The Byrds were an American rock-band, formed in La, California in 1964. The band got multiple lineup changes throughout its being, with frontman Roger McGuinn , a.k.a. Jim McGuinn, staying the only consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they just managed to reach the enormous commercial success of contemporaries like The Beatles , The Beach Boys , and Rolling Stones for a brief interval (1965–66), The Byrds are now considered by critics to be one of the most powerful groups of the 60’s. Initially, they initiated the musical genre of folk rock , melding the influence of The Beatles and other British Invasion groups with modern and traditional folk music As the sixties advanced, the group was also powerful in originating psychedelic rock , raga rock , and country-rock.

The group’s trademark mixture of clear harmony singing and McGuinn’s jangly twelve string Rickenbacker guitar has continued to be powerful on popular music up to the present day. Among the group’s most enduring tunes are their cover songs of Bob Dylan ‘s Mr. Tambourine Man and Pete Seeger ‘s Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) , along with the self-written originals, I will Feel a Whole Lot Better , Eight Miles High , So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star , Ballad of Easy Rider and Chestnut Mare .

The initial five-piece lineup of The Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn ( lead guitar , vocals ), Gene Clark ( tambourine , vocals), David Crosby ( rhythm guitar , vocals), Chris Hillman ( bass guitar , singing), and Michael Clarke ( drums ). Yet, this edition of the band was comparatively short lived and by early 1966, Clark had left due to issues related with stress and his raising isolation within the group. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke also departed the group. McGuinn and Hillman determined to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons , but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had additionally left the group. McGuinn, who by this time had switched his name to Roger after a flirtation with the Subud faith, elected to reconstruct the group’s membership and between 1968 and 1973, he helmed a new embodiment of The Byrds, featuring guitarist Clarence White among others. McGuinn disbanded the then present lineup in early 1973, to make way for a reunion of the first quintet. The Byrds’ final record was released in March 1973, with the group disbanding shortly afterward.

Several former members of the group went on to successful careers of their own, either as solo artists or as members of such groups as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Youthful , The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Desert Rose Band In the late eighties, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke both started touring as The Byrds, prompting a legal challenge from McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman over the rights to the group’s name. As a result of this, McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman performed a string of reunion concerts as The Byrds in 1989 and 1990, and additionally recorded four new Byrds’ tunes.

Speak Your Mind