Saturday 26 May 2018
Grape But Not Forgotten
by Colin Larkin
By Colin Larkin September 08, 2017 13:31
Requiem For The Timeless Volume 2.
Johnny Rogan is one of our most established and best music biographers. He not only writes well, but he writes beautifully. This is best exemplified by the band that is closest to his heart - The Byrds. This doorstop labour of true love is another detailed and accurate 1,200 page book; this time covering Dead Byrds - Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Skip Battin, Kevin Kelly and original drummer Michael Clarke. It is significant because it is the first detailed appraisal of the work of Gene Clark, Clarence White and Gram Parsons. The latter has been written about many times but Rogan gives the opinion that is most balanced and not sycophantic. Gene Clark is one of the great unsung singer songwriters of all-time and Clarence White was probably the greatest ever flat picking guitarist. Byrdologists will love it, but it needs a wider appreciation insofar as, there was so much more to the Byrds than the original Tambourine men. Rogan's superlative work will outlive us all, and I can say with confidence that nobody will ever come within 8 miles of his lifetime appreciation of a musical artist/band (other than Mark Lewisohn and the Beatles). I am eternally proud to have published Johnny's first book on the Byrds in 1977 when our then American literary agent Al Zuckerman declined to find a USA publisher for us by saying 'who wants to read about a broken down rock band'. Hmmm!!!
The Byrds, dead or alive, will fly on.