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Byrds, The

Entry updated 29 April 2024. Tagged: Music.

The celebrated US pop group, formed in Los Angeles in 1964, recorded their most enduring music in the 1960s and are often associated with the hippy and psychedelic aspects of that decade, although their music owes as much to Country and Folk traditions. Founded by Roger McGuinn (1942-    ), David Crosby (1941-    ), Chris Hillman (1944-    ), Gene Clark (1944-1991) and Michael Clarke (1946-1993), the group began by playing in a pastiche-Beatles idiom, but quickly developed a strong pop style of their own. Sf songs are relatively rare but nevertheless significant elements of the Byrds discography, most notably the likeable country-rock "Mr Spaceman" (in Fifth Dimension, 1966), in which an extraterrestrial visitor is enthusiastically greeted, and "C.T.A. 102" (in Younger Than Yesterday, 1967) which attractively embroiders the rather conventional notion that "life on other planets might exist". The song "Space Odyssey" (the final track of The Notorious Byrd Brothers, 1968) uses electronic synthesizers in an adaptation of Arthur C Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" (Spring 1951 10 Story Fantasy as "Sentinel of Eternity"; vt in Expedition to Earth, coll 1953). The song was written in the hopes that Stanley Kubrick would include it on the soundtrack to his 2001: A Space Odyssey film; something the filmmaker elected not to do. Despite its title, Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde (1969) has nothing to do either with Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, or sf more generally, although the erotic hippy pantheism of "Child of the Universe" might be claimed as of at least marginal genre interest. [AR]


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