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The Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac

Album: The Roots Of Fleetwood MacReleased: 1970Charted:
  • This was one of the last songs that Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green wrote for the band; it came at a time when he was taking LSD and having violent nightmares.

    As Green explained in a 1996 interview with Mojo, the song is about the evils of money: the Green Manalishi was the devil manifested as a wad of cash. Green explained: "I had a dream where I woke up and I couldn't move, literally immobile on the bed. I had to fight to get back into my body. I had this message that came to me while I was like this, saying that I was separate from people like shop assistants, and I saw a picture of a female shop assistant and a wad of pound notes, and there was this other message saying,
    'You're not what you used to be. You think you're better than them. You used to be an everyday person like a shop assistant, just a regular working person.' I had been separated from it because I had too much money. So I thought, How can I change that?"
  • Peter Green built quite a legend by giving away most of his money. He gave most of his savings to a London-based charity called War On Want, which provided aid to developing nations, mostly in Africa. Green explained: "Last thing at night they used to put pictures on telly of starving people and I used to sit there eating a doughnut and thinking, Why have I got this big stash that I don't need when probably I'm going to die with it and all this is going on?"
  • Judas Priest covered this on their Hell Bent for Leather album in 1979. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA
  • Rumors had it that "Green Manalishi" was a kind of LSD, but Peter Green insists that is was about money. It was based upon a recurrent dream he had in which he woke up unable to move while messages about money formed in his brain. Green recalls: "When I woke up I found I was writing this song. Next day I went out to the park and the words started coming. The Green Manalishi is the wad of notes, the devil is green and he was after me. Fear, inspiration is what it was, but it was that tribal ancient Hebrew thing I was going for. Ancient music." More recently he admitted, "It took me two years to recover from that song. When I listened to it afterwards there was so much power there... it exhausted me." (from an article by Neil Slaven on Union Square Music)
  • In retrospect, the song seems like an obvious cry for help from Peter Green, but this wasn't so clear to his bandmates, who say that his descent was a gradual process, and that they didn't read so much into this song. "Peter going off the rails was not an immediate thing," Mick Fleetwood explained. "He left Fleetwood Mac under the most controlled circumstances."
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Comments: 8

Make a ranking of Judas Priest songs and this doesn't crack the top 30, but it is still a better version than this. The interwoven guitar throughout the track makes it a much more entertaining and coherent tune. Peter Green may have been a guitar genius, yes, but his vocals don't touch Rob Halford.Shawn - Green Bay, Wi
The Judas Priest version is kind of standard-run it through the heavy metal tune processor, hamfisted attempt at a cover. All the pain and fear of the original is stripped out. I know it's the more ubiquitous version, but it pales in every way to the Fleetwood Mac version. Peter Green's playing and singing are chillingly haunting. On the few live recordings from the original FM, it's even more evident. Check out the live version on the "Roots - The Original Fleetwood Mac" collection. Weird mix, but PG is on the edge of genius and breakdown in this performance - his playing is economical, but stunning. Everything else is just "posing" by comparison.Paolo - Boonton, Nj
I fail to see why "Tim from Ok"'s opinion is especially "informed". It strikes me as merely an opinion, just like that of anyone else.
I grew up think the Judas Priest version was the original. It IS very good. But I was extremely surprised to discover the actual original. This version is scarier to me. You can really feel the undercurrent of fear in the presence of evil in both the music and the vocals. Pure exhaustian too. The JP version is an excellent rock song. This version effectively conveys the story of a horrifying, highly personal, human experience.
Anna - Seattle, Wa
The version from JUDAS PRIEST's "unleashed in the east" "live" (lotsa studio overdubs) album is in my mind the ultimate version of this song and is one of the rare cases where it surpasses the original. The band as a whole, vocals, and guitar all exceed the original. Disagree if you like.... It is only my informed opinion.Tim - Okc, Ok
Green Manalishi has always been one of my very favorite Fleetwood Mac songs. It was hard to find for a long time until it appeared on the anthology "25 Years: The Chain". I have it on an old vinyl Greatest Hits record. (Rightly or wrongly) I always envisioned this song as referring to Peter Green's encroaching mental illness: he's externalizing it as "the Green Manalishi". It's making him "do things he doesn't want to do" and "see things he doesn't want to see". The last line is so haunting and gives me chills: "leaving me here just trying to keep from following you".Diane - Folsom, Ca
I have the live version but it wasn't on the LIve at the Boston Tea Party CD but rather on one I think was called simply "Live in Boston". a single CD. The recording was a lot clearer on the "live in Boston" cd as well which puzzles me a bit since I assume its from the same master, maybe it was a different night or something as the other songs on it by the same name seem to be slightly different versions on the "Live at the Bostone Tea Party" cd..Wyatt - Anywhere, United States
Such a shame this was left off of FM's "Live at the Boston Tea Party", even though it's 2 cd's! I have a cassette tape with this on it - some of the best recorded live music I've ever heard. No wonder, at the time ('69-'70) they were outselling the Beatles and the Stones in the UK!Matt - Raleigh, Nc
Judas Priest covered this song on their 1979 album Hell Bent For Leather. Also the original version appeared in the 2000 movie Frequency.Joshua - Twin Cities, Mn
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