Bob Welch dies at 66 by suicide

Bob Welch (a former member of Fleetwood Mac) was found dead in his home in Nashville on Thursday (7th June) from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 66-years old.
According to the Nashville police, Welch shot himself in the chest, and his body was discovered by his wife around noon.
The police told WKRN-TV, Nashville’s local ABC station, that Welch had been suffering from health issues recently and that he left a suicide note.
The Los Angeles-born guitarist joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971, when the band was beginning to evolve from its initial setup as a hard-edged British blues combo into a polished pop/rock act.
Welch played guitar and contributed vocals on five Fleetwood Mac albums – “Future Games”, “Bare Trees”, “Penguin”, “Mystery to Me” and “Heroes Are Hard to Find” – the band’s first to crack the U.S. top 40. He was also responsible for penning two of the band’s early hits: “Sentimental Lady” and “Hypnotized”.

Bob Welch dies at 66 by suicide
Bob Welch.

Guitarist and singer Bob Welch, whose work in the early 1970′s for Fleetwood Mac set the stage for the band’s multi-platinum success later in the decade, died on Thursday at his home in Nashville. He was 66.
According to a spokesman for the Nashville Police Department, Welch was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The spokesman said Welch’s wife, Wendy, told police he had been suffering from health issues.
Welch joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971 as a 24-year-old living in Paris, just as the group was making the transition away from being a British blues rock band and into the 1970′s commercial powerhouse that it became.
As a singer and guitarist for the group, Welch was lesser known than the pair who replaced him — lead vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. His work on early albums such as “Future Games,” “Bare Trees” and “Heroes Are Hard to Find” with band mates who included Mick Fleetwood and John and Christie McVie set the tone for what was to come.
Welch left the band in 1974, and it was his departure that set the stage for Fleetwood Mac’s hit-making line-up when Nicks and Buckingham were hired to take on his two duties. That would become the group’s most successful lineup, releasing the 1975 album “Fleetwood Mac” and “Rumors,” the band’s acclaimed 1977 hit album.
“My era was the bridge era” – Welch told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1998, after he was excluded from the Fleetwood Mac line-up inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group.”

Welch was born on August 31, 1945 in Los Angeles to movie producer father Robert L. Welch and actress mother Templeton Fox. He moved to Paris to study French at the Sorbonne, then returned to Los Angeles in the early 1970′s.
He was invited to join Fleetwood Mac after the departure of founding members Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. He played guitar and was a vocalist with the band from 1971 to 1974, working on five of their early albums including 1971’s Future Games, 1972’s Bare Trees and 1973’s Mystery to Me.
It was after Welch’s departure from the band in 1975 that Fleetwood Mac went on to find its largest measure of fame on albums such as 1977’s Rumours with the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the band’s lineup.
Nicks released a statement, calling Welch’s death “devastating.”
“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” – Nicks said.
Welch fell out with his former band mates after suing the group in 1994 for unpaid royalties, which led to his exclusion from the group’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998.
The singer and guitarist formed a hard rock group called Paris in 1975, releasing two albums, Paris and Hunt Sales, before disbanding the group a few years later and embarking on a solo career.
His debut solo record, the pop-driven French Kiss in 1977, went platinum and produced the hits Sentimental Lady, Ebony Eyes and Hot Love, Cold World. Welch followed up with 1979’s Three Hearts, and four more albums throughout the early 1980′s, none of which emulated the same success as French Kiss.
He moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1987 and formed a short-lived group called Avenue M, before moving to Nashville in the late 1990′s, working on a song writing career and releasing a tribute to bebop music, Bob Welch Looks At Bop, in 1999.
His most recent albums, 2003’s His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond and 2006’s His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond 2, had previously unreleased material as well as new compositions.

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