Saturday, September 3, 2022


Today we go back to the reel to reel archives and spotlight The Buckinghams.
They have always been a favorite group of mine and around Wisconsin where they continue to entertain to this day. 
Carl Giammarese has joined me by phone on WRCO several times over the years.
During a 2012 interview we talked about the groups television appearances.


Dennis Tufano was also an original member of Chicagos' own Buckinghams. 

The quintet ruled the airwaves in that great rock n' roll year of 1967. 

Dennis told me during a 2017 interview that the fans know that era of his career better than he does. 


Jim Holvay wrote the Buckinghams' first hit Kind of A Drag and co-wrote Don't You Care, Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song), and Susan. 

He was a member of another Chicago legendary band, The Mob. 

In 2002 he joined me on WRCO to talk about the hits that he was a part of. 


As you know, the music of The Buckinghams has always been very near and dear to my heart ... and I have been very fortunate to be able to hang out with these guys, thanks to all of our coverage of the band here in Forgotten Hits.

They had an INCREDIBLE run in 1967 ... 

Five of their singles made The Top 6 nationally ...

"Kind Of A Drag" (#1), "Don't You Care" (#5), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5), "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song" (#5) and "Susan" (#6).  It just doesn't get any better than that!

The Mob's biggest hit single, "I Dig Everything About You," only went to #83 on The Billboard Chart ...  

But here in Chicago, it reached #20 on the WCFL Chart, and got quite a bit of airplay.  And it still sounds great, some 51 years later.  (kk) 


Be sure to listen to Phil Nee's THOSE WERE THE DAYS radio program tonight … and EVERY Satuarday Night on WRCO ... 6 pm – Midnight (Central):

WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin

Just click on the 100.9 headphones and start streaming!

Friday, September 2, 2022


Harvey Kubernik tells us about a brand new coffee table book coming out on The Byrds … BY The Byrds!!!

BMG has just announced The Byrds: 1964 - 1967, a new large-format 400-page collectible art book curated by the band’s three surviving founding members, and available in three versions, including a Super Deluxe Limited Edition signed by Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, and David Crosby. 

It’s the definitive visual history of the group and features rare and never-seen photos, and is available in numbered and hand-signed limited editions. 

The Byrds: 1964 - 1967 is available at

(Oh man, Wild Bill Cody would have gone CRAZY for this book!!!)  kk

When the Byrds released “Mr. Tambourine Man” on Columbia Records in 1965, they introduced Bob Dylan’s songs to a new audience and launched a career that would see them grow to become one of the most influential rock bands of all time and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

photo by Jim Dickson  (courtesy of the Henry Diltz Archives and Gary Strobl)

With their unmistakable harmonies and Roger McGuinn’s innovative 12-string Rickenbacker guitar work, the Byrds never stopped experimenting. They incorporated folk, country, jazz and world beat influences into a fresh blend that helped define an era. “And not to be too shallow,” Tom Petty once wrote, “but they also were just the best-dressed band around. They had those great clothes and hairdos.” 

The band’s three surviving founding members — Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, and David Crosby — have come together to present The Byrds: 1964 - 1967, a large format tabletop book that offers a unique visual history of their group with vocalist / songwriter Gene Clark and drummer Michael Clarke. 

Featuring more than 500 images from legendary photographers such as Henry Diltz, Jim Dickson, Barry Feinstein, Curt Gunther, Jim Marshall, and Linda McCartney, the book also includes restored images from the Columbia Records archives and the personal archives from the band’s original manager, Jim Dickson. 

Gary Strobl, archivist and Diltz librarian, cleaned and scanned 180 images culled from original negatives snapped by Diltz, and Dixon. 

A dozen of the pictures of the Byrds were first displayed in my 2009 book, Canyon of Dreams The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon.  

The Byrds: 1964 - 1967 is accompanied by a running commentary featuring McGuinn, Hillman, and Crosby’s memories of the group, the era, and their late compatriots Gene Clark and Michael Clarke, this crafted volume is a groovy collector’s item for Byrds fans and anyone who digs photography books spotlighting the pop culture of the 1960s. 

“I loved being in the Byrds,” volunteers Chris Hillman. “I absolutely loved it. And as crazy as we all were at times, when we were on our game, we soared, we flew high and mighty. I think we all shared a private belief and a strong faith that this was going to work. And it worked so well.”

Adds Roger McGuinn: “Being in the Byrds was a detour to my dream of being a folk singer. It was a very special detour, and one I will always hold close to my heart.”

According to the BMG news release, The Byrds: 1964 - 1967, is available in four editions. Each is an oversized 10.5 x 13 inch large-format presentation with more than 500 photographs across 400 pages. Printed in Italy on 200 gsm premium art paper, all versions feature quality thread-sewn binding and a luxurious quarter-bound casing. The standard edition retails for $125 and is limited to only 3000 copies worldwide. Other options include:

Deluxe Edition

* Hand signed by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman

* Comes in a custom matching slipcase

* Limited to only 1600 copies worldwide

* Retail price of $350

Super Deluxe Edition

* Hand signed by Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, and David Crosby

* Comes in a custom clamshell case

* Features gold gilded edges

* Limited to only 800 copies worldwide

* Retail price of $475

Super Deluxe Edition with Fine Art Print

* Hand signed by Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, and David Crosby

* Comes in a custom clamshell case

* Features gold gilded edges

* Limited to only 75 copies worldwide

* Retail price of $1700

* Includes a choice of one of three exclusive 11 x 14 inch limited edition fine art prints (Roger McGuinn photographed by Henry Diltz in 1967, Chris Hillman photographed by Barry Feinstein in 1965, or David Crosby photographed by Jim Marshall in 1965).

The Byrds and Bob Dylan at Ciro's in Hollywood  

Photo by Jim Dickson (courtesy of the Henry Diltz Archives and Gary Strobl)

This century I’ve interviewed Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and David Crosby. My first interview with Roger was in 1974 for the now defunct Sounds magazine.  Chris and I spoke a few times over the last couple of decades. My brief Crosby interview was in 2021.

I remember when the Byrds played Hollywood High School and Fairfax High School in 1965. They used to have these $2.50 school assemblies. During ’65, I saw the Byrds taping an episode of Shindig! at ABC-TV studios on Prospect Ave. in Hollywood. 

I followed the band from 1965 - 1975. I recall a May, 1968, benefit concert that the McGuinn and Hillman helmed Byrds did for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Professional football player Roosevelt Grier was involved. Sonny & Cher were there along with Mahalia Jackson. 

One marvelous Byrds’ gig was in 1970 at the Ash Grove club in West Hollywood when guitarist Clarence White was in the outfit.  In 1988, I worked on the benefit concert for the New Ash Grove at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles where all five original members of the Byrds appeared.   

The Byrds at the Hollywood Palladium (courtesy of Rodney Bingenheimer)

Harvey Kubernik and Roger McGuinn Interview: 

Q: Your 12-string Rickenbacker guitar sound integrated into the Byrds’ music since 1964 is acknowledged as one of the most influential guitar roles in recorded rock ‘n’ roll history, alongside other pioneers like Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix. How did this guitar enter your life?

A: I still use it. But it wasn’t part of my arsenal back in the folk days ‘cause it hadn’t been invented yet. F.C. Hall came up with the idea in the early Sixties, and I asked him, ‘Why did he do it?” And he said ‘For folk music.’ He didn’t realize that no self-respecting folk singer would be caught dead with an electric guitar at that time. So, he created the genre by creating an instrument by misunderstanding the folk mentality since they didn’t like electric guitars, in fact they hated them. And so he made this folk electric guitar which was perfect for what I was doing. I did apply my banjo rolling techniques to the Rickenbacker when I got it. I changed my whole picking style. I used to use a thumb pick and two finger picks.

In the Byrds I had to play lead lines with a flat pick so I started combining the two styles by having a flat pick between my thumb and fore fingers and moving the finger picks down one to middle and ring finger and then doing those banjo rolls like that. That’s how I did my arpeggios in the Byrds like ‘Turn Turn Turn,’ the jingle jangle sound. In the Byrds we used a lot of electronic compression on the Rickenbacker and it gave it a sustain that it didn’t have as a natural instrument. That was a really important thing.

Q: The Columbia studio had staff engineers. I know you recorded with Ray Gerhard.

A:  A funny, ironic story about how that came about, Ray Gerhard was the engineer at Columbia Records when the Byrds started recording. And at the time Columbia was a middle of the road record label, and they were scared of rock ‘n’ roll. So, Ray, to protect his precious equipment would put limiters on everything, compression, and double compress it for the Rickenbacker, and that is what gave it the wonderful sound. When I heard the sound for the first time, I could not believe we had done it. It knocked me out. At the time I was on the band track with the ‘Wrecking Crew’ guys, and that was fun, and we did the vocals, and it was all different parts. But when it all came together on the playback it was bigger than the sum of its parts. I couldn’t believe we had done it. It sounded so creamy, rich, big and full.

Well, I did engineer my vocal, but it wasn’t to match the Rickenbacker but to get between John Lennon and Bob Dylan’s vocal. I wanted to try and hit that niche there between the two of them. With the Byrds we over dubbed with the Rickenbacker, like the lead break on “Eight Miles High” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” They were not done with the band track. We just did a rhythm track and I would go in and do the leads until I got it right. 

Q: The Byrds’ unique vocal blend?

A: We sang together well. I give the credit to Crosby. He was brilliant at devising these harmony parts that were not strict third, fourth or fifth improvisational combination of the three. That’s what makes the Byrds’ harmonies. Most people think it’s three-part harmony, and its two-part harmony. Very seldom was there a third part on our harmonies.   

Q: “My Back Pages,” the Byrds’ cover song from Bob Dylan heard on Younger Than Yesterday, was recorded in the first week of December in 1966, and garnered a lot of radio airplay in the Summer of Love in 1967. Why did you get to record it? You had done many Dylan songs in your repertoire.

A: I was driving my Porsche up La Cienega, and got around to Sunset, and Jim Dickson, our former producer and manager, he had been fired by the Byrds, shortly before that, he still liked us, or some of us, and he pulled up in his Porsche, and signaled for me to roll my window down. “Hey Jim. You ought to record Dylan’s “My Back Pages.” I said, “OK. Thanks.” The light changed, I drove back up into Laurel Canyon, and pulled out the Dylan album that had “My Back Pages” and learned it.

I then took it to the studio and showed it to the guys. And Crosby hated it because he was mostly upset because he wasn’t getting his own songs on the album, and the reason why he left the band. There was a riff in the band, and he wasn’t getting as many as some of us. So anyway, I liked “My Back Pages” and don’t remember any resistance from anybody else in the band. Just David. And he was just mad because he wasn’t getting his songs. And it was a hit and a good tune. I’m really happy with it.

It was Dickson’s suggestion and I hadn’t thought of it as a song for the Byrds repertoire. I liked the wisdom of the song and it’s a very insightful song on the thing that happens when you think you’re so knowledgeable and wise when you are real young. And then when you get a little older you realize what you didn’t know.

Dylan’s stuff is brilliant. I coined the term that he was the “Shakespeare of Our Time.” It was like knowing Shakespeare here. Dylan was carrying on Kerouac and Ginsberg. The baton had been passed. I remember Ginsberg said I think we’re in good hands. We did “Chimes of Freedom” at Monterey Pop. I loved the imagery. You can’t pin it down as a peace song, or whatever, but it’s got overtones of that. It’s brilliant. I just identified with it and could relate to it.

Q: I caught the Byrds performing Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do” at a Shindig! taping.

A: I love “All I Really Want to Do.” It’s kind of a simple little love song, you know, but it’s got a really sarcastic whimsical attitude. He doesn’t want to be hassled. He just wants to be friends. We changed the arrangement from the 3/4 time to a 4/4 time. We became his “unofficial, official” band for his stuff. I remember when Sonny & Cher got the hit with “All I Really Want to Do,” Dylan went, “On man, you let me down…” Normally, a writer would be happy to get a hit with his own songs. Who cares who did it? He was on our side.

Q: I really dug the colored sunglasses you wore on Shindig!

A:   I saw John Sebastian in Greenwich Village and I said, ‘Wow. Cool shades.’ And, he said, “Yeah!” Somebody from Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band had just given it to him. John said, “Here, try them on. Look up at the streetlight and move your head back and forth. It’s really groovy, man.” I tried them on. I was nearsighted.

Later, in Hollywood I went to a clothing shop on Sunset Strip, De Voss, and got these little wire frames and took them to the eye doctor and had him put in cobalt blue rectangular lenses.

TV producer Jack Good saw me, and said “Wow. What a great gimmick. Everybody needs a gimmick. You gotta wear those all the time. Day and night.” I had been taking them off, like to do TV, or whatever. Just wearing them around. He encouraged me to wear them for everything. Onstage and offstage. So, I did. And it worked, and it became a bit of a fashion style.     

Q: Tell me about record producer Gary Usher.

A: There were only a few producers around at that time. Like Phil Spector and the Brill Building people on the West Coast, along with the Beach Boys and the Wrecking Crew. Gary was amazing when he was doing this. He was a 'tech head' for the time. Very innovative. We had done this phase-shifting he had done with two tape machines. And he took that idea, which was moving the machines closer together, after recording them spread out, and then one would phase shift, and move them and make a 16 track out of them. I was loving it. He was great. Gary and I were kindred spirits and very creative. Gary was the shining light in that whole thing.

The Byrds, 1965 Advertisement (courtesy of Gary Strobl)

Harvey Kubernik and Chris Hillman Interview:       

Q: I want to ask about the longevity of the Byrds’ catalogue.

A:   The sixties were wonderful. What does hold up from that era were melody and lyric. In the Byrds, our manager Jim Dickson drilled into our heads, the greatest advice we ever got, and he said, ‘Go for substance in the songs and go for depth. You want to make records you can listen to in forty years. That you will be proud to listen to.’ He was right.     

I think that’s as big part of it and it was real and so honest. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir and telling you things you already know. But the record companies were run by music people. People who loved music. It was not a corporate monster. And they’d sign you and you’d be on the label for three or four albums, you know.

What holds up that era were melodies. When you heard a new song on the radio the melody will catch you right away. You might hear a couple of lyrics then when you hear the lyrics if they’re strong and really saying something, yes, we do have songs that are sort of very catchy songs, but didn’t last long, like a fast food meal. It was good when you ate it but wasn’t good later. That was it. The Beach Boys. Melody, melody, melody. Even though ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ lyrics fit the melody. It worked. It swung. That era… Of course, I’m preaching to the choir and telling you things you already know. The sixties were wonderful.

But there was also that period from 1959 to the Beatles in late 1963, that was a dead period. That was when folk music was just jumpin’ on its hind legs there. And so, who comes out of folk music? The Byrds, John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, the Mamas and the Papas. Four bands that were really successful with hits on the radio. Came out of folk music.   
And, of course, we were all emulating the Beatles to some degree at first. The Byrds certainly were. And then, I mean, my God, when I joined the Byrds they were still doing Beatlesque songs that Gene was writing. But then we got into doing other material. But interestingly enough, out of that folk era, and I’m the guy coming out of the real traditional bluegrass, the other guys are coming out of the New Christy Minstrels. 
But those four bands took it and incorporated it and were successful but took it and incorporated it. And I think a lot had to do with the folk music emphasis on lyric. On a story. On that whole thing. And, the Beatles, when they became aware of Dylan and to some degree, listened to us a little bit, but they started to write deeper songs

Q: Lots of photos exist of the Byrds. Visual documentation was important.

A: Before I was even in the Byrds, the first record I ever did was with the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and we did the entire album in four hours. It was a good band. We went out to Griffith Park in Hollywood. Here we are lined up in a color photo shoot appropriate for our age. It still sells and is print from Ace Records.

When the Byrds came along we did one of our very first publicity black and white shots and we’re in suits. I remember us doing that photo in the daytime and it might have been at Shelley’s Manne-Hole club in Hollywood. And there was an older guy who was at that session doing photos. It was so early it might not have been an (official) Columbia publicity photo.

Q: The Columbia recording studio. I loved that place, knowing the history going back to radio broadcasts with Fred Allen and Jack Benny.

A: I remember that Columbia was a union room. The engineers had shirts and ties on. Mandatory breaks every three hours. Record producer Terry Melcher was a good guy. I didn’t really get to know him. I was shy. Columbia was comfortable to record in there. Terry was good. I liked him. I will say this, and on the Byrds albums I was not mixed back. Sometimes it worked. And I do have to say all five of us were learning how to play. Once again, coming out of the folk thing and plugging in. And we were all learning. Roger was the most seasoned musician, and we all sort of worked off of Roger. He had impeccable great sense of time. His style and that minimalist thing of playing that was so good. He played the melody. Our first album cover was shot by photographer Barry Feinstein, who was an old friend of Jim Dickson who was our manager.

I know the time period when the only delivery method was an album with LP cover art. The album cover meant a lot then. Jim Marshall was in San Francisco as was Guy Webster in Southern California shooting, and then (Henry) Diltz came along just a bit after and was the next generation. Guy was very good at his job. And, of course, my time with him then I was so shy. I barely said four words within an hour in the early days of the Byrds. He did a great job.

One thing I’ve said before, melody and lyrics, and what our manager Jim Dickson drilled into our heads, the greatest advice we ever got, and he said, ‘Go for substance in the songs and go for depth. You want to make records you can listen to in forty years that you will be proud to listen to.’ He was right.

The Byrds do Dylan. It was a natural fit after “Mr. Tambourine Man” was successful. Roger (then Jim) almost found his voice through Bob Dylan in a way. Literally a voice through Bob Dylan in a sense. And then we start doing some Dylan stuff. “Chimes of Freedom.” Great song. “All I Really Want to Do.”

We did the Byrds’ Turn! Turn! Turn! cover at Guy’s studio at his parents’ house in Beverly Hills. Terry Melcher at Columbia knew Guy, and they had done some work previously. That’s where I first really met Guy Webster.

There we are. (David) Crosby is in his cape. McGuinn has got the glasses on, and the ever so fashionable hounds tooth sport coat. And then Gene (Clark) and Michael (Clarke) and I have our perfectly coiffed Beatle hair. It’s all in blue. Guy’s father was a very famous songwriter. I knew that.

That LP cover and the music on Turn! Turn! Turn! was the breakthrough. The breakthrough record was ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ but the breakthrough album was that. “Turn! Turn! Turn!” is the most recognizable Byrds’ song way over “Mr Tambourine Man,” with all due respect. That’s the Byrds’ song people always remember. It was the LP cover I autographed the most.

Q: You really blossomed on Younger Than Yesterday.

A: I started really writing songs after Crosby and I were on a Hugh Masekela session that Hugh was doing with these South African musicians way ahead of Paul Simon and one of them was a piano player named Cecil Bernard was very inspirational. And, a gal, Letta Umbulu. A wonderful singer. All the musicians were South African with the exception of Big Black. I played bass on a demo session. And David was a good rhythm guitarist.

I went home and wrote “Time Between” and “Have You Seen Her Face” influenced by a blind date Crosby had set me up with along with other young ladies. There was something that connected with me and that was where I came out of my shell with that session. I came home and wrote songs that entire week after that session. And Hugh we were working with Letta Mabulu, so some of that carried over to the Monterey International Pop Festival.

Q: The Byrds and Hugh Masekela played together at the 1967 Monterey festival.

A: Hugh Masekela at Monterey was one of the highlights, and earlier recording with him was one of the highlights of my life. At Monterey we did Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom.” I didn’t realize how beautiful that lyric was until years later. And Jim Dickson, and you gotta give ol’ Jim credit, he instilled in us the concept of depth and substance.

He said, “Do you think you’re gonna be able to listen to this 20 years later?” And, here we are yelping about “Mr. Tambourine Man” when he brought it to us. “Chimes of Freedom” and the reading, the version we did on that first album was the band. We all knew it. And “Chimes of Freedom” is a killer. It’s just one of Dylan’s beautiful songs and he was just peaking then. 

The Byrds at Monterey (Jim McGuinn and Chris Hillman)

Photo by Henry Diltz (courtesy of Gary Strobl)

At Monterey we played “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” It wasn’t personal against the Monkees, it was against the process how contrived it was as a takeoff on A Hard Day’s Night. Nothing against those guys. Michael Nesmith was a damn good musician. Good writer and good singer. And the rest of those guys could handle their chores. Davy Jones was a song and dance guy.

The idea and base line of the song came from playing with Hugh, and when I called Roger, ‘I got a song.’ And he put the bridge there. And the bridge was really from a Miriam Makeba song and he had history with her. Gene Clark has left. David was going nuts and Roger and I were sorta bonding together as I came out of my shell and learning how to write and sing. We got some good things out of it.

At Monterey we did a repertoire that was currently involved in what we were recording and other songs. Gene Clark had just left and had so many good songs that lent themselves to the Byrds’ concept sound that when he was gone, we continued to do those songs.

My theory is like the Rolling Stones, when Bill Wyman left that band. they never sounded the same to me. We recovered and did a lot of great things after Gene left, but he was a very integral part of the original five people. Roger was a great collaborator. He could write songs with myself, Gene, and David. “Old John Robertson” was a silent movie film director.

I was coherent, and relations with David were so strained at that time it was getting to the cusp, the end of the deal. Here was this beautiful weekend, this diverse lineup. Otis Redding to Ravi Shankar, our set was a disaster. Crosby, you know, I mean you could almost see in the (film) footage where Roger and I were walking away from him. He was ranting about the John Kennedy assassination.

He was so unconnected to Roger, Michael and I musically in that particular performance because whatever he was going on, no groove, despite the ranting, inappropriate, as it is now on stage when our peers get up there and start politicalizing, or whatever they’re doing, shut up and sing. Do your music. Don’t do that stuff.

However, and Roger’s great quote was “We were a band of cutthroat pirates stabbing each other in the back.”

We’ll the reason we were a band of cutthroat pirates was that we didn’t have a captain. McGuinn was strong enough to be the captain of the ship. You don’t go into a platoon in combat without an officer. That’s where you get decimated. We did that. We allowed that thing to happen. 

Autographs from The Byrds First Concert, 1965 (courtesy of Gene Aguilera)