The Byrds: Roger (Jim) McGuinn (vocals, 12-string guitar); David Crosby (vocals, guitar); Chris Hillman (vocals, bass); Gene Clark (vocals, tambourine); Michael Clarke (drums).
Producers: Terry Melcher, Allen Stanton, Gary Usher.
Includes liner notes by John Rogan.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1964, the Byrds hit with their first single, a vibrant take on Bob Dylan's "Mr.Tambourine Man," in 1965, introducing the term "folk-rock" into the rock vocabulary. With a sound marked by soaring, multi-part harmonies and 12-string Rickenbacker guitar, the Byrds racked up several more hits over the next two years, including a chart-topping interpretation of Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn." Personnel changes and internal disputes, combined with changing musical fashions, caused their popularity to dwindle in the late '60s. The greatest achievement of their later years was SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO (1968). That hybrid of country and rock (influenced by new guitarist/singer Gram Parsons) was largely responsible for the Eagles and their kin.
In 1972, Roger McGuinn, the only remaining original member, disbanded the Byrds. The original lineup reunited in 1973 for one ill-received album. The members remained musically active, with David Crosby the most visible. Although ex-Byrds occasionally worked with one another, the deaths of Gene Clark (1991) and Michael Clarke (1993) ended the possibility of another full-scale reunion. The Byrds' sound and spirit lives on in McGuinn's solo work and in the music of the countless artists whom they inspired, including the Beatles, Tom Petty and R.E.M.