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ppreciation: Remembering former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch

By Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGLES — As news of the death of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch spread Thursday, fans began digging into the musical archives as they paid their respects to the 66-year-old and his music.

He might not be as synonymous with Fleetwood Mac as Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham, but Welch’s early contributions helped paved the way for the sound the band is celebrated for today.

The L.A. native achieved success with a solo career in the late ‘70s that spawned a slew of hits including “Hot Love, Cold World,” “Ebony Eyes,” “Precious Love” and “Sentimental Lady” — a track originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac but later redone by Welch.

He also formed two other short-lived outfits: a hard rock trio, Paris, that released two albums before dissolving, and Avenue M, which backed him on tour and never released an album.

Welch died of an apparent suicide, according to the Nashville Police Department.

Some of the highlights of Welch’s career:

—“Future Games.” Lifted from Fleetwood Mac’s fifth album, and the first to feature Welch, who wrote the album’s title track. He would later revisit the single for his third solo album, “The Other One.”

—“Precious Love.” Welch’s second solo album, 1979’s “Three Hearts,” included this top 20 hit, one of a string he had in the late ‘70s.

—“Sentimental Lady.” Originally recorded for Fleetwood Mac’s 1972 disc, “Bare Trees,” Welch later re-recorded the tune for his debut solo effort, “French Kiss,” which would sell more than 1 million copies. Fleetwood Mac members Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham sing background vocals.

—“Ebony Eyes.” Another top 20 hit spawned from Welch’s solo debut.

—“Hypnotized.” Though it wasn’t a massive hit for Fleetwood Mac, the Welch-penned single eventually earned him an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers commemorating more than 25 years of consecutive airplay for both “Hypnotized” and “Sentimental Lady.”