R.I.P. Danny Kirwan

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Monday, June 11, 2018
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Fleetwood Mac, KILN HOUSE

Fleetwood Mac has lost one of its former members: Danny Kirwan, who joined the band in 1968 and remained part of the lineup until 1972, died on Friday. Although details remain few and far between at present, the news was announced via Fleetwood Mac’s official Facebook page on Friday evening, and the information slowly but surely made the rounds through social media over the course of the weekend, with most news outlets waiting until today to report on Kirwan’s passing.

Born on May 13, 1950 in London’s Brixton district, Kirwan first earned a degree of prominence in the band Boilerhouse, which kept him occupied from 1966 until 1968, at which point the 17-year-old guitarist was noticed by Fleetwood Mac, who invited Boilerhouse to open for them on some of their shows in London. By August 1968, Mick Fleetwood offered Kirwan the opportunity to join Fleetwood Mac, making him the band’s third guitarist.

“There I was sitting like a little dum-dum, so he asked me,” Kirwan told Martin Celmins in 1995. “I didn't know what to think once I'd joined, because before then I'd just been straddling around, and then I was on stage and there were television cameras, and I got a bit paranoid.”

While that last bit might be deemed by some to be an understatement, Kirwan’s stint in Fleetwood Mac was one that resulted in some of the band’s best work during their early years. Regarding his introduction to the band, Fleetwood Mac biographer Leah Furman wrote, “Danny provided a perfect sounding board for Peter [Green’s] ideas, added stylistic texture, and moved Fleetwood Mac away from pure blues through his up-tempo rock ‘n’ roll leanings.”

Although Kirwan’s tenure with Fleetwood Mac ended rather abruptly as a result of his demons getting the best of him, he unquestionably made his mark. While his solo career was decidedly more spotty and effectively ended in 1979, his contributions to albums like ENGLISH ROSE, THE PIOUS BIRD OF GOOD OMEN, THEN PLAY ON, KILN HOUSE, FUTURE GAMES, and BARE TREES undeniably aided the band’s commercial and creative fortunes. He won’t soon be forgotten.

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