Albatross peaked at no 11 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 16 April 1969.
Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” (1959) reportedly inspired Peter Green for his 1968 instrumental “Albatross”. In Green’s biography [Celmins 1998], an early inspiration for “Albatross” was said to have been “a group of notes from an Eric Clapton solo, played slower.”
The composition and its arrangement suggest a relaxing sea setting, with cymbals imitating the sound of waves. Mick Fleetwood played his drum kit using timpani mallets to give a muted sound and Green’s guitar provided a dreamy solo.
The instrumental was recorded by the original line-up of Fleetwood Mac: Peter Green (guitar), Danny Kirwan (guitar), John McVie (bass guitar) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
An albatross is a bird that sailors believed brought bad luck, hence the expression “An albatross around your neck.” The albatross appears in the poem The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge. Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green read the poem as a child, which gave him the idea for the song.
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
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