Bob Welch's recent passing inspired me to talk about him a little more in depth, and I figured he would be a suitable character for the Underrated Musicians column because, well, he really was underrated. I mean, he had loads of great songs, but how often do you hear them on the radio or anything? (I know I don't hear them.)
Bob was born on July 31st, 1946, in Los Angeles, into a family much involved in show biz. He was taking French at UCLA when he dropped out to join various local bands, singing and playing guitar. He was invited to join Fleetwood Mac in 1971, and helped define their melodic, poppy sound that the band later went multi-platinum with in Rumors.With F, he did five albums- Future Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973), Mystery To Me (1973), and Heroes Are Hard To Fine (1974). He left the band in 1974 after many cases of difficulties within the group that made working with them increasinglly difficult. He was replaced by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckinham.He redefined himself in the late 70s and early 80s with a successful solo career, spawning hits like Ebony Eyes and Sentimental Lady.
Bob Welch sued Mick Fleetwood, and John and Christine McVie for unpaid royalties, and was later excluded from the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
You know, that last part especially really wasn't right. That he would even have unpaid royalties issues, and that they would do that to him. He remained friends with FM after he split them- some members at least. In one of my late 70s Circus Magazines, I've got pictures of him jamming on stage with Stevie Nicks and everything...About his death, Stevie Nicks had to say that "He was an amazing guitar player - he was funny, sweet - and he was smart - I'm
so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac - so, so sad."