Saturday, November 25, 2006

FBO: 'Furious with Byrds'

The worst band in the history of rock music is the Byrds. Making a career out of covering other people's songs with flat harmonies and 12-string guitars, the Byrds never really had a moment until they gave up the reigns of their band -- in a career crisis moment after psychedlic's fire simmered out -- and let Graham Parsons sing lead, direct the songs and make their best album 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' in 1968.

With David Crosby (of lame CSN&Y fame) and Parsons gone, the smug Roger 'I have a 12-string! I have a 12-string!' McGuinn -- never much of a force in the band -- took over, finding new Dylan songs to cover. (They re-did Dylan's biggest song 'Lay Lady Lay' the same year Dylan released it, for example.)

Eventually we -- the children of the '80s -- believed what we were told: the Byrds were an important 1960s band and the uncharismatic, poor singer McGuinn was its pioneer. We clapped politely as they were awarded status to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. And we nodded our heads in time to the 10-second soundbyte of 'Turn Turn Turn' as it accompanied a Time-Life Book commercial in 1989. None of us have ever listened to any of their non-Parsons albums, nor should.

Take a look at this:

* first 'hit' was 'Mr Tambourine Man' (written by Dylan)
* follow-up single 'All I Really Want to Do' (written by Dylan)
* follow-up single 'Turn Turn Turn' (traditional folk song by Pete Seeger)
* two years later they actually wrote a song ('So You Wanna Be a Rock'n'Roll Star') to make a dig at the manufactured Monkees' overnight success, forgetting they had formed in a similar fashion a few years earlier
* fired (admittedly overrated) David Crosby who had been principal songwriter in psychedlic era
* in 1972, following success of rival Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Byrds released 'Byrds' album under name 'Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn & Michael Clarke)

The FBO calls for Roger McGuinn, as the official Byrds spokesperson:

--> to apologize
--> to post all material free online (none of their music should make money from this point on)
--> return the 'Hall of Fame' inductee ribbon
--> stop talking about the Byrds on nostalgic radio/TV shows

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You are an a-hole.

Anonymous said...

The fantastic NEW Byrds Box Set from Sony / Legacy is available now! Order yours today! Get it here:

Anonymous said...

The NEW Byrds Box Set is HERE:

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of reading these negative reviews from all you old-timers out there, who can't see why yet another compilation or box set is needed. WAKE UP, grumpy old men! Not every release is meant for you hardcore fans. If you don't like it, DON'T BUY IT! Some of us would just like a thorough overview in stead of necessarily having to buy each and every album The Byrds ever released. Rating this box set 3 stars, because the majority of the music has been released before, is simply ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome, superb, outstanding compilation of songs from America's greates rock, folk, country band of the 60s and 70s. This 4 CD set has everything and more from the Byrds. This set even out does the 1990 release 4 disc box set. The 100 page booklet in this compilation gives a thorough overview of the Byds history. The DVD is very nostalgic. I wasn't impressed with it because it was black and white and it was quite obvious that they were lip synching because if they're playing electric guitars, there were no wires or amps. On one segment you can see clearly the music and singing are out of synch. But don't let this put you off. You don't have to watch the DVD just listen to the music that we've loved all these years. The Byrds were a fantastic group and their music sounds just as fresh today as it did back then. If you want to hear some rare Byrds, buy The Preflyte Sessions. Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Forget what the other reviewers say about the new additional tracks being throwaways - these tracks have the great Clarence White playing guitar! Anything Clarence played on is important. And most of these unissued tracks are live - the recording and playing is supurb! Makes the listener proud to be a Byrds fan(atic). NOTE TO SONY/LEGACY/COLUMBIA: If there are more live tapes of the Clarence White era of the Byrds, PLEASE releae them. On disc #4 there are 12 live tracks, 4 previously unissued: You All Look Alike, Nashville West, I Trust, and a full bore rockin' Baby What You Want Me To Do.
Everybody really knocked the Byrdmaniax and Farther Along albums, but live tunes from those records are a completely exceptional experience. There are also live versions of It's Alright Ma and Ballad of Easy Rider which will knock you socks off.
The Byrds, America's most talented band. In my humble opinion. And we are lucky to have such well recorded testaments to their greatness. Critics also knock the Clarence White era too, but those guys could play! The two eras of the Byrds are two sides of the same coin - the Crosby/Clark era were fantastic in the studio, ok live - the C.W. era were ok in the studio, but a really cookin' road band. I'd give anything to have been along with them for a couple of shows back in their day. McGuinn should write a book. Show should Hillman.

Anonymous said...

Rolling Stone gave the Byrds Box 5 stars!

The Byrds are still among the most underrated bands in rock history. One reason is that they didn't have a unique, charismatic frontman: Five California folkie boys came together one jingle-jangle morning in 1964 and then careened around musically for a decade. The Byrds also ran into more than their fair share of trouble, maybe because they weren't great friends -- when things got crazy, they'd just rotate out another member. One example: When singer Gene Clark freaked out and refused to get on an airplane in 1966, the rest of the Byrds kept flying. Clark, their best songwriter, left the band.

Another reason the Byrds were underrated, of course, is that they were overshadowed by British groups like the Beatles and the Stones. But the Byrds' appeal isn't limited to bald-eagle rock fans rooting for the home team: They came up with harmonizing folk rock that sounds like liquid sunshine ("I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"), they brought Bob Dylan to the top of the charts for the first time (with "Mr. Tambourine Man" -- many Dylan covers would follow), they pioneered trippy psychedelic guitar rock ("Eight Miles High") and pretty much invented country rock when Gram Parsons joined them for 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Bands from the Eagles to R.E.M. are in the Byrds' debt, as is just about any musician who ever picked up a twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar.

Ten years ago, Columbia began elegantly refurbishing the Byrds' back catalog, reissuing the records with essential B sides and outtakes (and, in the case of Sweetheart of the Rodeo, releasing the Parsons vocals that got wiped from the original disc for legal reasons). Now the label has finally upgraded the band's 1990 box set with this four-CD, ninety-nine-track release. There Is a Season draws mostly on the Nineties CDs but also includes five previously unreleased live tracks. There is, in addition, a fifth disc, a twenty-six-minute DVD -- and it's dated in a way that the Byrds' music isn't. In ten vintage clips, you can groove to artifacts of the era: Roger McGuinn's granny glasses, lots of shimmying go-go dancers and, most improbably, a young, skinny David Crosby.


(Posted: Oct 17, 2006)

Anonymous said...

Who are you gonna believe, Rolling Stone or this guy?

Alan De-Mulletized said...

More times than not, the person who started this blog is spot on. More times than not, Rolling Stone has gotten it wrong. I'm going with this guy.
Why is it that the ones with such strong opinions never leave a profile name?

I do know this, the Byrds did start the poser look, aahh, LA land of wannabes.

Alan Dumb-Mulletized said...

Yeah Right, you're really smart to leave your name on this STUPID blog ... NOT!

Alan De-Mulletized said...

I see the adults have let little Jimmy play with the puter again. Time for bed Timmy, finish your cookies and milk like a good little brat and off to bed with your teddy....