Fifty years ago this month, the Byrds were truly in flight. Their first single and album, both titled "Mr. Tambourine Man," soared.
"Mr. Tambourine Man," a rearrangement of a Bob Dylan song (from 2/4 to 4/4 time) with Roger McGuinn (actually, Jim McGuinn at the time) singing lead vocals and playing his Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar, would top the charts both in the Unites States and the United Kingdom.
Time flies, and another anniversary important to McGuinn falls a little later this year. In November 1995, McGuinn began the Folk Den Project in which he records a traditional folk song each month and uploads it to his website, mcguinn.com.
In a 20-question Q&A for Oprah.com in 2010, McGuinn was asked how he would like to be remembered. His reply was, "As a folk singer and preserver of folk music."
McGuinn will be offering Byrds hits, folk songs and more when he brought his solo show "An Evening With Roger McGuinn" to The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester June 11.
"It's kind of a one-man play. Autobiographical," McGuinn, 72, said during a telephone interview from his home in Florida last week. Besides playing music and singing songs, McGuinn, who comes across as very articulate and intelligent, said he tells a lot of stories.
They should enhance the evening quite nicely. The responses he has devised for his own FAQ on his website are sometimes highly amusing. For example, one of the original members of the Byrds, Gene Clark, had a fear of flying. On one occasion a panic attack forced Clark to get off a plane before take-off. McGuinn says he had to tell him, " 'You can't be a Byrd, Gene, if you can't fly.' "
Besides McGuinn and Clark, the original Byrds lineup consisted of David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke. "Mr. Tambourine Man" combined Dylan's lyrical genius with Beatles'-style melodic excellence and the unique "jingle jangle" sound of McGuinn's electric guitar.
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