MUSIC NEWS - Bob Welch, talented guitarist, singer/songwriter and member of Fleetwood Mac who enjoyed a successful solo career with hits such as "Ebony Eyes," died on Thursday of an apparent suicide at home in Nashville, TN at 66. Police said Welch's body was found by his wife with a single gunshot wound to the chest, and he had left a suicide note. Welch suffered from health problems, but police did not disclose what those issues were.
"The police are investigating it as a suicide, and there was no evidence of foul play," Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron told the press. 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 and returned to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. He was asked to join Fleetwood Mac after founding members Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer.left the group.
Welch 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 become one of the most popular musical acts of all time with 1977's "Rumours" and the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the band's lineup.
Ms Nicks released a statement, saying that Welch's death was "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,". Welch fell out with his former band mates after suing the group in 1994 for unpaid music royalties. As a result, he was excluded from the group's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998.
The singer and guitarist went on to form a hard rock group called Paris in 1975, releasing two albums, "Paris" and "Hunt Sales," before disbanding a few years later. He then embarked 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 1980s, none of which achieved the same success as "French Kiss."
He moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1987 and formed a short-lived group called Avenue M, before moving to Nashville in the late 1990s to work on a songwriting 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.
Welch is the second member of Fleetwood Mac to die this year after the January passing of former guitarist band, Bob Weston in London from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage, at age 64.
He leaves behind his wife, Wendy.
UPDATE 6/8/12 - It has been reported that Welch had a spinal operation three months ago and it had become apparent that he was not going to successfully recover. Friends of Welch say he had lived through watching his mother care for his invalid father for years and wrote in his note to Wendy “I’m not going to do this to you”.