Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Bob Welch enjoyed a brief streak of mainstream success in the late '70s after a four-year, pre-phenomenon stint in Fleetwood Mac. In 1971, Welch replaced Jeremy Spencer and stayed for the albums Future Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973), Mystery to Me (1973), and Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974). Welch's finest Fleetwood Mac moment was the dreamily jazzy "Hypnotized" on Mystery to Me.
Welch was asked to stay despite the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, but he departed and formed a hard rock trio called Paris. The band -- which included former Jethro Tull bass guitarist Glenn Cornick, former Nazz drummer Thom Mooney, and then future Tin Machine drummer Hunt Sales -- released two poorly received albums in 1976. Welch then decided to craft blatantly commercial pop music, and he succeeded with 1977's French Kiss, which went platinum and featured the hit singles "Sentimental Lady" (a re-recording of the Bare Trees cut) and "Ebony Eyes."
Released in 1979, Three Hearts largely repeated the formula, but it only went gold; the single "Precious Love" hit the Top 40. Both albums featured guest appearances by Fleetwood Mac members. Welch released four more albums through 1983, but sales steadily declined.
By 1987, Welch had moved to Phoenix, Arizona and formed Avenue M. In the late '90s, he pursued a songwriting career in Nashville, Tennessee. Welch also publicly clashed with his former Fleetwood Mac bandmates. In 1994, he filed a lawsuit claiming he was underpaid royalties during his tenure. The case was settled out of court, but Welch says Fleetwood Mac retaliated by having him excluded from the band's 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Welch was the only early member not honored. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Nashville on June 7, 2012; Bob Welch was 65 years old. ~ Bret Adams, Rovi