THE BYRDS... The Great American band of the 1960s?
Well, frankly, yes! In a never-ending pursuit to keep ourselves amused throughout the workday, my working colleague and I have attempted to answer such a question: Who were The Great American Band Of The 1960s? Who gave the world a catalogue of great depth and breadth? Who pioneered? Who influenced many who followed? Who spewed forth a bevy of sounds which bespoke a certain A-grade consistency? My workmate did not hesitate and spluttered forth but three words: Creedence Clearwater Revival. He may just have a point: the first 5 albums - all spat out within a four-year time frame, are pure genius, though their oft-hailed meisterwerk, Cosmo's Factory (my fave is its predecessor, Willie And The Poor Boys), was released in 1970, and for some reason I still consider CCR as more of a '70s outfit. So, we threw a few more names about: Velvets, The Doors, Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band.... but I settled on one: The Byrds. There's that 5-year, 6-album run you can't ignore: Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn! Turn! Turn!, 5th Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday, The Notorious Byrd Brothers and Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, a catalogue which sees them effortlessly transforming and metamorphising from folk-rock through to psychedelia through to cosmic-rock right on through to country-rock. That's a whole lot of hyphens and a whole lot of good music.
The can of worms was opened and then shut again, if only because there was work to be done and we realised we could waste time and discuss this kind of anal-retentive bulltwang 'til the company goes bankrupt. But then I lay awake at night, pondering....: who was The Great British Band Of The 1960s? Was it The Beatles or The 'Stones? And what about the '70s and '80s? Was the Amercian contingent a battle between the Stooges and Ramones? Did the British counterpart have to be a band post-'76? I mean, Never Mind The Bollocks is one of the greatest albums ever made, but it's still just one album. The Sex Pistols changed British music forever, but where's the 5-album run to brag about? What about pre-punk? Led Zep's output from 1970-'75 is pretty near flawless, though their actual influence - think of the millions of bozos who actually like them - has been largely negative. And the '80s? A Black Flag/Minutemen split. No contest there. But Ol' Blighty? Did they actually have any rock bands in the '80s? I'm giving it to The Fall: 1980-'86 was their peak. You see, that's why I have this blog: to air these kinds of important issues to the public.