Roger McGuinn was a member of Bobby Darin's band for several years before forming The Byrds.
Here's an excerpt from our Bobby Darin series
( And, you can read the whole thing here:
passion for folk music dates back several years. In late 1962, he went
to see LENNY BRUCE perform at THE CRESCENDO in Los Angeles. THE CHAD
MITCHELL TRIO were the opening act that night and BOBBY fell in love
with the stylings of their guitarist. In fact, after the show was over,
he went backstage to meet the band and offered the guitar player DOUBLE
what he was currently making to join his own back-up band. As it
turned out, the guitarist was bored with the music of the CHAD MITCHELL
TRIO ... and was already considering an offer to join THE NEW CHRISTY
MINSTRELS. DARIN persuaded him that he would be lost in the crowd of
such a large outfit and that he would be better served "hooking up with
me." And, that's how it came to be that future-BYRD ROGER McGUINN
began playing guitar for BOBBY DARIN!
McGUINN takes credit for first introducing DARIN to the music of BOB DYLAN, all the more fitting in that THE BYRDS launched their career with a cover of the DYLAN song MR. TAMBOURINE MAN. Likewise, BOBBY's philosophy on rock and roll is said to have influenced ROGER McGUINN, prompting THE BYRDS to plug in their guitars and perform "electric" folk music, something that DYLAN himself would later do.
In hindsight, BOBBY DARIN has become quite the folk pioneer. He was one of the first artists to prominently feature the music of BOB DYLAN in his nightclub act and bridged the gap between rock and roll, big band and folk music ... truly alone in his league in doing so. Later, however, when mid-show he would slip off his tuxedo jacket to change into a denim one, he began to lose a good part of his audience in Las Vegas. However, he was one of the first pioneers to be accepted dressed in denim with his little four-piece band at "in" places like THE TROUBADOUR in Los Angeles, perhaps the hippest club in L.A.. Here he was able to play some of his new music and have it accepted for what it was ... honest, thought-provoking music with integrity. Artists like RICK NELSON and NEIL DIAMOND would soon follow in BOBBY's footsteps, performing at THE TROUBADOUR in an effort to showcase another side of THEIR music as well.
DIDJAKNOW?: The concept for BOBBY's film THE VENDORS dated back to 1966 ... in fact, at one time THE BYRD's leader / guitarist ROGER McGUINN was considered for the lead role. (McGUINN played guitar in BOBBY's back-up band in the early '60's. He had told BOBBY that he wanted to get into movies but by 1966 THE BYRDS were a very well known folk / rock act.) DARIN considered the role to be the perfect springboard for a film career ... hell, it had worked for him! However, the role of a heroin addict / junkie wasn't something McGUINN wanted to be associated with for the rest of his career and, at the very last minute, he backed out. DARIN sent him the bill for a lost day of shooting!
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