Billy Gibbons’ ZZ Top Song Inspired By Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green

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Fleetwood Mac’s original guitar hero Peter Green left a deep mark in the music world, although his active career was short-lived. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, the guitarist was the main creative force behind the band’s early works. While Green had more in his pocket to give to the band, he unfortunately faded into obscurity as his mental health deteriorated over time, hindering the progress of his music career.

Besides being a charismatic frontman, Peter Green also contributed to Fleetwood Mac with his songwriting and his trademark guitar tone. His career may have been cut short, but all members of Fleetwood Mac said many times that the late musician was the one who gave life to the tremendously successful period of the band. His impact and legacy have impacted many artists, including ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

How Did Peter Green Inspire Billy Gibbons’ Music?

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While it is impossible to know where inspiration will come from, looking at what other musicians do is mostly a profound motivation for the artists. Listening to others’ music can be a good starting point to explore new ideas and continue creating. This was also the case when ZZ Top icon Billy Gibbons heard Peter Green’s opening part in Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well.’

‘Oh Well’ was one of Peter Green’s many compositions and consisted of two parts: ‘Part 1,’ a speedy electric blues track with vocals, and ‘Part 2,’ a completely different instrumental work with a classical-oriented sound. Green delivers a fast blues guitar riff in the first part of the song.

According to what Billy Gibbons revealed in a conversation with Rolling Stone in 2015, ZZ Top’s ‘Just Got Paid,’ which appeared on the band’s second studio album, ‘Rio Grande Mud,’ released in 1972, was inspired by that opening riff of Peter Green. While the guitarist was living in an apartment in Los Angeles at the time, he was listening to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’ in rainy weather.

Even though he couldn’t go anywhere because of the bad weather, staying at home and listening to that song fueled his creativity. He sat alone and tried to learn Peter Green’s opening figure. Gibbons eventually found himself trapped in that melody, leading him to compose a track for ZZ Top.

Here is how Billy Gibbons shared the story of his Peter Green-inspired song, ‘Just Got Paid’:

“This was inspired by Peter Green’s opening figure in Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well.’ I was living in Los Angeles, sitting on the steps of this apartment. It was raining, and I couldn’t go anywhere, so I was trying to learn this figure. It got all tangled up. And it stayed tangled.”

You can listen to a live version of the song below.