AmericanA to Z : The Byrds

Not every A-Z artist is a complete unknown, sometimes it’s good to remember just how good some of the seminal bands really were. The Byrds are the band that spawned a thousand jangly guitar bands, seemingly destined to be ‘rediscovered’ every ten years or so. The Byrds famously invented country-rock on ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo‘ – although even putting aside the many other contenders for that claim there is the small matter of previous material on ‘Younger then Yesterday‘ and ‘The Notorious Byrd Brothers‘.  The original line-up of The Byrds in particular was blessed with top-notch songwriters – Gene Clark, Jim/Roger McGuinn, David Crosby…and Bobby Dylan of course. The Byrds had so much talent that one band couldn’t contain it – Gene Clark solo, Crosby solo and with Stills and Nash, Hillman with Stills (again!) in Manassas and with Michael Clarke and Gram Parsons (a short-term Byrd himself) in The Flying Burrito Brothers. And there’s a lot more – use Pete Frame’s various Byrds rock family trees as a purchasing guide and one’d end up with a fine collection of music.  With McGuinn the only constant The Byrds went through a lot of changes, but every line-up had merit.

Number of tracks in the library: with all the official releases, and the expanded editions, a few concerts officially released and a few more which are mostly pretty dodgy bootlegs it comes to about 300 tracks.

Key Songs: has to be the whole of the first five albums, plus ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo‘ and the expanded version of the late flourish ‘Untitled / Unreleased‘. And once you’ve gone that far you may as well just get the rest.

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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