Johnny Rogan is an author of Irish descent best known for his books about music and popular culture. He has written influential biographies of the Byrds, Neil Young, the Smiths, Van Morrison and Ray Davies. His writing is characterised by "an almost neurotic attention to detail", epic length (the first volume of Requiem for the Timeless is more than 1,200 pages long) and a curiously ambivalent, sometimes positive/sometimes hostile response from the subjects of his biographies.
Rogan's first publications were in the late 70s with writings on West Coast American music.Rogan spent his early childhood in the Pimlico area of London. His parents emigrated to London from Waterford (Ireland) in 1943. He is a cousin of the actor John Rogan. Rogan's adolescence during the 'Swinging 60s' was vividly captured in the chapter 'The Ghost of Electricity' from his book Timeless Flight Revisited. There was no mention at all of his tragic family history which included his father (fatal heart attack, late 50s), brother (drowned), sister (fatal brain haemorrhage) and mother (emaciation), among other fatalities.
Rogan attended St Vincents, RC, and Pimlico School and spent the entire 70s as a student, obtaining his first degree in English Language & Literature at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after which he completed an MA at Acadia University in Canada, specialising in Spenser's The Faerie Queene .This was followed by postgraduate study at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
His first book Timeless Flight, an acclaimed biography of The Byrds was published when he was still a student at Oxford's Lady Margaret Hall. This work was subsequently rewritten as the 700-page plus volume, Timeless Flight Revisited.The work won considerable acclaim, including biography of the year in Record Collector , in which it was described as "One of the best biographies ever written...Expansive enough to rival War And Peace , Johnny Rogan's definitive Byrds biography comes close to matching the emotional, if not geographical, range of Tolstoy's epic novel. One of the achievements of Timeless Flight Revisited is the way in which it matches its narrative flair with the incisiveness of its critical comment... But it's the narrative drive that makes the book so extraordinary. With its detailed research and fascinating interview material, Timeless Flight Revisited is a compelling portrait of collective turmoil, peopled by characters who win our sympathy at the same time as they earn our disbelief." Similar accolades were forthcoming from Billboard , Time Out and Q Magazine ("This is, at least, the best biography of a group ever written"). Unusually, the book has been revised extensively in every decade since its original appearance.
Rogan went on to write more than 20 other books, mainly in the field of music and popular culture. These included epic biographies of Neil Young (Zero To Sixty) and Van Morrison, plus work on John Lennon, The Kinks, Wham!/George Michael (Virgin Yearbook "Book of the Year"), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Smiths. Neil Young is quoted praising Rogan's work on the back of the biography along with a five-star review from Uncut and several other prominent music publications.
The best-selling Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance attracted considerable attention not least from Morrissey who famously said: "Personally I hope Johnny Rogan ends his days very soon in an M3 pile-up."The comment was made prior to the book's publication and Morrissey claimed he had yet to see a copy of any of its contents. Not long afterwards Morrissey expressed a desire that the author should die in a hotel fire. However, in 1996 Morrissey testified under cross examination that he had not read the book, only "bits of it". He also testified that comparing some items of witness statements in relation to facts contained in the book that the 'book is correct'; he and Rogan also spoke about various matters at the High Court during a recess. The Severed Alliance has remained in print without interruption since first publication in 1992 and frequently appears in listings of all-time great music biographies. Rogan continues to write extensively about Morrissey, most recently with 2006's Morrissey: The Albums.
Rogan has written two major biographies of Van Morrison and the acknowledgement page of VM: No Surrender states: "This book has probably had the longest gestation of any I have written." (20 years). However, this is likely to be eclipsed by Rogan's continuing work on the careers of the Byrds and Neil Young. Morrison on his part is quoted on the 'Dedication Page', saying: "Rogan's got something to hide. What's he hiding? I'd like to do a book on him." However, this quote actually emanates from an interview in 1984. No Surrender featured in The Sunday Times Top 10 books of the year and also featured for two consecutive years in hardback and paperback in Mojo's music books of the year. Among the many favourable press notices attached to the paperback edition was an extravagant review concluding: "Van Morrison: No Surrender is the best book about popular culture written about any Irishman living or dead, and it's certainly the best social history of Belfast in the mid-60s ever written."
Rogan has also written lengthy studies of football management and pop management (Starmakers & Svengalis), the latter of which was adapted for a BBC series. He has also contributed to numerous television documentaries, DVDs and anthologies, including Oxford Originals a collection of writings from authors, including Rogan, who studied at Lady Margaret Hall.
Rogan is known for his eccentricity. While working on a book, he once spent one year in isolation without speaking to another human-being.
In December 2011, Byrds: Requiem For The Timeless was published. Time Out's lead review noted: "Building on the brick-like Timeless Flight Revisited, Rogan has now collated everything he knows and everything even the staunchest psych-rock aficionado will ever want to know about the group. Rogan's insight is, as ever, razor-keen, and the book is crammed with hilarious anecdotes and brilliant deconstructions of the music. Requiem For The Timeless may yet prove to be one of the key works of rock journalism – it's certainly set to be the definitive book on the Byrds."
In the summer of 2012, Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance – The 20th Anniversary Edition, an expanded and rewritten version of the original was released.
Rogan’s 750-page biography Ray Davies: A Complicated Life was published in March 2015, with a revised paperback following one year later. According to the London Times: “Ray Davies is an eccentric, singular artist, but does anyone need to read more than 700 pages on him? Rogan, an obsessive, has form with this kind of thing. This makes for a lot to wade through but Rogan’s strength is in his dispassionate approach. He’s not in awe of Davies, nor does he have an axe to grind. Speaking to former wives and managers, band members, brother Dave and [Ray] Davies himself, he gives as definitive a view of the man as anyone could hope for.”
In August 2017, Byrds: Requiem For The Timeless, Volume 2 was issued. Both Mojo and Record Collector awarded the book a maximum five stars, the former concluding: “Rogan’s dogged devotion, evocative descriptions and eternal quest for truth behind the myths shines from each of its 1,200 pages to create an essential companion to Volume 1.”
The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although their time as one of the most popular groups in the world only lasted for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be among the most influential rock acts of their era. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential.
"My Back Pages" is a song written by Bob Dylan and included on his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan. It is stylistically similar to his earlier folk protest songs and features Dylan's voice with an acoustic guitar accompaniment. However, its lyrics—in particular the refrain "Ah, but I was so much older then/I'm younger than that now"—have been interpreted as a rejection of Dylan's earlier personal and political idealism, illustrating his growing disillusionment with the 1960s' folk protest movement with which he was associated, and his desire to move in a new direction. Although Dylan wrote the song in 1964, he did not perform it live until 1988.
Younger Than Yesterday is the fourth album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released on February 6, 1967 on Columbia Records. It saw the band continuing to integrate elements of psychedelia and jazz into their music, a process they had begun on their previous album, Fifth Dimension. In addition, the album captured the band and record producer Gary Usher experimenting with new musical textures, including brass instruments, reverse tape effects and an electronic oscillator.
Ballad of Easy Rider is the eighth album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in November 1969 on Columbia Records. The album was named after the song "Ballad of Easy Rider", which had been written by the Byrds' guitarist and singer, Roger McGuinn, as the theme song for the 1969 film, Easy Rider. The title was also chosen in an attempt to capitalize on the commercial success of the film, although the majority of the music on the album had no connection with it. Nonetheless, the association with Easy Rider heightened the Byrds' public profile and resulted in Ballad of Easy Rider becoming the band's highest charting album for two years in the U.S.
The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the fifth album by the American rock band the Byrds, and was released in January 1968, on Columbia Records. The album represents the pinnacle of the Byrds' late-60's musical experimentation, with the band blending together elements of psychedelia, folk rock, country, electronic music, baroque pop, and jazz. With producer Gary Usher, they made extensive use of a number of studio effects and production techniques, including phasing, flanging, and spatial panning. The Byrds also introduced the sound of the pedal steel guitar and the Moog modular synthesizer into their music, making it one of the first LP releases on which the Moog appears.
"Chestnut Mare" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by Roger McGuinn and Jacques Levy during 1969 for a planned country rock musical named Gene Tryp. The musical was never staged and the song was instead released in September 1970 as part of the Byrds' (Untitled) album. It was later issued as a single, peaking at number 121 on the Billboard singles chart and number 19 on the UK Singles Chart.
The Byrds' Greatest Hits is the first greatest hits album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in August 1967 on Columbia Records. It is the top-selling album in the Byrds' catalogue and reached number 6 on the Billboard Top LPs chart, but failed to chart in the UK.
Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde is the seventh album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in March 1969 on Columbia Records. The album was produced by Bob Johnston and saw the band juxtaposing country rock material with psychedelic rock, giving the album a stylistic split-personality that was alluded to in its title. It was the first album to feature the new band line-up of Clarence White (guitar), Gene Parsons (drums), John York (bass), and founding member Roger McGuinn (guitar). Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde is unique within the band's discography for being the only album on which McGuinn sings the lead vocal on every track.
Byrds is the twelfth and final studio album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in March 1973 on Asylum Records. It was recorded as the centerpiece of a reunion among the five original band members: Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke. The last time that all five members had worked together as the Byrds was in 1966, prior to Clark's departure from the band. During the reunion, the current, latter-day lineup of the band continued to make live appearances until February 1973, with McGuinn being the only member common to both versions of the group.
Gene Victor Parsons is an American drummer, banjo player, guitarist, singer-songwriter, and engineer, best known for his work with the Byrds from 1968 to 1972. Parsons has also released solo albums and played in bands including Nashville West, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Parsons Green. Along with guitarist Clarence White, he is credited with inventing the B-Bender —a device which allows a guitarist to emulate the sound of a pedal steel guitar. The device is often referred to as the Parsons/White B-Bender, a trademarked name.
"5D " is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by band member Jim McGuinn. It was released as a single in June 1966, and also included as the title track on the Byrds' third album, Fifth Dimension.
"The Bells of Rhymney" is a song first recorded by folk singer Pete Seeger, which consists of Seeger's own music and words written by Welsh poet Idris Davies.
The Byrds were an American rock band that were formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964.
"It Won't Be Wrong" is a song by the American folk rock band the Byrds, which appeared as the second track on their 1965 album, Turn! Turn! Turn! It was also coupled with the song "Set You Free This Time" for a single release in 1966, resulting in "It Won't Be Wrong" charting at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Byrds band member Jim McGuinn and his friend Harvey Gerst in 1964.
"Mr. Spaceman" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds and was the third track on their 1966 album, Fifth Dimension. It was released as the third single from the album in September 1966, reaching number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, but failing to chart in the United Kingdom. Upon its release as a single, the music press coined the term "space-rock" to describe it, although since then, this term has come to refer to a genre of rock music originating from 1970s progressive and psychedelic music.
"Have You Seen Her Face" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by the group's bass player Chris Hillman and included on their 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday.
"Why" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by Jim McGuinn and David Crosby and first released as the B-side of the band's "Eight Miles High" single in March 1966. The song was re-recorded in December 1966 and released for a second time as part of the band's Younger Than Yesterday album.
Kevin Daniel Kelley was an American drummer, best known for his work with the rock bands the Byrds and the Rising Sons. Kelley also played drums for Fever Tree, although it is unknown whether he was an official member of the group or not. Kelley is the cousin of country rock pioneer and ex-member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Hillman.
McGuinn, Clark & Hillman were an American rock supergroup consisting of Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman, who were all former members of the band the Byrds. The supergroup formed in 1977 and was partly modeled after Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and, to a lesser extent, the Eagles. They were reasonably successful commercially in the United States, with their debut album reaching number 39 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart and the single "Don't You Write Her Off" reaching number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"She Don't Care About Time" is a song by American folk rock band The Byrds released on October 29, 1965 as the B-side of Turn! Turn! Turn!. The song was written by The Byrds' main songwriter between 1964 and early 1966, Gene Clark. "She Don't Care About Time" was recorded during sessions for the group's second album Turn! Turn! Turn!. The song is on most of the band's hits compilations.