Livvy and Chrissie relive the Summers of Love with The Byrds Roger McGuinn, Michael Eavis and Jack Oliver.
Well, we like to think we don't get impressed easily by fame and celebrity but there was one person who managed it and that was Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. We were in the studio and Livvy was interviewing him about his life and times with the The Byrds and how the famous 'jingle jangle' sound was created after he'd seen The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night and realized they were using chords in a different way, and then they got on to talking about playing with Bob Dylan.....and touring in Frank Zappa's bus (called Phydeaux).....and then finally when he told the story about how he was in the bus with Joni Mitchell and he needed a song for a new album The Byrds were doing and he asked if she had one, and she did.....well, Livvy's face went from interested to amazed to awestruck. Well, who wouldn't be impressed by that!
The thing with being famous at that time, the late sixties, early seventies, it seems though, was that the people involved didn't really know that they were famous in that iconic sense. Roger said that they, The Byrds, didn't handle if very well and that there should really be a 'School for Fame', one that taught you how to manage it. He also said it was important not to take yourself too seriously and think you were special, which is good advice anytime really.....amazing how little things can easily go to the head! Anyway he is just the nicest guy and very humble - although when we met him at the gig for a photo shoot our assistant Anika moved his guitar out of the way for a photo.....everyone in the hall held their breath until she put it down safely. Moving Roger McGuinn's guitar.....sacrilege!
We also interviewed Jack Oliver who was president of Apple Records at that time and he said the same thing...that they didn't really know they would be so famous, they were just doing their jobs and just happened to be surrounded by Beatles everyday whilst doing it. He said even the Beatles felt a bit like that. He told a great story, though, that could only have happened in the Sixties, about how someone told him there might be a job going somewhere, so he turned up to be greeted by a man wearing a psychedelic suit sitting on white leather settees in a completely white room, who didn't know what the job was, so Jack suggested he could be his assistant, which he agreed and he started the next day. This coincided with them all going off to a very posh hotel in the South of France for a music festival. So off he went there on his first day thinking "This is a great job.....", when Paul McCartney walked into the room, and he realized he was working for the Beatles, and the rest, as they say, is history!
He also told us that he and Paul McCartney used to go around London by bus sometimes, and people would look at Paul in a wondering sort of way and then think "no, can't be" and leave them alone. Not something that would happen today with all the camera phones and selfies.
What was amazing was that when we were talking with Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury Festival, now the biggest music festival in the world, he told us that he was inspired to start the festival after seeing another festival at the Bath And West Showground in Somerset where there were lots of American West Coast bands appearing, including The Byrds.....so you could say that The Byrds were one of Michael's inspiration to set up this enormous, world-known Glastonbury Festival on his farm a couple of miles away.
To listen to Livvy and Chrissie's 'Summers of Love' Special on BBC Radio Bristol click here.