Ian Anderson On What Made Peter Green Better Than Eric Clapton

Ian Anderson

When it comes to guitar legends, Peter Green and Eric Clapton immediately spring to mind. Ian Anderson, lead vocalist and flutist for the legendary British rock band Jethro Tull, has chimed in on the subject. During an appearance on Classic Album Review, he spoke about the playing techniques of these two guitar virtuosos.

In an interview with Classic Rock a few months back, Anderson mentioned Green as his guitar idol, citing his significant effect during Fleetwood Mac’s early days. According to Ian, Green had a remarkable capacity to make the guitar sing like a human voice. He valued Green’s tone, control, and versatility, highlighting the ability to captivate listeners with quality over quantity in performance.

In a recent interview, Anderson expressed his admiration for Peter Green’s musicianship, claiming that he was the best of his generation. Ian thought Green’s playing was more deliberate and nuanced than Clapton’s, with a tone and phrasing that felt genuine and precise. This contrast, however, is not a criticism of Clapton, but rather a recognition of Green’s particular qualities.

Anderson also discussed Peter’s effect on the early course of Fleetwood Mac. He stated that, while the band dabbled with more complex sounds on tunes like ‘Rattlesnake Shake‘ and ‘The Green Manalishi,’ Green’s blues background may have hindered their ability to completely explore progressive rock. Anderson believed that the other members of the band may have limited Green’s musical vision. This implies that they may have struggled to advance on a more progressive path.

This is what Ian Anderson stated about Peter Green.

Green, at the time, I believe, was the best of the four. I rated him higher than Eric Clapton for Peter Green’s lovely, contemplative tone and precise, natural phrasing.

So, Peter was the best of the guys, in my opinion. However, he wouldn’t have been the right guitar player for Jethro Tull because he was too steeped in the blues.

I don’t remember the name. These were more of a move toward what became progressive rock, but Peter, I believe, would have been constrained by the mentality of the other musicians he was working with. Given the band’s members and Peter Green’s tragic death, progressing further in that direction seemed unlikely.

Unfortunately, Green’s career took a tragic turn, and he departed the music industry. Despite this, his influence on the world of guitar playing is evident. Other performers, such as Anderson, prove this with their acclaim.

Anderson’s comparison of Peter Green’s playing to that of Eric Clapton reminds us that guitar skill may present itself in a variety of ways. While Clapton’s talent is undeniable, Green’s playing has a distinct beauty and depth that continues to captivate listeners today.

  1. Green was a visionary trail blazer. Fleetwood Mac turned into a mid Atlantic void (albeit successful) but stopped in it’s identity the moment PG left.
    His guitar technique was jaw dropping.
    What coulda been … had he stayed is up there with If Terry Reid had accepted Led Zep istead of turning it down and recommending Plant.

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