Chris Hillman - The Byrds

The Byrds

At this point a frustrated Hillman considered quitting music and enrolling at UCLA when he received an offer from The Hillmen's former manager and producer, Jim Dickson, to join Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke in a new band, The Byrds. Hillman was recruited to play bass guitar, although he had never picked up the instrument before. Thanks to his bluegrass background, he quickly developed his own melodic style on the instrument. The Byrds' first single, a jangly cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", was an international hit and marked the birth of folk rock. During the mid-1960s the Byrds ranked as one of the most successful and influential American pop groups; they recorded a string of hits, including "Turn! Turn! Turn!", "Eight Miles High" and "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star".

Hillman kept a low profile on the band's first two albums, on which McGuinn and Clark shared lead vocals with Crosby adding high harmony. However, Clark's departure in 1966 and Crosby's growing restlessness allowed Hillman the opportunity to develop as a singer and songwriter in the group. He came into his own on the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, co-writing and sharing lead vocals with McGuinn on the hit "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star". Hillman also wrote (and sang) the minor hit "Have You Seen Her Face", "Thoughts and Words", "Time Between" and "The Girl with No Name", the latter two demonstrating his bluegrass and country roots. Hillman's prominence continued with the Byrds' next album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, on which he shared songwriting credit on seven of the album's eleven songs.

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