Robert (Bob) Welch was born on July 31, 1946 in Los Angeles, California.
This new deal with Capitol produced Bob's best known and most successful solo album to date -- "French Kiss". Featuring appearances by Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. The album delighted Welch fans but it also proved to be a must-have for fans of Lindsey, Christine and Mick.
On French Kiss, particular attention was paid to Bob's reworking of his Bare Trees album song called “Sentimental Lady”. The song reached #8 on the charts for Bob and propelled French Kiss to super album status. Another song from the album “Ebony Eyes” made it to #14. That song also had a video which at the time was considered almost revolutionary. The third single, “Hot Love Cold World”, also charted -- reaching # 31. Next came Bob's "Three Hearts" album. The single "Precious Love reached #19 and another song "Church" charted at #73. Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie both guested on the album which achieved moderate success but wasn't the blockbuster that "French Kiss" had been. An interesting sidenote about “Don’t Wait Too Long” from the album. The song (which Christine McVie collaborated on) was a re-recording of an outtake from The Mac's "Mystery To Me" sessions. The song had been discarded by The Mac at the last minute and their version has still yet to see official release.
Bob continued to record more solo albums over the years but unfortunately these releases sold less and less as the years went on. So after his deal with Capitol expired, he moved to RCA where they in-turn gave him a two album deal. Unfortunately those RCA releases didn't sell so well either.
He did play bass on a Turley Richards album in 1980 called “Therfu”. Mick executive produced the effort and Lindsey, interestingly enough, did the cover art. But other than that, Bob was having a hard time of it.
After some tough times in L.A. and Phoenix in the late 80’s/early 90’s dealing with a drug addiction and the failure of two short lived bands (Touch and Avenue M), Bob and his wife Wendy decided to pick up and move to Nashville. It was there that Bob Welch started to produce some notable songwriting work, achieving significant success and industry recognition all over again.
In 1997, a song that Bob co-wrote called “Find A Little Grace" found its way onto Kenny Rogers' "Across My Heart" album. And guess who sang on that track besides Kenny? None other than Bekka Bramlett and Billy Burnette!
Then in 1998, when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Bob Welch was not invited to the ceremony nor was he inducted as being part of the band with which he recorded five albums. Many fans of Bob's work including this writer wonder why. Although that answer may never be clear -- one thing is. Bob Welch was an important contributor to early 70's Fleetwood Mac and has had an impressive solo career in his own right.
If you will, please read this essay that Leggie Matt Sullivan wrote regarding Bob Welch being snubbed by the Rock and Roll Of Fame. As you'll see, the passion regarding this subject runs deep in the Mac Fan Community.
In 1999, Bob released “Bob Welch Looks at Bop”, a cd which was heavily influenced by his childhood Jazz favorites. Then in 2003, One Way Records released "Bob Welch His Fleetwood Mac Years & Beyond Volume I" a cd that showcases both Welch's work with Fleetwood Mac and his solo recordings. It really is a special compilation in that, for the first time, you can really 'get' just how important an artist Bob Welch really is. Volume II of that collection was just released in 2006.
On June 7, 2012, Bob Welch was found dead in his home, of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. Robert Welch...clearly a Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer in the hearts and minds of every Fleetwood Mac fan. Our hearts are broken. We'll miss you.
Research: John Fitzgerald
Written by: Jan Freedland & John Fitzgerald
"Bob Welch: Fleetwood Mac's Unsung Hero" contributed by Matt Sullivan
If you have any interesting facts or insights that you'd like to add to Bob's bio, please drop us a line.