8 April 2012
336 pages, Jawbone Press 2008
"The Byrds" were one of Rock's most influential bands. Having virtually invented "Folk-Rock" they went on to pioneer Psychedelia and "Country Rock", and were also the first Rock band to use synthesizers.
"So You Want To Be A Rock'n'Roll Star" is the day-by-day story of "The Byrds", from their formation and breakthrough hit in 1965 to the brief re-union of the band's original line-up in 1972/1973.
In 1965 "The Byrds" had a worldwide smash with "Bob Dylan"'s "Mr. Tambourine Man", opened for "The Rolling Stones" in the US, hung out with "The Beatles", undertook a disastrous tour of Great Britain, and capped the year with a second US chart-topper "Turn! Turn! Turn!".
In 1972 the original line-up re-united just for recording purposes, while a different touring Byrds played a final concert in February 1973.
In-between times they released the groundbreaking "Eight Miles High" single and a clutch of classic albums, enduring regular line-up changes that would have been the end of most bands but, in "The Byrds" case, fuelled leader "Roger McGuinn"'s innate capacity for reinvention.
Their influence can still be heard, in the chiming Rickenbackers and harmonies of REM and "Tom Petty", and just about every alt. Country and Americana act on the scene.
"Christopher Hjort" is a Rock historian who combines a love for popular music with an interest in typography and graphic design.