Gene Clark

Gene Clark collage



Gene Clark (14th November 1944 – 24th May 1991) – a founding member of The Byrds and its principle songwriter, power drive and stage presence in the early days from 1964 to 1966. Starting out with his local bands, taken up as a member of The New Christy Minstrels, this handsome Missouri-born musician was influenced by, among others, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers and hugely inspired on first hearing The Beatles. He went on to compose a huge number of songs. The early ones clearly had a Beatle-esque quality, and later Bob Dylan – who admired Clark – inspired his further unique creative development.

After leaving The Byrds Gene had mixed commercial success as a solo artist as well as with forming other bands but continued to produce excellent material and albums. He worked with a wide rage of musicians including various members of The Byrds with whom he remained on good terms. Some albums are outstanding – now viewed as classics – but lack of promotion by the companies involved and by Gene’s own reluctance to tour and play live along with personal problems meant that, at the time, sadly, they did not make the high-level breakthrough deserved.

More detail is included in the attached pdf on the different stages of Gene’s career. Numerous books have been written about Gene and The Byrds that contain much detail.

Although he did not achieve commercial success as a solo artist, Clark was in the vanguard of popular music during much of his career, prefiguring developments in such musical genres as psychedelic rock, baroque pop, bluegrass, country rock, and alternative country. His material has been covered by many artists.