Nashville-resident rock star Bob Welch, 65, died June 7 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The musician was best known for the big 1977-78 pop hits “Sentimental Lady” and “Ebony Eyes,” with the band Paris, and as a 1971-74 member of Fleetwood Mac. The Los Angeles native had been a Nashvillian since the 1990s.
The singer and guitarist first rose to prominence in Fleetwood Mac, but the band’s biggest hits occurred in the late 1970s after he left the group. Although he recorded the LPs Future Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973), Mystery to Me (1973) and Heroes are Hard to Find (1974) with Fleetwood Mac, he was not included in the lineup that was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Welch formed the British rock band Paris in 1976. During his subsequent solo career, he scored a top-10 hit with “Sentimental Lady” in 1977. Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham sang background vocals on the record. “Ebony Eyes” was a top-20 hit in 1978. Other charting singles included “Hot Love, Cold World” (1978), “Precious Love” (1979), “Church” (1979) and “Two to Do” (1981). Following a stint in Phoenix in the band Avenue M, Welch moved to Music City.
His albums while in Nashville included Looks at Bop (1999) and Live from the Roxy (2004).
In 1994, he filed suit against Fleetwood Mac for unpaid royalties. The case was settled out of court. Perhaps as a consequence, he was the only early member of the band not included in its Hall of Fame induction.
Bob Welch’s songs were recorded by Kenny Rogers, Sammy Hagar, The Pointer Sisters and others.
Police officers were called to his home on Thursday afternoon, June 7, after Welch’s wife Wendy discovered his body. He had been dealing with health issues in recent months. Doctors had reportedly told him following spinal surgery that he would not be recovering and would become an invalid.
Welch shot himself in the chest. According to The Tennessean, he left his wife a suicide letter explaining that he didn’t want to burden her with caring for him.
Longtime Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks told The Associated Press, “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.”
The family is not planning a funeral service.
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About the AuthorRobert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.
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