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The Byrds


He honed his craft in coffeehouses around Chicago in the late 1950s as a back-up singer, proficient guitarist and formidable banjo player. He was taken under wing by the singer Bobby Darin who was transitioning from life as a 50s teen idol (Splish Splash) into a 60s protest singer. When Darin's health issues crippled his career, Roger headed west where he landed onstage at the Troubadour which at the time was the epicenter of LA's emerging rock scene.

Inspired by equal part Dylan and the newly found success of The Beatles, McGuinn became a founding member of the notorious Byrds which may well be the most important Atlantic-side contribution to 1960s rock. His 12-string jingle-jangle sound mystified even George Harrison who soon assimilated Roger's styling. His granny glasses became all the rage to boot.

After riding a wave of success re-imagining Dylan (Mr. Tamborine Man) and redefining pop radio (Eight Miles High) The Byrds detoured into the unknown resurrecting McGuinn's first love of country music when he joined forces with Gram Parsons to pioneer the alt-country masterpiece Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. The radical departure left many fans scratching their heads but has since proven to be yet another amazing contribution to his legacy.

In the tail-end of what was once The Byrds, McGuinn had one last trick up his sleeve delivering the classic epic Chestnut Mare.


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