Roger McGuinn life and biography

Roger McGuinn picture, image, poster

Roger McGuinn biography

Date of birth : 1942-07-13
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Chicago, Illinois,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2022-07-13
Credited as : singer-songwriter, guitarist, The Byrds band

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James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with The Byrds.

McGuinn, however, had changed. Like many of his peers in 1963, he began to re-examine his commitment to folk music in the wake of the Beatles' success. He continued to play acoustic music but adapted a rock beat and began to search for like-minded musicians. He formed a duo with former New Christy Minstrel Gene Clark, and later they added David Crosby. Calling themselves the Jet Set, they quickly supplemented their lineup with drummer Michael Clarke and bassist Chris Hillman.

Still, something was missing from the acoustic group. This "missing" element was revealed when McGuinn saw George Harrison playing an electric, 12-string Rickenbacker in A Hard Day's Night. The band, briefly calling themselves the Beefeaters, combined their resources and bought a 12-string guitar and a bass, and by Thanksgiving 1964, the electrified group decided to call themselves the Byrds. In January of 1965, McGuinn cut a version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" with studio musicians at Columbia Records. When it became a hit six months later, the Byrds had arrived.

Between 1965 and 1973 McGuinn stood at the helm of the Byrds, forging new sounds and creating a series of groundbreaking albums. First dubbed folk-rock, the band also dabbled in psychedelic rock and pioneered country-rock. McGuinn changed his name from Jim to Roger after a short involvement with the Subud religion. Early albums like Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965 and Turn! Turn! Turn! in 1966 were noted for the close three-part harmony, Bob Dylan songs, and the ringing sound of McGuinn's 12-string Rickenbacker. The lineup of the band changed constantly. In 1968, with the addition of Gram Parsons, the band recorded Sweetheart of the Rodeo, drawing heavily from country music.

The 1970 album Untitled presents both live and studio material, including one of McGuinn's most beloved songs, "Chestnut Mare." While the Byrds seemed to run out of steam by the time they disbanded in 1973, their influence has continued to be immense. "The Byrds' innovations have echoed nearly as strongly through subsequent generations," wrote Richie Unterberger in All Music Guide, "in the work of Tom Petty, R.E.M., and innumerable alternative bands of the post-punk era that feature those jangling guitars and dense harmonies."

After the break-up of The Byrds, McGuinn released several solo albums throughout the 1970s. He toured with Bob Dylan in 1975 and 1976 as part of Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue". 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 1978, McGuinn joined fellow ex-Byrds Gene Clark and Chris Hillman to form "McGuinn, Clark and Hillman", and the three together recorded an album with Capitol Records in 1979. The media loved the band and they performed on many TV rock shows, including repeated performances on The Midnight Special, where they played both new material and Byrds hits. "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, and the album had mixed critically and commercial response, it sold 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 his dissatisfaction with their musical direction (mostly regarding Ron and Howard Albert's production) resulted in the billing change on their next LP "City" to "Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, featuring Gene Clark". By 1981 Clark had left and the group continued briefly as "McGuinn/Hillman".

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 by 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. McGuinn currently tours as a solo artist.

Roger McGuinn has used the World Wide Web 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.

-Roger McGuinn (1973)
-Peace on You (1974)
-Roger McGuinn & Band (1975)
-Cardiff Rose (1976)
-Thunderbyrd (1977)
-McGuinn, Clark & Hillman (1979) (with Gene Clark and Chris Hillman)
-City (1980) (with Chris Hillman, featuring Gene Clark)
-McGuinn - Hillman (1981) (with Chris Hillman)
-Back from Rio (1991)
-Born to Rock and Roll (1991) (compilation album)
-Live from Mars (1996)
-McGuinn's Folk Den, Volume 1 ( download and CD) (1999)
-McGuinn's Folk Den, Volume 2 ( download and CD) (1999)
-McGuinn's Folk Den, Volume 3 ( download and CD) (1999)
-McGuinn's Folk Den, Volume 4 ( download and CD) (2000)
-Treasures from the Folk Den (2001)
-In the Spirit of Love ( download and CD) (2002)
-The Sea: Songs by Roger McGuinn ( download and CD) (2003)
-Limited Edition (2004)
-Live At The XM Studios 05/27/2004 (download only) (2004)
-The Folk Den Project (2005)
-Live from Spain (2007)
-22 Timeless Tracks from the Folk Den Project (2008)
-CCD (2011)
-Sweet Memories (2018)
-Merry Christmas (2020)

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