Archive for February, 2019

We’ve spent the last week covering the Beatles and talking about their music. So who is the perfect guest to talk with us? Paul McCartney? Ringo Starr? (Ok, that would be great, but no.) How about the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn?  After all, George Harrison inspired him to go with his now signature 12-string Rickenbacker guitar.

So Roger returned to chat with us for a third time.

Students asked him some insightful questions, one of which was about his Folk Den site that encourages free downloads of traditional music. He started that site (at to keep folk traditions alive for future generations.

Roger then demonstrated on his Rickenbacker how “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the Dylan-penned Byrds hit, and the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are derived from folk chord progressions. That students were thrilled to hear him play.

McGuinn 2

Roger mentioned how The Wrecking Crew, the famed session musicians who performed on so many songs, took the lead on Tambourine Man, with Roger being the only Byrd actually playing on it. While that upset the other Byrds, apparently that session took three hours, whereas the actual Byrds’ recording of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” took 77 takes.

A student asked about how the loss of David Crosby (who went on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash and occasionally Young) impacted the Byrds. Roger said while he would miss Crosby’s strong harmonic contributions, he felt Gene Clark’s departure even more acutely, as he was the Byrds’ primary songwriter.

One student asked about the passing of musicians close to Roger and how that impacted him…a touchy question that Roger handled with grace. He specifically mentioned Tom Petty, since they were quite close and his death was so unexpected. He also said the loss of George Harrison was a big deal since he was also good friends with the former Beatle.

Another student inquired about Roger’s working with Paul Simon early in his career. Roger proceeded to pull up a Paul Simon video that talked about their early collaboration.

McGuinn 1

In all, Roger was his usual affable self, answering students’ questions thoughtfully. We were super lucky to have him join us and hopefully we can do another Skype session next year.