The Byrds

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Posted by kaori 04/28/2009 @ 22:07

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Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the beetles - Concord Monitor
That's why I moped around a local grocery store, staring at the American cheese behind the deli counter glass and seeing only Roger McGuinn, leader of the Byrds, and his melodic 12-string guitar. The Byrds, one of the best bands to emerge from the...
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It's been well documented that Bills rookie safety Jairus Byrd has football instincts that are greater than the average NFL player. Constantly anticipating and being around the football is what he's known for, but it's not his physical talent as much...
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CSN first formed in 1968, with each member coming from another influential group: David Crosby from The Byrds, Stephen Stills from Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash from The Hollies. The band's most recent collection of original material,...
BLUE ASH ... '71 POWER-POP TYME WARP! Flyer - blogTO
Teen-oriented three-minute pop songs, four part harmonies very similar to the Byrds, and a tough guitar/bass/drums sound modeled on The Who. A fantastic lead guitarist in the form of Bill "Cupid" Bartolin, a fine Keith Moon-style drummer in Dave Evans,...
The Dailey show: Hub singer's folk-pop feels at home on TV and stage - Boston Herald
1: Fashion of Distraction,” is held together by the single “Peace of Mind” and the social commentary of 1960s folk-rock acts such as the Byrds. “('Peace of Mind') came from being in a country stuck in two wars and people suffering on all sides,” Dailey...
Listening to Black Flag and the Byrds with Brian Walsby - The Independent Weekly
BRIAN WALSBY: I love The Byrds. I like The Byrds up until they grew beards just after Sweethearts of the Rodeo. I've been a little too scared to investigate the bearded Byrds. I love all the Gene Clark stuff from the first two records....
About 300 attend ceremony to honor 21 slain police officers and ... - Winston-Salem Journal
The Byrds were among about 300 people who attended the ceremony, which was part of National Law Enforcement Week. The Forsyth County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation held the ceremony to honor 21 slain police officers and Forsyth deputies....
The Byrd's Nest: 'The End of an Era?' -
Under different circumstances this article that I am writing to inform those of you that have followed and supported the Byrd's Nest, that it is coming to an end would be a sad one, but in this case it is not. Instead we can celebrate growth as this is...
The Hotdamns: …And Justice For Y'All - JamBase
If the Opry had any sense they'd already be booking these kids and there's plenty here for electric folkies fond of Fairport Convention and The Byrds, too. Fantastic harmonies and energetic playing underpin the consistently excellent alternating...
Roger McGuinn Carving A Niche As A Folk Hero In His Own Right - Hartford Courant
(JOHN CHIASSON / April 30, 2009) Whatever else he's done in his lengthy career — pop, psychedelic and country rock with the Byrds, even blues — Roger McGuinn never has strayed far from his earliest influence: folk. McGuinn wanted to perform since he...

The Byrds

The Byrds, 1965

The Byrds were an American rock and roll band. Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964, The Byrds underwent several lineup changes, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group's disbandment in 1973.

The Byrds were popular and influential during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band melded the British Invasion sound with elements of contemporary folk and pop music. They also helped forge such subgenres as folk rock, space rock, raga rock, psychedelic rock, jangle pop, and –- on their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which featured Gram Parsons –- country rock.

In 1991 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them #45 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Several band members went on to successful solo careers after leaving the group.

Inspired by the success of the Beatles, Roger McGuinn had been playing Beatles songs acoustically in Los Angeles folk clubs when Gene Clark approached him to form a duo. David Crosby joined them in a group they called the Jet Set, and they were joined by drummer Michael Clarke and mandolin-player-turned-bassist Chris Hillman in a band they named The Beefeaters. In November 1964 the group signed to Columbia Records and a few days later renamed themselves The Byrds.

On January 20, 1965, The Byrds recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man", a Bob Dylan song given the full electric treatment, and effectively created folk rock. McGuinn's jangling, highly melodic guitar playing (using a 12-string, heavily compressed Rickenbacker for its extremely bright tone) was immediately influential and has remained so to the present day. The group's complex harmony work became the other major characteristic of their sound (McGuinn and Clark alternating between unison singing and harmony, with Crosby providing the high harmony). Released in June 1965 after a long delay, this debut single reached #1 on the U.S. charts and repeated the feat in the U.K. shortly thereafter. At the same time, The Byrds' debut album Mr. Tambourine Man was released, reaching #6 in the U.S. and #7 in the U.K. The album mixed reworkings of folk songs (most notably Pete Seeger's "The Bells Of Rhymney") with several more Dylan covers in addition to the band's own compositions, mainly written by Gene Clark.

Since the band had not yet completely jelled in January, McGuinn was the only Byrd to play on "Mr. Tambourine Man" and its B-side, "I Knew I'd Want You". Rather than using band members, producer Terry Melcher hired The Wrecking Crew, a collection of top session men including Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Leon Russell, who provided the backing track over which McGuinn added lead guitar and lead vocal while Crosby and Clark sang harmony. By the time the album sessions started, Melcher was satisfied that the rest of the band was competent to record, and they played on all the remaining tracks.

The group's follow-up single was another interpretation of a Dylan song, "All I Really Want To Do". Unfortunately for The Byrds, Cher simultaneously released her own version to greater commercial success. Even though they had recorded Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" as their prospective third single (it was played on the California radio station KFWB), The Byrds instead quickly recorded "Turn! Turn! Turn!", a Pete Seeger adaptation of a traditional melody, with some lyrics taken directly from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and the song became the group's second U.S. #1 single, headlining their second album (also titled Turn! Turn! Turn!).

As with their debut, this album was characterized by harmony vocals and McGuinn's distinctive guitar sound, highlighted by Terry Melcher's bright-sounding production. This time they featured more of their own compositions and now had a major songwriter in Gene Clark; his songs from this period, including "The World Turns All Around Her", "She Don't Care About Time", "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" and "Set You Free This Time", are widely regarded as amongst the best of the folk-rock genre.

Gene Clark left the band in March 1966, partly due to a fear of flying which made it impossible for him to keep up with the band's itinerary. Clark had witnessed a fatal airplane crash as a youth, had a panic attack on a plane in Los Angeles bound for New York and refused to board. McGuinn told him, "You can't be a Byrd, Gene, if you can't fly." Clark was subsequently signed by Columbia as a solo artist and went on to forge a critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful body of work.

The Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension (5D), released in July 1966, built on the new sound the band had created, McGuinn extending his exploration of jazz and raga styles on tracks such as "I See You" and Crosby's "What's Happening?!?!", respectively. The campaign in U.S. radio to clamp down on "drug songs" affected several of the tracks, including "Eight Miles High" and "5D," and limited the album's commercial success (#24 US).

Allegedly irritated by the overnight success of manufactured groups such as The Monkees, the group next recorded the satirical and slightly bitter dig at the music business, "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star", which again broke new ground musically, featuring a trumpet part played by the South African musician Hugh Masekela. The song, written by McGuinn and Hillman, achieved modest success as a single and also led off their fourth album, Younger Than Yesterday. (It is now regarded as a rock classic.) The LP was more varied than its predecessor and has been widely praised for tracks such as Crosby's sinister ballad "Everybody's Been Burned", a cover of Dylan's "My Back Pages" (later released as a single), and a quartet of Chris Hillman numbers which showed the bassist emerging fully formed as a country-oriented songwriter ("Have You Seen Her Face", "Time Between", "Thoughts And Words", "The Girl With No Name").

By 1967 there was increasing tension between the band members, McGuinn and Hillman becoming irritated by what they saw as Crosby's overbearing egotism and his attempts to jockey for control of the band. In June, when The Byrds performed at the Monterey Pop Festival, Crosby sang the majority of lead vocals, and to the intense annoyance of the other members gave lengthy speeches between every song on the JFK assassination and the benefits of giving LSD to "every man, woman and child in the country." He further irritated the band by performing with rival band Buffalo Springfield, filling in for Neil Young. His stock within the band deteriorated even more following the commercial failure of his first A-side song, "Lady Friend", released in July (US #82). In October, during the recording of the fifth Byrds album, Crosby refused to participate in taping the Goffin-King number "Goin' Back" in preference to his own "Triad", a controversial song about a ménage à trois.

The resulting album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, was released in January 1968, and despite its troubled genesis contains some of the band's gentlest, most ethereal music. The record mixed folk rock, country, psychedelia and jazz, often within a single song, and attempted to deal with many contemporary themes such as peace, ecology, freedom, drug use, alienation and mankind's place in the universe. Over the years The Notorious Byrd Brothers has gained in reputation, while the contentious incidents surrounding its making have largely been forgotten.

Now reduced to a duo, The Byrds quickly recruited Hillman's cousin Kevin Kelley as drummer and the band went out on tour in support of The Notorious Byrd Brothers as a trio. After realizing that the trio arrangement wasn't going to work, McGuinn and Hillman, in a fateful decision for their future career direction, hired Gram Parsons, originally to play keyboards (he later moved to guitar). Hillman was an excellent mandolin player and had played in several notable bluegrass bands, and soon he and Parsons persuaded McGuinn to change direction again and take up a musical style in which The Byrds had previously only dabbled - country music.

After Parsons' departure, McGuinn and Hillman hired guitarist Clarence White, who had played on a few tracks of every Byrds album since Younger Than Yesterday. The new lineup had only been together for a very short time when White persuaded McGuinn and Hillman to replace Kevin Kelley with Gene Parsons (no relationship to Gram Parsons), who had played with White in Nashville West, another pioneering country-rock band. This new lineup played two shows together in October before Hillman quit to join Gram Parsons in creating the Flying Burrito Brothers. McGuinn, now the only original Byrd left, hired bassist John York (who had been working in the Sir Douglas Quintet) to replace Hillman, and the resulting quartet recorded the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album and released it in February 1969 to poor U.S. sales and moderate U.K. success.

In July 1969 The Byrds were the headliner of the Schaefer Music Festival in New York City's Central Park, along with Miles Davis, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and Patti LaBelle. They appeared at the festival again in 1970 and 1971.

In October 1969 the band released the Ballad Of Easy Rider album. The single from the album was "Jesus Is Just Alright", which in a similar arrangement became a hit for The Doobie Brothers four years later. During those recording sessions the group also recorded a version of Jackson Browne's "Mae Jean Goes to Hollywood", but it remained unreleased for some twenty years. The title track was composed by McGuinn (expanding on a verse line written by Bob Dylan) as the music theme for the 1969 hippie movie Easy Rider, and both album and single sold well off the back of the movie's huge success. By the time the album was released, John York had left the band because his girlfriend objected to his going out on the road. He was replaced by bassist Skip Battin, who had some chart success in 1959 as half of the duo Skip & Flip.

In 1970 The Byrds released the double album (Untitled), which charted well in the U.K. and acceptably in the U.S. (Untitled) featured one disc of live recordings and one of studio performances such as "Chestnut Mare", "All The Things" and "Lover of the Bayou". It also included a 16-minute live version of "Eight Miles High".

In 1971 they released Byrdmaniax, which was a commercial and critical disappointment, largely due to inappropriate orchestration which was added by producer Terry Melcher to many tracks on the album without the band's approval. Also in 1971 came the release of Farther Along. The title track of that album, sung by Clarence White with the rest of the group harmonizing, would became a prophetic epitaph for both White and Gram Parsons. In July 1973, White was killed by a motor vehicle while he was loading equipment after a gig in Palmdale, California. Soon afterwards, Gram Parsons died as a result of an overdose of morphine and alcohol, in the Joshua Tree Motel, also in California.

On May 13th, 1971 the Byrds lineup of Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons, Clarence White and Skip Battin appeared at London's Royal Albert Hall, to critical acclaim. The full concert, including a number of encores, was issued in 2008 on CD for the first time.

McGuinn toured with the Byrds through 1972, with L.A. session drummer John Guerin replacing Gene Parsons. Two Byrds recordings exist with this lineup: live versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Roll Over Beethoven", recorded for the soundtrack to the movie Banjoman. The final recording sessions involving all four of the latter-day Columbia Byrds were for Skip Battin's 1972 album, Skip; Guerin was on drums. McGuinn appeared on only one track, "Captain Video" - evidently Battin's tribute to his erstwhile employer.

Skip Battin and John Guerin either quit or were fired after the February 10, 1973 show in Ithaca, New York, and were replaced by Chris Hillman and Joe Lala, respectively, for The Byrds' final two shows on February 23 (Burlington, Vermont) and 24 (Passaic, New Jersey).

The five original Byrds all briefly reunited in late 1972 (while McGuinn was still on tour with the CBS version of the Byrds) to cut the reunion album Byrds. The album came out in March 1973, less than a month after the Columbia version of the Byrds played their final show. The album garnered mixed reviews, and a planned tour with the original five Byrds to support it never materialized.

In the late '70s McGuinn, Clark and Hillman worked on and off as a trio (modelled on CSNY and, to a lesser extent, The Eagles), touring and recording two albums, and scoring a top 40 hit ("Don't You Write Her Off") in 1978. Some of the earlier and later live shows were advertised by unscrupulous promoters as Byrds reunions. By 1979 Clark had departed and the two others recorded an album as McGuinn-Hillman.

In the late 1980s there were disputes over which members owned the rights to the "Byrds" name. Clarke and Clark toured separately under The Byrds name at that time, and from 1989 through most of 1993 Michael Clarke toured occasionally as "The Byrds Featuring Michael Clarke" with former Byrd Skip Battin and newcomers Terry Jones Rogers and Jerry Sorn. To solidify their claim to the name and prevent any non-original members from using it, McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby staged a series of Byrds reunion concerts in 1989 and 1990, including a famous performance at a Roy Orbison tribute concert where they were joined by Bob Dylan for Mr. Tambourine Man. These shows led to McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby recording four new studio tracks for the boxed set The Byrds in 1990. During that year, a legal action against Clarke and his booking agent failed, a judge ruling that Clarke's group had toured successfully. Eventually, a settlement was reached, preventing any entity not including McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby from using the name "Byrds".

The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. The original lineup of Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn was honored at this induction. Gene Clark died later that year, and two years later Michael Clarke succumbed to liver disease brought on by alcoholism.

Though both Hillman and Crosby have expressed an interest in working with McGuinn again on future Byrds projects, no such reunion has occurred and all three have successful individual careers.

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Time Between - A Tribute to The Byrds

Time Between - A Tribute To The Byrds was an album released by Imaginary Records in the UK in 1989. The album consisted of contemporary artists performing cover versions of songs by The Byrds.

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The Byrds' Greatest Hits

The Byrds' Greatest Hits cover

The Byrds' Greatest Hits is the first compilation by the American rock and roll band, The Byrds, released 1967 on Columbia Records, catalogue item CL 2716 in mono, CS 9516 in stereo. It is the top-selling album in the Byrds catalogue, reaching #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in 1967, certified a platinum-seller by the Recording Industry Association of America on November 21, 1986. In 2003, the album was ranked number 178 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

A summary of the Byrds history during the stays of Gene Clark and David Crosby in the band, this compilation also serves as the survey of the group's hit singles from 1965 to 1967 inclusive, the time when they were a force on the singles chart. Every A-side from this time period appears, with the exceptions of "Set You Free This Time," #79 "Have You Seen Her Face" #74, and "Lady Friend," #82 none of which cracked the Top 40. The set includes three favored album tracks, with the remaining eight singles tracks peaking at the following positions on the Billboard Hot 100: "5D (Fifth Dimension)" #44; "All I Really Want to Do" #40; "Mr. Spaceman" #36; "My Back Pages" #30; "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" #29; "Eight Miles High" #14; "Turn! Turn! Turn!" #1; and "Mr. Tambourine Man" also #1. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better peaked at #103 on the Billboard Singles Chart as the B-Side of All I Really Want To Do. The last three records were among the most innovative and influential of the entire decade, at a time when singles, at least in rock and roll, were as important entities in their own right as albums, and generally more so. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" summed up sixties countercultural values as much as "Blowin' in the Wind," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," or "All You Need Is Love," while "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Eight Miles High" helped to introduce the sub-genres of folk-rock and psychedelia respectively into the popular music of the day.

Greatest Hits was remixed and remastered at 20-bit resolution as part of the Columbia/Legacy Byrds series, reissued in an expanded form on March 30, 1999. The three bonus tracks included two of the remaining singles from this period, plus the charting B-side "It Won't Be Wrong." It was reissued again in the SACD format, with the same expanded track listing as on the 20-bit remaster, on January 30, 2001. All of the songs on this set appeared as well on the band's first four albums proper.

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The Very Best of The Byrds

The Very Best of The Byrds is a compilation album by American Rock band The Byrds released in 1997. It was only released in Europe at the time but as of 2006, has seen some release in the US. It contains 24 songs that span the first five years of their career (1965 to 1970).

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The Byrds Play Dylan

The Byrds Play Dylan cover

The Byrds Play Dylan is a compilation album by American rock band The Byrds, and was first released in 1980 by Columbia Records. The album features thirteen interpretations of Bob Dylan songs from their entire career, regardless of line-up. The recordings contained within range from 1965 with "Mr. Tambourine Man" to 1970's "Positively 4th Street". The Byrds Play Dylan never charted in either the U.S. or the UK.

In 2002, the album was remastered and expanded to twenty tracks. All of the material on both releases of The Byrds Play Dylan was previously released, either on The Byrds' regular albums, as bonus tracks on their remastered CDs, or on The Byrds, the 1990 boxed set.

All songs by Bob Dylan, except where noted.

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Untitled (The Byrds album)

(Untitled) cover

The first LP includes concert material (the first official release of any live Byrds recordings), beginning with a new McGuinn original, "Lover Of The Bayou", a new Dylan cover, 1965's "Positively Fourth Street", and a medley of hits - "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star", "Mr. Spaceman", and "Mr. Tambourine Man", culminating in a sixteen-minute rendition of 1966's "Eight Miles High" that was popular on progressive rock radio. McGuinn and White trade lengthy guitar solos before Battin and Parsons roll into a long bass-n-drums jam. After jamming for over 12 minutes, the band finally sings the first verse of the song and concludes the performance with a brief cover of the instrumental "Hold It!".

The second disc is a new studio effort, consisting mostly of new original songs by McGuinn and Battin, produced by Terry Melcher. Also featured were songs by Lead Belly ("Take a Whiff on Me") and Lowell George of Little Feat ("Truck Stop Girl", featuring a vocal by Clarence White).

The album was a success, reaching number 40 in the United States during a chart stay of twenty-one weeks and number 11 in the United Kingdom, where it was bolstered by the surprise Top 20 hit "Chestnut Mare". Although contemporary reviews were not enthusiastic, Untitled is generally considered today to be The Byrds' best latter-day recording. It is also the only double-LP released by the Byrds during the band's active lifespan, and thus is the group's longest album by far; in fact, the studio LP on its own (at thirty-eight minutes) is longer than any other Byrds album - despite containing fewer tracks (nine) than any other Byrds album.

The album's title actually came about by accident. The group's original intention was to call the release something more grandiose, referencing their commercial and artistic "rebirth": Phoenix, or The Byrds' First Album. They had yet to make up their minds when the label pressed them for a title; producer Terry Melcher carelessly filled out a form requesting the album's title with the placeholder "(untitled)", and jackets were promptly pressed with that on them, including the parentheses.

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Source : Wikipedia