“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, a position it occupied for four consecutive weeks.
The song was written during Green’s final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD and had withdrawn from other members of the band. While there are several theories about the meaning of the title “Green Manalishi”, Green has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil. Green was reportedly angered by the other band members’ refusal to give away their financial gains.
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 bandmate Nigel Watson.
Heavy metal band Judas Priest covered the song on their 1979 album Hell Bent for Leather (the American version of Killing Machine). 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 K. K. Downing.