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Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of The Byrds' Gene Clark (Book) Paperback – February 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Gene Clark wrote that tune, and many, many others. He was one of the founding 5 members of the Byrds, a group that was often referred to as the "American Beatles" when they starting performing in the mid 1960's.
Clark left the Byrds dramatically after just a couple of albums, both because of internal problems within the group, and because of emotional problems of his own. (i.e. His notorious "fear of flying," made ironic in a group called the Byrds.)
In this book, Einarson argues that Clark was probably bipolar, and may have improved given proper medications. But at that time, on his own, with all his fame and money, he self-medicated himself with drugs and booze. Lots of booze.
Although he wrote so many wonderful songs, because of all of his problems Clark was unable to turn his genius into commercial success. As you read the story of his life, you can't help but feel frustrated with his string of bad luck, but more so with his behavior that caused him to burn so many bridges and sabotage any chances he had.
This is a terrific biography, and highly recommended for anyone who has wondered about what happened to Gene Clark. One small complaint is that I would've liked to have seen more pictures of family and friends.
Einarson is obviously a big fan, but he did extensive interviews and did a lot of research to give us as accurate a portrayal as possible. Gene Clark had a lot of faults, but you come away from this biography with an absolute respect for his musical gifts.
I hope this book gets a lot of attention, and that Gene Clark finally gets the critical and public acclaim that is his due.
Originally the most prolific songwriter in The Byrds and their main focal point, Clark was pushed out of the band by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby as they wanted to write more and sing more. It didn't help that their manager saw McGuinn as the "voice" of the band (he did sing on their most popular singles). After a disasterous reunion in 1973, Clark continued his solo career producing the legendary "No Other" album (which still has mixed reactions to this day). The lack of self confidence and set backs that Clark faced (including his stalled solo career) kept him from achieving a sense of balance in his life.
My only criticisms of the book is a lack of a detailed discography (particularly of the numerous unreleased tracks that Clark recorded)and a list of all his published songs. Also, the book could have used more photos. Despite this minor flaw, Einarson (who has written for Mojo, Uncut and other music magazines)creates a complete picture of this frequently troubled but talented musician.
Music to listen to while reading this: The first three Byrds albums, Clark's Echoes, Roadmaster, White Light (aka Gene Clark), No Other, So Rebellious a Lover (with Carla Olson)and the reissue of the Clark-McGuinn-Hillman album.
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