Monday 13 July 2009

Birthday Byrd

Earlier today I was chatting with a friend when the subject of the Byrds came up. We both agreed it was little short of miraculous that so much musical talent should ever have come together in one band - though the preternatural concentration of talent led to endless fallings-out, splits and regroupings. (Still more miraculously, the replacement band members were often as good as - or better than - those they replaced. Gram Parsons was initially brought in to play keyboards...) Anyway, what do you know? Today is Roger McGuinn's birthday - his 67th. Here he is a couple of years ago, playing an acoustic version of Eight Miles High. Terrible vocal (and he knows it), but oh that guitar picking! Enjoy...


  1. I can only manage fingerstyle, so it's the use of the plectrum & finger style that always amazes me, though compensated by the fact that he usually plays the twelve string guitar which fills out the sound.

    To be honest, though, The Byrds have never excited me that much. Crosby, Stills, Nash (but especially Young) are my preferred 60s supergroup. However, in honour of this post, I will go and search them out and see what I've been missing.

  2. If you've not come across it, McGuinn has a rather splendid website where, on the first of each month, he uploads a new version of a traditional song with lyrics, chords, and historical notes. It's well worth dipping into.

    In certain moods I prefer the Byrds' versions of 'Tambourine Man', 'Chimes of Freedom', and 'All I Want To Do' to those of the Great Bard himself. Can't think, offhand, of any other artist of whom I'd say that.

  3. Me too Jonathan, in certain moods. Also My Back Pages.

    'All I Really Want to Do' in most moods, as the original has that slightly silly yodelled do-oooooooooooooo.

  4. "To everything, turn, turn, turn...." I love that song. Ecclesiastes put to music; what's not to like?