"The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)" is a song written by Peter Green and recorded by Fleetwood Mac. It was released as a single in the UK in May 1970 and reached No. 10 on the British charts.
- 2 Live versions
- 3 Band members
- 4 Cover versions
- 5 References
The song was written during Green's final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD and had withdrawn from other members of the band. "Faced with the band's refusal to give away all monetary gains, Peter Green decided to leave Fleetwood Mac, but not before writing the haunting 'Green Manalishi,' which seems to document his struggle to stop his descent into madness." While there are several rumours about the meaning of the title "Green Manalishi", one referencing a mysterious LSD drug called "Green Manalishi" associated with the drug scene of the 1960s and 1970s, Green has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil.
Green has explained that he wrote the song after experiencing a drug-induced dream, in which he was visited by a green dog which barked at him. He understood that the dog represented money. "It scared me because I knew the dog had been dead a long time. It was a stray and I was looking after it. But I was dead and had to fight to get back into my body, which I eventually did. When I woke up, the room was really black and I found myself writing the song." He also said that he wrote the lyrics the following day, in Richmond Park. Supposedly, he was unable to record Robert Johnson's 'Hellhound on My Trail' following the incident; having conflated Johnson's hellhound with the green dog-demon of his dream. This is supported by his discography, in which Green's sole post-Manalishi cover of 'Hellhound' was sung by band mate Nigel Watson.
The B-side of the single was an instrumental written by Green and Danny Kirwan, titled "World In Harmony". The two tracks were recorded at the same session in Warner/Reprise Studios, inHollywood, California.
A 13-minute live version of "The Green Manalishi" was recorded in February 1970, prior to the single's release in May, but it remained unreleased until 1998 when it was issued on the Live in Boston: Remastered 3CD boxed set.
The song was played live by subsequent versions of the ever-evolving Fleetwood Mac with Bob Welch and then Lindsey Buckingham singing the vocal and taking on the song's musically acrobatic guitar duties.
- Peter Green – guitar, vocals
- Danny Kirwan – guitar
- John McVie – bass
- Mick Fleetwood – drums, cymbals
The other member of the band, guitarist Jeremy Spencer, is thought not to have been present at the recording sessions, though he was present when Green was recording the eerie howling noises heard at the end of the song, according to an interview with Spencer on the BBC Peter Green documentary DVD, "Man of the World".
The song later became a standard cover for heavy metal band Judas Priest, beginning in the late 1970s. The song has become so identified with Judas Priest that many fans mistakenly assume it to be a Priest original. Their first release of the song was a studio recording on the US edition of Killing Machine (called Hell Bent for Leather in the US) in 1978. The first worldwide release was on the band's live album, Unleashed in the East, released later that year. A re-recording of the song was also added as a bonus track on the German/Australian version of the album Demolition in 2001. The band performed it on Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Pennsylvania in 1985. This version of the song features a dual guitar solo played by Glenn Tipton and KK Downing.
The song has been covered by various other artists and bands:
- Melvins, on their 1999 album The Maggot
- Steel, on their 1998 Heavy Metal Machine EP.
- Arthur Brown, on the 1997 tribute album, Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green.
- Therion covered Judas Priest's version of the song on the 2002 tribute album A Tribute to the Priest.
- Ian Parker, on his 2005 live album ...Whilst the Wind.
- Corrosion of Conformity, on their 1983 album Eye for an Eye.
- The Electric Hellfire Club, on the 2001 Deadline Music compilation, An Industrial Rock Tribute to Judas Priest.
- Sonny Moorman on his 2008 album Live as Hell
- The Need on the 2001 compilation The Structure of Scientific Misconceptions/The System of Scientific Misconstructions