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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Wednesday, June 20: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Folk rock didn't necessarily begin here. Four months before the Byrds recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man," the Animals were topping the pop charts with "The House of the Rising Sun." But this combination of song and performance epitomized the genre, with the happy effect of giving Bob Dylan – as songwriter, at least – a Number One hit, peaking on Billboard's Hot 100 on the week of June 26, 1965. The Byrds' debut gave them a powerful lift-off. The only Byrd playing on it, though, was electric 12-string guitarist Jim (later Roger) McGuinn. Producer Terry Melcher, doubtful of the new band's abilities, hired top session musicians (including Leon Russell) to back up the vocals of McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark. Perhaps Melcher had heard the group's originally private 1964 recording of the tune, which sounds like an arrangement for a music box. The Byrds recorded and released "Mr. Tambourine Man" neck and neck with Dylan's own (album-only) acoustic version. "We didn't really like [the song] or even understand it at the time," bassist Chris Hillman later admitted; their manager had pushed it on them. Drenched in the 12-string jangle of McGuinn's Rickenbacker guitar and ...

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Concert Radar: J.D. Souther

Friday, December 9: 1:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
J.D. Souther

This weekend, Nighttown in Cleveland Heights hosts J.D. Souther for a special two-night engagement, as the much-lauded musician performs at 8:30 pm on Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10.

Although born in Detroit on November 2, 1945, J.D. Souther spent his formative years in Amarillo, Texas. That upbringing likely contributed to the development of a country-rock appreciation that made him a major influence on big ticket bands of the 1970s, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee the Eagles (he collaborated with friend and former Longbranch Pennywhistle bandmate Glen Frey on tracks including "Best of My Love" and "Heartache Tonight") and Linda Ronstadt (producing and performing on 1973's Don't Cry Now, and penning "Prisoner in Disguise" and "Faithless Love"). As a session musician, vocalist and guitarist Souther has appeared on recordings by Don Henley and James Taylor, among others. 

At the urging of then head of Asylum Records, David Geffen, Souther joined Chris Hillman (of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers) and Richie Furay (of Buffalo Springfield and Poco) to form a country-rock supergroup of sorts with the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. The group released a pair of solo albums and charted with "Fallin ...

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