Chris Hillman

Many people don't know it, but Chris Hillman was one of the key innovators to spearhead the musical genre known as country-rock. A founding member of The Byrds, Hillman joined the LA based pioneering rock band in 1964 in Los Angeles, after years of playing a number of instruments in different bluegrass bands. When Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark decided to make the transition from acoustic trio to full blown rock band, it was their producer, Jim Dickson, who recommended Hillman (who by then was exploring rock 'n' roll) for the role of bassist. With Michael Clarke on drums, The Byrds debuted in 1965 with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," and the rest, as we know, is history.

Through the rock era of the 1960s, Hillman never lost his interest in country music. He stayed with The Byrds until 1970, when he formed The Flying Burrito Brothers with another Byrds alumnus, Gram Parsons. After Parson's untimely death in 1973, Hillman played with Stephen Stills' Manassas, and then in a band with Poco's Richie Furray and JD Souther. In addition, he did a number of reunion albums and tours with The Byrds and members McGuinn, Clark, and Crosby.

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