Formed in Los Angeles in 1964, The Byrds began life as an influential folk-rock band before becoming one of the true pioneers of country-rock. Founded by singers and guitarists Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, David Crosby, and Gene Clark as The Jet Set, the group began playing the folk clubs in Los Angeles and recorded a single under the name The Beefeaters. Wanting to move towards a more rock-oriented sound inspired by their love of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, the trio brought in bassist Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke and changed their name to The Byrds. The group then became a popular local act before signing to Columbia Records and recording their debut album in 1965. They heard a demo of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and decided to record it. The song became a huge hit and ushered in the era of folk-rock. Their debut album – also titled Mr. Tambourine Man - reached Number 6 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and Number 7 on the UK Albums chart. The Byrds’ highly distinctive style produced a series of other hits in the next couple of years, including “All I Really Want to Do,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “Eight Miles High,” “So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star,” and “My Back Pages,” but things began to change behind the scenes in The Byrds’ camp. Gene Clark left in 1966, followed by the firing of David Crosby, and the arrival of Gram Parsons. The group left their folk-rock roots behind and embraced country music on the 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The album divided their audience but has since become one of their most popular and influential albums. Gram Parsons was already gone by the time of the release of their next album, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde (1969), but the group’s new direction had a detrimental effect on their career. While they still scored a few hits - “You Ain't Goin' Nowhere,” “Ballad of Easy Rider,” and “Chestnut Mare” – they were no longer the musical force they had been between 1965 and 1967. After more personnel changes, The Byrds finally split in 1973. Each of the former members of The Byrds achieved a decent amount of success, the most popular being David Crosby, one of the founding members of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young). In 1988, McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman briefly reunited to record new music for a box set and to take legal action against former members who were touring under the group’s name. They played a series of concerts before disbanding again in 1991, when they were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Gram Parsons died on September 19, 1973. Gene Clark passed away on May 24, 1991. Michael Clarke died on December 19, 1993. David Crosby died on January 18, 2023.