A huge influence on the folk rock and country rock genres, Roger McGuinn's brilliant 12-string guitar playing with the magnificent The Byrds is one of the most distinctive guitar sounds in all of popular music. The folk prodigy had also worked with pop singers prior to co-founding the Byrds, but it was the former style that held the most interest for McGuinn. He steered the group further towards root music in the late 60s, but his enthusiasm was not enough to save the notoriously fractious unit. His excellent 1973 solo debut mixed up folk rock, country and space rock, and received very good reviews. After two lesser albums McGuinn bounced back with 1976's terrific Cardiff Rose, but following this creative apogee his career hit the doldrums for most of the 80s. He continued to remain active as a live performer, and the comeback album Back From Rio (1990) illustrated an artist unwilling to trade on past glories. In the new millennium McGuinn has increasingly favoured recording straight folk music, notably on his extensive Folk Den releases, although his solo performances of Eight Miles High are still breathtaking.
Followers: Tom Petty, The Beatles, Peter Buck, Elvis Costello
Influenced By: Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Gene Vincent, Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Woody Guthrie
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