Tag Archives: Gene Clark

KC-Area Resident Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Niki Sullivan (far left) was the rhythm guitarist for the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backup band. After retiring from the music business, Sullivan relocated to the Kansas City area, where he lived until he died in 2004.

The late Niki Sullivan, the original rhythm guitarist in Buddy Holly’s backup band the Crickets, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April.

The Crickets were inducted with several legendary backing bands, all of whom were excluded when their stars were inducted.

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Announcing the Gene Clark Symposium

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This picture of Gene Clark is a still from performance footage of the Byrds that was recorded in 1966 but never released. The footage will be shown as part of the Gene Clark Symposium in November.

I’m pleased to announce an event that will showcase some important Kansas City music history.

The Gene Clark Symposium will be a unique gathering of Gene Clark collectors and fans from across the country (and in a couple of cases, from Europe). The event is the idea of Whin Oppice, a noted Gene Clark collector. I’m assisting with planning and logistics, and will give a presentation on my own Clark research.

The symposium is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5, in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.

Gene Clark grew up in Kansas City and was one of the founders of the Byrds, one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 1960s. He also had an influential solo career and is considered to be one of the architects of folk-rock, country-rock and the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s.

One of the ironies about Gene’s recording career is although there were long stretches between official releases, he wrote prolifically and recorded often. For a variety of reasons, much of this material remains unreleased. Through the years, as material became available, collectors bought it and preserved it.

This will be the first gathering of Gene Clark collectors in real life, although many frequently communicate online. It’s fitting that it’s in Kansas City, where Gene grew up.

The symposium is open to all Gene Clark fans, and you don’t need to contribute material to attend. For more information, go the Gene Clark Symposium section on this site.

The Billboard Roll Call: Gene Clark

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Gene Clark is an artist whose true legacy isn’t reflected in a pop chart.

He was instrumental in helping develop three genres in rock ‘n’ roll. As a founding member of the Byrds, he pioneered folk-rock. With the duo Dillard and Clark in the late 1960s, he laid the foundation for country rock. His solo work in the late 1960s and early 1970s anticipated the singer-songwriter movement.

Clark was born in Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City, but grew up in the Kansas City area. He played in rock ‘n’ roll bands growing up, but moved to folk music in the early 1960s.

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Today in KC’s Music History: “Mr. Tambourine Man” Released

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One of the most significant albums in rock ‘n’ roll history was released on June 21, 1965.

Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds heralded the arrival of folk-rock, a genre the Byrds helped create. And central to the Byrds sound was Gene Clark, who grew up in the Kansas City area.

Gene Clark (top right) was the Byrds' lead vocalist and main songwriter for the band's first two years.

Roger McGuinn’s electric 12-string was significant, but Clark contributed mightily as the co-lead vocalist (he and McGuinn often sang in unison), and as the band’s main songwriter. Out of the album’s 12 songs, Clark wrote or co-write five. They include I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better, an enduring classic of the era, and Here Without You and I’d Knew I’d Want You.

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Today in KC’s Music History: Gene Clark Born

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Happy birthday to Gene Clark, one of the greatest musicians ever to come from Kansas City, born on Nov. 17, 1944.

Through his contributions as one of the Byrds’ lead vocalists and its main songwriter, Gene helped create folk-rock. He wrote most of Eight Miles High, which lead to psychedelia. In his post-Byrds career, Clark’s work was essential to the development of country-rock and the singer-songwriter movement. When Tom Petty covered a Byrds song, he chose Clark’s Feel a Whole Lot Better. The jangly pop bands of the 1980s and ’90s owe a lot to Gene Clark.

Clark was born in Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City, but spent his childhood in Kansas City. Clark played in rock ‘n’ roll bands and became interested in folk music during its boom in the early 1960s. He played part-time in folk groups and worked as a golf course groundskeeper after he graduated from high school.

In August 1963, members of the New Christy Minstrels, then the country’s most popular folk group, were appearing in town when they heard Gene perform. He was invited to join the Christies and performed with them for about six months.

Clark landed in Los Angeles and soon met Roger McGuinn. Folkies who were smitten by the Beatles before the rest of the world was, they initially planned to perform as a duo. They then met David Crosby, which lead to the founding of the Byrds.

Gene Clark is buried in the town where he was born: Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City. (Photo by Dan Torchia)

Clark’s commercial peak was with the Byrds, but his solo career produced a lot of important music. As a member of the Byrds, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is only one of two Kansas City residents to be honored. (Big Joe Turner is the other.) Clark is also an inductee of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.

Gene died in May 1991 and is buried in Tipton. His headstone simply reads “No Other.”

Learn More
The Byrds: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Page

Gene Clark: Fan Page

David Crosby: Web Site

Roger McGuinn: Web Site

Introducing KC Music Tube

Writing about music is fine, but to experience the true essence of music, you need to listen to it or watch a performance. So I’ve started a new feature that I’m really excited about: KC Music Tube.

KC Music Tube collects the videos of KC music artists that are scattered all over the Internet (YouTube mostly). With video, you can see (and hear) what makes them so special.

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