Happy Birthday Chris Hillman!
Forty six years ago The Byrds had just changed their band name from The Jet Set and were rehearsing songs at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles under the tutelage of producer Jim Dickson. Chris Hillman had joined Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, Gene Clark, and David Crosby's folk group to play bass guitar in a new Rock 'n Roll group. Balanced out by Michael Clarke on drums, The Byrds signed to Columbia Records on November 10, 1964, but the contract originally only included McGuinn, Clark, and Crosby. For Hillman it was the beginning of a long musical career that lasts into today. The Byrds first recording session for Columbia Records on January 25, 1965 was only for a single. The A side contained the Bob Dylan composition "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the Gene Clark original "I Knew I'd Want You" took the B side. Producer Terry Melcher hired The Wrecking Crew, an L.A. group of studio musicians responsible for the music on many 1960's hits. The only Byrds member allowed to play on the tracks was Roger McGuinn, with his signature Rickenbacker 12-string guitar.
Here's the second television appearance ever by The Byrds on Hullabaloo from May 8, 1965 singing, but not playing "Mr. Tambourine Man":
After Clark left The Byrds in 1966, Hillman took a stronger role in the group and even wrote four of the songs on Younger Than Yesterday (1967) including the single "Have You Seen Her Face" and album tracks "Time Between", "Thoughts And Words," and "The Girl With No Name."
After his stint in The Byrds, Hillman went on to form The Flying Burrito Brothers with ex-Byrd Gram Parsons. Here's The Flying Burrito Brothers performing "Lazy Day" Live in Canada in the Summer of 1970. "Lazy Day", a Parsons song, originally recorded during the Sweetheart Of The Rodeo sessions did not surface originally until the Flying Burrito Brothers resurrected the song for their second album Burrito Deluxe (A & M, 1970).
Next Hillman went on to participate in the great and overlooked Stephen Stills project, Manassas: Bound To Fall
It Doesn't Matter
Hillman and the original members of The Byrds even regrouped for swan song album in 1973. Later, Hillman was part of Souther-Hillman-Furay, McGuinn-Clark-Hillman, and The Desert Rose Band.
Recorded for the Library of Congress, Chris Hillman talks about the craft of the songwriter and about his prolific career in an hour and 20 minute program:
Hope you're having a good one Chris!