Roger McGuinn

Those glasses and Rickenbacker equals the sixties rock band. One of my favorite guitar players ever. I loved the jangling 12 string Rickenbacker that McGuinn is famous for… Roger heard George Harrison use one and then McGuinn took it to a new level in songs like Eight Miles High.

I was lucky to see him solo in 1987. He will not rip into a Hendrix solo but the sound he gets out of his 12 string Rickenbacker is great. On the songs, he did only on his 12-string acoustic he makes them sound full without a band.

His sound is the sound of the mid-sixties. He was a founder of the Byrds and was with them through all of their incarnations. The jangly pop, country rock, and the more rock music jamming faze in the early seventies.

The Byrds started in 1964 and lasted until 1973. McGuinn was the only member to remain with the band the entire run. Personally, I like all of the phases of the band. The last phase is probably the least well known but with Clarence White playing guitar with his B-Bender was fantastic. Songs like “Lover of the Bayou,”” Ballad of Easy Rider,” and “Chestnut Mare” are memorable.

McGuinn also collaborated with Bob Dylan on the soundtrack “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and joined Bob in the mid-seventies on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

The Byrds influenced many artists like Elvis Costello, The La’s, Wilco, REM, and The Jayhawks but the one I think of the most is Tom Petty. Tom helped revive the jangly sound in the seventies with American Girl which sounded very close to McGuinn. This is Roger talking in 2014:

“When I heard ‘American Girl’ for the first time I said, ‘when did I record that?’ I was kidding but the vocal style sounded just like me and then there was the Rickenbacker guitar, which I used. The vocal inflections were just like mine. I was told that a guy from Florida named Tom Petty wrote and sings the song, and I said that I had to meet him.

Roger invited Tom to open up for him in 1976 and they were friends after that. Roger released an album in 1991 titled “Back To Rio” with help from Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and others.

His solo career was never too successful until 1989 with a country hit “You Aint Going Nowhere” that made it to number 6 in the Country Charts. That was ironic after being told by Nashville disc Jockey Ralph Emery in 1968 that the song wasn’t country when the Byrds covered it. In 1991 he had his most commercial album “Back To Rio” that made it to #44 on the Billboard Charts and two singles “King of the Hill”#2 and “Someone To Love”#12.

Roger, Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart are currently doing a small tour for the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo…I see the Ryman on there and I see me there.




Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “Roger McGuinn”

  1. The Byrd’s were great and I don’t know if they get the appreciation they deserve. I was thinking a little this morning on why that is- and I think it is because of the ever changing membership in the band. I have the two Byrd box sets and then ended up downloading all their albums– and I would probably fail a quiz on who came and went during what album etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is probably like you said about the ever changing lineup. McGuinn is the only mainstay. In the past year I really started to listen to the 69-73 songs…I really like it… Clarence White was a great guitar player. They influenced a lot of people especially early on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. another thing that went with the changes etc- no big reunion tours keeping their name out there. Yes I agree they were good from beginning to end…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They were different but good… You are right no reunions hardly at all. They were hurt in the UK at first with that “American Beatles” label…just like all the new “Dylans.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great topic. Roger is such a talented artist with great stories from being right in the middle of the scene when music history was being made. That will be something special, seeing him and Hillman together, and with Marty Stuart, at the Ryman. I’ll look forward to reading your report on the show. I’ve seen Roger’s solo show twice–2011 and 2014. So, I too can now say I’ve sung Turn, Turn, Turn with Roger McGuinn (and the rest of the audience). I still get emotional remembering it. This version of his solo show was just him on stage with his guitars. I think he and his wife were the ‘roadies’. He ran his own merch table after the show. I wonder how different it was from his solo show you saw in 87.

    PS I loved the Byrds’ music before they went western. I didn’t care for the western sound, but still, that Ralph Emery interview was appalling and cruel. I haven’t been able to stomach anything from Emery since hearing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve told guitar players that he was my favorite and I mean it. When he did Eight Miles High it was incredible.
      I read that about him and his wife. That is an awesome way to do it. I also love the jangly sound also… That was Gram Parson’s influence to go country I’m sure. I like things like “You Aint Going Nowhere” but yea his early sound is great…I’m looking forward to going.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to it… I’m not a country fan but the Ryman is a great place to see concerts. I’ve seen Dylan, Van Morrison and Ringo there. Not a bad seat in the place.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I’m not a typical southerner. I don’t like Nascar, modern country music or football much…but Nashville is a friendly city and I do enjoy it….a big small city.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m excited also… If you remember tell me how it went…Marty Stuart is awesome. I’ve seen Dylan a few times and he has joined him for the complete show a couple of times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So the show at the Ace Hotel in LA was last night, and not surprisingly it was fantastic. Both Roger and, especially, Chris we’re in fine voice. And Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives are jaw droppingly tight and impossibly perfect. And if you weren’t aware, Marty plays Clarence White’s original b-bender Telecaster. Great!
        They opened with a 45 minute set of non- Sweetheart tunes. After a 15 minute intermission they came back with Marty & the FS performing a couple of their own leading into the Sweetheart tribute. Lots of stories from Chris and Roger.
        Everything up to this point was well reheased and tight, perfect harmonies, perfect arrangements.
        After Sweetheart they got into the under-rehearsed portion. As it was the 1st show of the series it’s fair to give them a lot of leverage here. Not that is was bad, it was fantastic. Mike Campbell came onstage and performed American Girl with Roger singing. They also played, w/out Mike, Wildflowers and Running Down a Dream in tribute to Tom, all 3 Petty tuned seemed like a surprise to Marty and the fellas but they’re skilled enough to play anything anytime and pull it off expertly. Then they rapped up with Turn Turn Turn.
        Wonderful show.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds so great… thanks so much for the info… that makes me want to see it even more… I don’t expect Mike here of course but that is cool of them doing that for Tom.


    1. Oh that is my dream guitar. I have a collection of guitars and I need to take the plunge one day… When I was younger and couldn’t afford the Rickenbacker I ended up getting a more affordable Danelectro electric 12 string…I still have it and with a few modifications it sounds really close…but a Rick is a Rick…
      I’ve always liked his style. That is a cool item you got signed…just perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I actually had the rare 12 string/6 string convertible. Sold it for $275 in the 80’s when 12 strings were out of style. Just found one online for $11,000. Feeling kinda foolish.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah man. I’ve never played one of those even at a music shop…not the 12/6 kind.
        In the eighties a lot of good things were out of fashion…I sold my 66 mustang for less than a 1000….it was my first car in 1983…bought it for under a thousand. I didn’t know what I had.

        Liked by 1 person

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