgotten body of work. Be it with Fleetwood Mac or solo. Now, how did I discover Mr. Welch?
Well if I am being quite honest, I had only heard of Bob when he passed away in 2012, and when it was reported as him being a former member of the Mac, I thought, huh? Former singer/guitarist. When? I knew of Peter Green, and of course I knew Lindsay Buckingham, so who and when was Bob Welch? Wikipedia is my best friend, and I read up and thought hmm. And then, that was the end of that right? Correct.
But then one magical day, i was completing a music survey on my local classic rock radio station (CHEZ 106 to be exact, where I discuss my love (or disbelief) of/with Canadian Rock Radio nowadays, but I digress. So, one of the songs to sample was a song by Fleetwood Mac called ‘Hypnotized’. Now, the thing is, when I heard it, I realized that I had actually heard this song before, and liked it on the station, but I had no recollection of who sang it and probably even knowing what the name of it was. Truthfully, it had been years since I heard it, and in this clip it was about 8 secs of the just the “chorus” of this song, because that’s all they will sample, and this song isn’t really based on a chorus but the title and melody line do repeat here, so I guess that is technically a chorus. But I digress, again. What I mean is, I really liked the song but didn’t realize that it was a Fleetwood Mac song. And who is singing it? Well a quick visit to my friend Wikipedia, and as it so happens, it’s my old friend Bob Welch. FYI – he’s not really my friend – I’ve never actually met him. I know, right!
So now I am in to the ‘Mystery to Me’ album of Fleetwood Mac’s that he appears on, which includes the aforementioned track and another amazing tune, ‘Emerald Eyes’. I love Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, but this is not music that they could have made that Bob and Christine McVie did. It’s a place in time, but oh what a great time. It’s before my time; I was born in 1981 after all, long after Bob had left the Mac due to pressures of being the sole guitarist on the band’s most recent album at that time, (I digress) but I love older music and I really love the music Bob Welch made. But the true pleasures are found in his solo work. Most ex band members of famous bands don’t make solo music that can be that appealing; there are exceptions as we know, but Bob Welch did not have this problem. I could name sooooo many of the songs of his that I love, but in order to save time, I’ll just list the first 500 of them. Here we go:
Easy To Fall
Hot Love in a Cold World
Just kidding! But I may still list them all…look out.
I know that Fleetwood Mac doesn’t play his songs live in their set, mainly because there is/was some bad blood there over some legal stuff that has no place in this blog, because I want to keep it positive, and really it’s OK by me that they don’t play the songs because as much as I love and respect the music and talent of Mr. Buckingham, I know he really doesn’t have the voice like Bob’s and he just cannot do those songs justice. I’ve heard some live clips from the late ’70s when Bob left the band. It just isn’t happening. Bob has a very unique voice which in my opinion, actually overshadows his guitar playing. He crafts catchy and interesting pop-rock and his songs have interesting lyrics that are still easy to digest. In other words, you can be entertained by his music and feel like it’s not something you are just hearing again repackaged. It’s familiar music in that is is good and made for real. Like all great artists of that era. But I digress..
I wanted to make this blog post for a little while now, just my own little tribute to an artist that may be forgotten but recently discovered in my home and life and will be celebrated now for the rest of mine. I wish he was celebrated for the most of his, but it isn’t something we can change. But maybe with more attention generated by me writing this little blog post, it’s one more shout out and piece of attention to the magic that is/was Bob Welch. It won;t change the world, but listening to music will sure make you feel better! Bob had a pop sound that was clever and not overdone, music you could hear on the radio with his voice that didn’t sound like anything else you heard on the radio. Before or since, or probably ever.
Thank you for the music, thank you for the albums, thank you for being an artist and pursuing music.
Just, thank you, Bob.
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