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Bob Welch's former bandmates praise the guitarist -- and the man

June 8, 2012 | 10:57 am

Bob Welch

After the death Thursday afternoon of Bob Welch -- the guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for his early work with Fleetwood Mac -- a number of peers, former bandmates and colleagues have released statements praising the late musician. 

In an interview with Reuters, Mick Fleetwood, who hired Welch in 1971 after the departure of Peter Green, said Welch was a key part of the band's evolution. "He was a huge part of our history which sometimes gets forgotten. Mostly his legacy would be his songwriting abilities that he brought to Fleetwood Mac, which will survive all of us," said Fleetwood. "If you look into our musical history, you'll see a huge period that was completely ensconced in Bob's work."

And although Stevie Nicks and Welch weren't in Fleetwood Mac at the same time, she released a statement Friday morning expressing her admiration and regrets: "The death of Bob Welch is devastating .... I had many great times with him after Lindsey and I joined Fleetwood Mac. He was an amazing guitar player -- he was funny, sweet -- and he was smart -- I am so very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac -- so, so sad ..."

This morning Pop & Hiss received a note from songwriter David Adelstein, who served as Welch's keyboard player from 1977 through 1982, just after the release of the "French Kiss" album that propelled Welch into the top 20. "I was hired and we rehearsed at one of Mick Fleetwood's homes in Topanga for the next three months," Adelstein wrote. "In January 1978 the band began rehearsals in a sound stage at Sunset & Beachwood."

Adelstein shared a few recollections of his experience in Welch's band, and, with his permission, are excerpted below:

"For me, they were very exciting times back then. We were the opening act for Dave Mason back around February 12, 1978, our first show at Rocklyn College, NY. A short time later, Bob was leading us up the stairs to what was the biggest crowd I've ever seen, Cal-Jam II. We opened the show with a 10:00 AM call! That was a rush -- 250,000 people in the crowd at the old Ontario Motor Speedway. During that tour, Bob opened shows for not only Dave Mason, but for Jefferson Starship, Heart, Beach Boys, Styx, Allman Bros. and of course [Fleetwood] Mac (a great billing -- the best of both worlds).

"When it came to the follow up album, Bob and his producer, John Carter, gave me my first opportunity to play on that album. When it came around to the third album, Bob gave myself and guitarist Todd Sharp the opportunity to include an original song on the album. This launched my songwriting career.

"All in all, I have awesome memories from my time playing with Welch, sharing dinners at some wonderful restaurants (he appreciated great food), along with his love of music and that included all kinds of music! The circle of friends here in the LA area ... are already missing him much."

You can read the full Times obituary here.


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-- Randall Roberts
Twitter: @liledit

Photo: Bob Welch performing with Avenue M. Credit: BobWelch.com