14: The Byrds – One Hundred Years From Now

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Shamefully, I just plain forgot to mention in my autobiography – and I don’t know why – the importance to me of The Byrds, not just for their own fabulous music but for the musical directions in which they pointed me. Hearing their 1968 LP, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, in my teens in the mid 1970s, alerted me to the possibility that there was more to country music than the deadly dull George Hamilton IV, who was a fixture on UK television at the time.

sweetheart

SOTR was a genuinely groundbreaking album – an established “pop” group defying the prejudices and hostility of its own audience by making a record celebrating the band members’ country enthusiasms. It created the genre of “country-rock”. Released in the summer of ’68, it was made by a Byrds line-up (ever-shifting) which included, briefly, Gram Parsons (more from him to come, here…) and, as a session musician, the ridiculously hot bluegrass lead guitarist, Clarence White (The Kentucky Colonels).

Already, in March of ’68, The Byrds had stunned the rock world by playing on the Grand Ol’ Opry at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the spiritual home of country music.

Gram Parsons, who wrote One Hundred Years From Now, sang the lead on the original recording but, in post-production, his vocals were removed and replaced by those of Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman.

Hit it!

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