Roger McGuinn

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Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn - Natick, MA (2011).jpg
McGuinn performing in 2011
Background information
Birth nameJames Joseph McGuinn III
Also known asJames Roger McGuinn (full name)
Jim McQuinn
Born (1942-07-13) July 13, 1942 (age 78)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments
  • Guitar
  • vocals
  • banjo
Years active1960–present
Labels Columbia
Associated acts The Byrds, The Chad Mitchell Trio
Website ibiblio.org/jimmy/mcguinn/index.html

James Roger McGuinn /məˈɡwɪn/ (born James Joseph McGuinn III; July 13, 1942) [1] is an American musician. He is best known for being the frontman and leader of the Byrds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the Byrds.

Contents

Early life

McGuinn was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, United States. [2] His parents, James and Dorothy, were involved in journalism and public relations, and during his childhood, they had written a bestseller titled Parents Can't Win. He attended the Latin School of Chicago. He became interested in music after hearing Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", and asked his parents to buy a guitar for him. (During the early 1980s, he paid tribute to the song that encouraged him to play guitar by including "Heartbreak Hotel" in his autobiographical show). Around the same time, he was also influenced by country artists and/or groups such as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, and the Everly Brothers.

In 1957, he enrolled as a student at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, [3] where he learned the five-string banjo and continued to improve his guitar skills. After graduation, McGuinn performed solo at various coffeehouses on the folk music circuit where he was hired as a sideman by the Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Judy Collins and other folk music artists in the same vein. He also played guitar and sang backup harmonies for Bobby Darin. Soon after, he relocated to the West Coast, eventually Los Angeles, where he eventually met the future members of the Byrds. [3]

In 1962, after he ended his association with the Chad Mitchell Trio, McGuinn was hired by Darin to be a backup guitarist and harmony singer; at that approximate time, Darin wanted to add some folk roots to his repertoire because it was a burgeoning musical field. About a year and a half after McGuinn began to play guitar and sing with Darin, Darin became ill and retired from singing. Subsequently, Darin opened T.M. Music in New York City's Brill Building, hiring McGuinn as a songwriter for $35 a week.

During 1963, just one year before he co-founded the Byrds, McGuinn worked as a studio musician in New York, recording with Judy Collins and Simon & Garfunkel. At the same time, he was hearing about The Beatles (whose first American tour would commence in February 1964), and wondering how Beatlemania might affect folk music. By the time Doug Weston gave McGuinn a job at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles, McGuinn had included Beatles' songs in his act. He gave rock style treatments to traditional folk tunes and thereby caught the attention of another folkie Beatle fan, Gene Clark, who joined forces with McGuinn in July 1964. Together they formed the beginning of what was to become the Byrds. [3]

The Byrds

During his time with the Byrds, McGuinn developed two innovative and very influential styles of electric guitar playing. The first was "jingle-jangle" – generating ringing arpeggios based on banjo finger picking styles he learned while at the Old Town School of Folk – which was influential in the folk rock genre. The second style was a merging of saxophonist John Coltrane's free-jazz atonalities, which hinted at the droning of the sitar – a style of playing, first heard on the Byrds' 1966 single "Eight Miles High", which was influential in psychedelic rock.

McGuinn with the Byrds at a concert held at Washington University in St. Louis (September 1972) Roger MdGuinn in 1972-by Dan Volonnino.jpg
McGuinn with the Byrds at a concert held at Washington University in St. Louis (September 1972)

While "tracking" the Byrds' first single, "Mr. Tambourine Man", at Columbia studios, McGuinn discovered an important component of his style. "The 'Ric' [ 12 string Rickenbacker guitar ] by itself is kind of thuddy," he notes. "It doesn't ring. But if you add a compressor, you get that long sustain. To be honest, I found this by accident. The engineer, Ray Gerhardt, would run compressors on everything to protect his precious equipment from loud rock and roll. He compressed the heck out of my 12-string, and it sounded so great we decided to use two tube compressors (likely Teletronix LA-2As) in series, and then go directly into the board. That's how I got my 'jingle-jangle' tone. It's really squashed down, but it jumps out from the radio. With compression, I found I could hold a note for three or four seconds, and sound more like a wind instrument. Later, this led me to emulate John Coltrane's saxophone on "Eight Miles High". Without compression, I couldn't have sustained the riff's first note." [4]

"I practiced eight hours a day on that 'Ric,'" he continues, "I really worked it. In those days, acoustic 12s had wide necks and thick strings that were spaced pretty far apart, so they were hard to play. But the Rick's slim neck and low action let me explore jazz and blues scales up and down the fretboard, and incorporate more hammer-ons and pull-offs into my solos. I also translated some of my banjo picking techniques to the 12-string. By combining a flat pick with metal finger picks on my middle and ring fingers, I discovered I could instantly switch from fast single-note runs to banjo rolls and get the best of both worlds." [5]

Another sound that McGuinn developed is made by playing a seven string guitar, featuring a doubled G-string (with the second string tuned an octave higher). The C. F. Martin guitar company has even released a special edition called the HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition, that claims to capture McGuinn's "jingle-jangle" tone which he created with 12 string guitars, while maintaining the ease of playing a 6-string guitar.

The Byrds recorded several albums after Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965. The single, "Turn! Turn! Turn!", written by Pete Seeger with the lyrics drawn from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, was the Byrds' second Number One success in late 1965. In 1969, McGuinn's solo version of the "Ballad of Easy Rider" appeared in the film Easy Rider , while a full band version was the title track for the album released later that year. McGuinn also performed a cover of Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" for the Easy Rider soundtrack. 1970's Untitled album featured a 16-minute version of the Byrds' 1966 hit "Eight Miles High", with all four members taking extended solos representative of their "jam-band" style of playing during that period. [6]

In 1968, McGuinn helped create the groundbreaking album Sweetheart of the Rodeo , to which many attribute the rise in popularity of country rock. McGuinn originally conceived the album as a blend of rock, jazz, folk and other styles; but Gram Parsons's and Chris Hillman's bluegrass-western-country influences came to the forefront.

Post-Byrds

After the break-up of the Byrds, McGuinn released several solo albums throughout the 1970s. [2] In 1973 he collaborated with Bob Dylan on songs for the sound track of the Sam Peckinpah movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid including "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". He toured with Bob Dylan in 1975 and 1976 as part of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, cancelling a planned tour of his own in order to participate. In late 1975, he played guitar on the track titled "Ride the Water" on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll all-star album.

In 1977, he released an LP titled Thunderbyrd , which was also the name of his contemporaneous band. Other members included future John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito, future Poco bassist Charlie Harrison and drummer Greg Thomas.

In 1977, McGuinn joined fellow ex-Byrds Gene Clark and Chris Hillman to form McGuinn, Clark & Hillman. The trio recorded an album with Capitol Records in 1979. They performed on many TV rock shows, including repeated performances on The Midnight Special , where they played both new material and Byrds hits. McGuinn's "Don't You Write Her Off" reached #33 in April 1979. While some believe that the slick production and disco rhythms didn't flatter the group, it sold well enough to generate a follow up. McGuinn, Clark and Hillman's second release was to have been a full group effort entitled "City", but a combination of Clark's unreliability and drug problems resulted in the billing change on their next LP City to "Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, featuring Gene Clark."

Since 1981, McGuinn has regularly toured (primarily playing clubs and small theaters) as a solo singer-guitarist. [7]

In 1987 Roger McGuinn was the opening act for Dylan and Tom Petty. In 1991, he released his comeback solo album, Back from Rio , to successful acclaim. It included the hit single "King of the Hill," written together with, and featuring, Petty.

On July 11, 2000, McGuinn testified before in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on downloading music from the Internet that artists do not always receive the royalties that (non-Internet based) record companies state in contracts, and that to date, the Byrds had not received any royalties for their greatest successes, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" – they only received advances, which were split five ways and were just "a few thousand dollars" per band member. He also stated that he was receiving 50 percent royalties from MP3.com. [8]

He was also part of an author/musician band, Rock Bottom Remainders, a group of published writers doubling as musicians to raise proceeds for literacy charities. In July 2013, McGuinn co-authored an interactive ebook, Hard Listening, with the rest of the group. [9]

Folk Den

Roger McGuinn has used the Internet to continue the folk music tradition since November 1995 by recording a different folk song each month on his Folk Den site. The songs are made available from his Web site, and a selection (with guest vocalists) was released on CD as Treasures from the Folk Den, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002 for Best Traditional Folk Album. In November 2005, McGuinn released a four-CD box set containing one hundred of his favorite songs from the Folk Den. [10]

Personal life

When he originally started with the Byrds, he used the name Jim, which he thought to be too plain. McGuinn became involved in the Subud spiritual association in 1965 and began to practice the latihan, an exercise in quieting the mind. He changed his name in 1967 [11] after Subud's founder Bapak told him it would better "vibrate with the universe." Bapak sent the letter "R" to Jim and asked him to send back ten names starting with that letter. Owing to a fascination with airplanes, gadgets and science fiction, he sent names like "Rocket", "Retro", "Ramjet", and "Roger", the latter a term used in signalling protocol over two-way radios, military and civil aviation. Roger was the only "real" name in the bunch and Bapak chose it. While using the name Roger professionally from that time on, McGuinn only officially changed his middle name from Joseph to Roger.

McGuinn married Susan Bedrick in 1963; however, the marriage was subsequently annulled. From December 1966 to November 1971, he was married to Dolores DeLeon. A fellow adherent of Subud, DeLeon changed her name to Ianthe in 1967 before reverting to her original name after the dissolution of their marriage. With DeLeon, McGuinn fathered two sons, including filmmaker Patrick McGuinn. Immediately following their divorce, McGuinn was married for a third time to Linda Gilbert in November 1971; this marriage also ended in divorce in June 1975. [12]

McGuinn left Subud in 1977, the same year that he met his fourth and current wife and business manager, Camilla; they married in April 1978. Since that time, the McGuinns have practiced evangelical Christianity. [13] [14]

A registered member of the Republican Party, McGuinn donated $2,000 to the Ben Carson presidential campaign in 2015 and refused to endorse Donald Trump. [15] [16] [17] He also opposed Florida Amendment 1 (2016) (an initiative pertaining to the solar energy industry, of which McGuinn is a longtime advocate) and endorsed Florida Amendment 2 (2016) (a medical marijuana legalization initiative). [18]

Discography

Studio albums

Folk Den Project

Live albums and compilations

Collaborations

McGuinn appears on Willie Nile's 1991 Places I Have Never Been album. McGuinn also appears on the 1994 Arthur Alexander tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander, performing a cover version of "Anna (Go to Him)". He contributed two tracks, "Banjo Cantata" and "Ramblin' On", to a compilation of banjo pieces released by Davon as Banjo Greats (Volumes 1 & 2), re-issued on CD by Tradition in 1996 as Banjo Jamboree. He has also performed the songs "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and "Ballad of Easy Rider" which were included on the soundtrack of the film Easy Rider . Another soundtrack that features McGuinn is the 1977 film Ransom. McGuinn performed "Shoot 'Em" which appears on the anthology album Byrd Parts 2, released on Australia's Raven Records label in 2003. McGuinn also appears with Bruce Springsteen on the live download "Magic Tour Highlights (Live)" singing "Turn! Turn! Turn!" He also did guitar work in The Beach Boys' version of "California Dreaming" video. McGuinn contributed 12 string electric and harmonies to Will Dailey's track "Peace of Mind" from Torrent, Volume 1: Fashion of Distraction .

Singles

YearSingleChart positionsAlbum
US MSR US Country CAN Country
1989"You Ain't Going Nowhere"
(w/ Chris Hillman)
611 Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two
(Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album)
1991"King of the Hill"2Back from Rio
"Someone to Love"12

Related Research Articles

The Byrds American rock band

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.

Gene Clark American singer-songwriter

Harold Eugene "Gene" Clark was an American singer-songwriter and founding member of the folk rock band the Byrds. He was the Byrds' principal songwriter between 1964 and early 1966, writing most of the band's best-known originals from this period, including "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "She Don't Care About Time", "Eight Miles High" and "Set You Free This Time". Although he did not achieve commercial success as a solo artist, Clark was in the vanguard of popular music during much of his career, prefiguring developments in such disparate subgenres as psychedelic rock, baroque pop, newgrass, country rock, and alternative country.

Chris Hillman American musician

Christopher Hillman is an American musician. He was the original bassist and one of the original members of The Byrds, which in 1965 included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby and Michael Clarke. With frequent collaborator Gram Parsons, Hillman was a key figure in the development of country rock, defining the genre through his work with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas and the country-rock group The Desert Rose Band.

Clarence White

Clarence White, was an American bluegrass and country guitarist and singer. He is best known as a member of the bluegrass ensemble the Kentucky Colonels and the rock band the Byrds, as well as for being a pioneer of the musical genre of country rock during the late 1960s.

<i>Mr. Tambourine Man</i> (album) 1965 studio album by The Byrds

Mr. Tambourine Man is the debut studio album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released on June 21, 1965 by Columbia Records. The album, which is characterized by the Byrds' signature sound of Jim McGuinn's 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and their complex harmony singing, consists mostly of covers of folk songs, mainly composed by Bob Dylan, and originals written or co-written by singer Gene Clark. Along with the Dylan-penned single of the same name, Mr. Tambourine Man established the band as an internationally successful act and is widely regarded by critics as representing the first effective American challenge to the chart dominance of the Beatles and other British Invasion bands during the mid-1960s.

<i>The Notorious Byrd Brothers</i> 1968 studio album by The Byrds

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-‘60s 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.

<i>Turn! Turn! Turn!</i> (album) 1965 studio album by The Byrds

Turn! Turn! Turn! is the second album by the folk rock band the Byrds and was released in December 1965 on Columbia Records. Like its predecessor, Mr. Tambourine Man, the album epitomized the folk rock genre and continued the band's successful mix of vocal harmony and jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar. The album's lead single and title track, "Turn! Turn! Turn!", is a Pete Seeger adaptation of text from the Book of Ecclesiastes that had previously been arranged in a chamber-folk style by the band's lead guitarist Jim McGuinn, while working with folksinger Judy Collins. The arrangement that McGuinn used for the Byrds' version utilizes the same folk rock style as the band's previous hit singles.

<i>Fifth Dimension</i> (album) 1966 studio album by The Byrds

Fifth Dimension is the third album by the American folk rock band the Byrds and was released in July 1966 on Columbia Records. Most of the album was recorded following the February 1966 departure of the band's principal songwriter Gene Clark. In an attempt to compensate for Clark's absence, guitarists Jim McGuinn and David Crosby stepped into the breach and increased their songwriting output. In spite of this, the loss of Clark resulted in an album with a total of four cover versions and an instrumental, which critics have described as "wildly uneven" and "awkward and scattered". However, the album is notable for being the first by the Byrds not to include any songs written by Bob Dylan, whose material had previously been a mainstay of the band's repertoire.

<i>Byrds</i> (album) 1973 studio album by The Byrds

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.

<i>The Byrds</i> (box set) 1990 box set by The Byrds

The Byrds is a four-CD box set by the American rock band the Byrds. It features music that had previously been released between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, along with a number of previously unreleased tracks and some new recordings from 1990. The box set was issued on October 19, 1990 by Columbia/Legacy and reached number 151 on the Billboard albums chart.

<i>Live at the Fillmore – February 1969</i> 2000 live album by The Byrds

Live at the Fillmore — February 1969 is a live album released by the American rock band the Byrds in 2000 on Columbia/Legacy. Compiled from two performances at the Fillmore West on February 7 and 8, 1969, the album includes several songs that are not found on any of the group's studio albums.

"Turn! Turn! Turn!", or "Turn! Turn! Turn! ", is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s and first recorded in 1959. The lyrics – except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines – consist of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song was originally released in 1962 as "To Everything There Is a Season" on folk group the Limeliters' album Folk Matinee, and then some months later on Seeger's own The Bitter and the Sweet.

<i>There Is a Season</i> 2006 box set by The Byrds

There Is a Season is a four-CD and one DVD box set by the American rock band The Byrds that was released on September 26, 2006 by Columbia/Legacy. It comprises 99 tracks and includes material from every one of the band's twelve studio albums, presented in roughly chronological order. The bonus DVD features ten clips of the Byrds lip-synching their hits on television programs between 1965 and 1967. Upon release, the box set failed to reach the Billboard 200 chart or the UK Albums Chart. There Is a Season supplants the band's earlier box set, The Byrds, which was released in October 1990.

<i>Born to Rock and Roll</i> 1991 compilation album by Roger McGuinn

Born to Rock and Roll is a compilation album by the ex-Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn, released on Columbia Records in August 1991. It was issued following the success of McGuinn's comeback solo album Back from Rio earlier that same year. Born to Rock and Roll contains songs from all five of McGuinn's solo albums of the 1970s, released after the final breakup of The Byrds in 1973. It was the first time that material from these albums had been released on Compact Disc.

<i>Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971</i> 2008 live album by The Byrds

Live at Royal Albert Hall is a live album by the American rock band the Byrds, released in 2008 on Sundazed Records. The album consists of recordings from the band's appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on May 13, 1971. Although the tapes had been in lead guitarist Roger McGuinn's possession since the concert took place, the album represents the first official release of all tracks. In addition to the regular CD release, Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 was also released as a double album vinyl LP.

<i>History of The Byrds</i> 1973 greatest hits album by The Byrds

History of The Byrds is a double album compilation by the American rock band the Byrds and was released on May 18, 1973 by CBS Records. The compilation was released exclusively in Europe and the UK, peaking at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart, but it was also available in the United States as an import.

<i>Never Before</i> (The Byrds album) 1987 compilation album by The Byrds

Never Before is a compilation album by the American rock band the Byrds, consisting of previously unreleased outtakes, alternate versions, and rarities. It was initially released by Re-Flyte Records in December 1987 and was subsequently reissued on CD in 1989, with an additional seven bonus tracks.

<i>In the Beginning</i> (The Byrds album) 1988 compilation album by The Byrds

In the Beginning is a compilation album by the American folk rock band the Byrds and was released in August 1988 by Rhino Records. It features demo recordings made during 1964, before the band became famous.

McGuinn, Clark & 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 Dont Care About Time 1965 single by The Byrds

"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 Gene Clark, the Byrds' main songwriter between 1964 and early 1966. "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.

References

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  3. 1 2 3 "Roger McGuinn". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  4. Bob Mehr (February 14, 2009). "Byrds' Roger McGuinn gets to root of his music passion at folk conference". Space Times News. cripps Interactive Newspapers Group. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
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  6. "The Byrds Biography". The Inductess: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  7. "Roger McGuinn tour dates, 1981-present". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  8. "Transcript – Lars Ulrich, Roger McGuinn Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee on Downloading Music on the Internet – July 11, 2000". Cable News Network. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  9. "Hard Listening - Coming June 18th 2013". Rockbottomremainders.com. June 18, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  10. Swift, Glenn R. (December 2008). "On Stage: Roger McGuinn" (PDF). PBG Lifestyle Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 17, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  11. Fricke, David (August 23, 1990). "Roger McGuinn". Rolling Stone . Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  12. "Roger McGuinn : Biography". IMDb.com. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  13. Moring, Mark (January 6, 2004). "No Ordinary Folk". Christianity Today . Christianity Today International. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  14. "A Different Calling". blue cloud abbey. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  15. "Roger McGuinn on Twitter: "I don't like Trump."". Twitter. September 20, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Roger McGuinn on Twitter: "Vote yes on Prop. 2 and No on Prop 1 "". Twitter. October 18, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2017.