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Sweetheart of the Rodeo

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This 1968 album was a game changer both for The Byrds and rock 'n' roll. Replacing David Crosby with country-rock innovator Gram Parsons, the band moved from chiming folk-rock to twangier tones heavily informed by Parsons' country roots. Parsons' pen was mighty, too—his yearning ballad "Hickory Wind" is among The Byrds' most affecting tunes. And faithful versions of songs by The Louvin Brothers ("The Christian Life") and Merle Haggard ("Life in Prison") enhance the country cred even further on this incredible album.


Formed: 1964 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although they only attained the huge success of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys for a short time in the mid-'60s, time has judged the Byrds to be nearly as influential as those groups in the long run. They were not solely responsible for devising folk-rock, but they were certainly more responsible than any other single act (Dylan included) for melding the innovations and energy of the British Invasion with the best lyrical and musical elements of contemporary folk music. The jangling,...
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