Another Artist Taken Too Soon
On Friday, June 8th, Danny Kirwan passed away at age 68. Kirwan was a former guitarist for the British band Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972.
Kirwan was only 18 years old when he joined the band. He was originally recruited by Mick Fleetwood when he was playing with for another. Fleetwood wrote, “Today was greeted by the sad news of the passing of Danny Kirwan in London, England.” Fleetwood, who also confirmed his death on Facebook said: “He made the band his musical home for many years”. Currently, there is no official cause of death for the late musician.
Kirwan’s full name is Daniel David Kirwan. The artist was born in Brixton, South London. He started playing guitar at an early age before joining a band called Boilerhouse and eventually finding his place with Fleetwood Mac.
After joining the band in 1968, Kirwan first appeared in their Number One single “Albatross”. He continued on to record five more albums with the band as both a guitarist and a singer. Kirwan joined the band when it was made up of members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood.
Life Takes An Unexpected Turn
Unfortunately, in 1972 his time with the band ended when he was fired due to his alcoholism. He was let go in the middle of the tour Bare Trees. Reportedly, there was also an altercation with the late band mate Bob Welch. Kirwan played for Fleetwood Mac when their music was more in the Blues genre.
Despite the unfavorable way in which Kiran left the band, Kirwan did not seem to express too much resentment or negativity. In an interview with The Independent, he humbly said: “ I was lucky to have played for the band at all.” It’s inspiring to see someone not hold grudges or ill will over a negative situation.
Kirwan continued to make music on his own and released four solo albums before slowly disappearing from public view. By the end of the 70’s, he was pretty much non-existent in the music industry.
But Where Did He Go?
Around 1993, Mick Fleetwood asked the Missing Person Bureau to try to find Kirwan. When they finally found Kirwan he was homeless and dealing with his mental health issues. Living a very shut off life in a basement in the South of London, he was living off of small royalty payments and social security checks. Kirwan called this dark time a “rough patch” in an interview with The Independent in 1993.
It’s always sad to see artists with a potential slip into the background and eventually out of the music industry altogether.
Because of his time with Fleetwood Mac, Kirwan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 along with seven other members but did not make the trip to attend the ceremony. In 2015 the Observer listed him as “one of the great lost figures in rock history.”