Two very different groups -- Cream and the Byrds -- square off against each other in the first round of the second-ever Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame election. Each month, our readers will determine which of eight legendary artists or bands is immortalized forever for their contributions to classic rock history.
The Byrds made their name as the best Bob Dylan cover band on the planet. But by the end of the '60s, they were spearheading their own movements into jazzy psych-rock and twangy country-rock. The original celebrated quintet lasted only a couple of years. Before they finally called it quits in 1973, a dozen different
Released on Jan. 15, 1968, 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers' marks the end of the first chapter of one of America's finest rock and roll bands. Change was something the Byrds were already used to. In less than three years, they lost three original members. Gene Clark, who was responsible for much of the band's stellar early material, left in 1966, drummer Michael Clarke exited after the sessions for 'Notorious,' and the eternal wild card, David Crosby, was booted out in the fall of 1967.
The Laurel Canyon sound of the '60s and '70s was all about smooth harmonies and peaceful, easy feelings, but the bands making the music were notorious for their constantly shifting lineups and behind-the-scenes turmoil. Case in point: the Byrds, who announced founding member David Crosby's acrimonious firing 45 years ago.
Gram Parsons was one of the most influential musicians of his generation -- though the true extent of his influence would not be felt until after his death. The singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist was a pioneer in country rock, and the unusual aftermath of his passing -- being burned in the desert by his friend and road manager -- cemented his legendary status. The court case from that incident was settled on Nov. 6, 1973, 39 years ago.
The voice of Roger McGuinn was a huge part of the late '60s. The singer/guitarist, who turns 70 July 13, began his career as a backing player and songwriter for hire, but caught his big break when meeting up with Gene Clark to form the Byrds.