John York: Still A High Flying Byrd
During his brief, one year tenure as the bass player for the legendary folk-rock band, The Byrds, John York began a flight into skies of rock music that would take him far beyond the ‘eight miles high’ his friend, Gene Clark, wrote about in the band’s famous song. He had already logged touring miles with Sir Douglas Quintet, Johnny Rivers and The Mamas and the Papas. He had also been active in the studio since his arrival in Los Angeles from New York in 1965 playing in sessions with Steppenwolf, Malvina Reynolds, The Mamas And The Papas. But, his time with The Byrds which last from September of 1968 until September of 1969 would be one of three major touring high points in his career. It was arguably, also, the band’s most productive period of touring and recording releasing three album’s with John York as bass player(Ballad of Easy Rider, Dr Jekyll and Mr Byrd and Live at the Filmore). Roger McGuinn was the sole remaning member of the original line up, which included Gene Clark. York came in to replace Chris Hillman on bass who had joined Gram Parsons in The Flying Burrito Bros. But the members on the 68-69 line-up of The Byrds carried their own legendary weight beginning with Clarence White, whose versality and exceptional ability on acoustic and electric guitar was unmatched by anyone in the music business at the time. Gene Parson’s lived in a drumming world of his own and John York on bass could sing harmony in a way that would have made him comfortable on the same stage with David Crosby. The band toured logging in more dates than any other Byrds line-up playing outdoor festivals during the summer of 69 and stellar line-ups at the Filmores on both coasts. They also made amusing appearances on Hugh Hefner’s short lived, Playboy After Dark, which can be seen today on Youtube. Unfortunately, internal group politics preveiled and in September of 1969 York would be placed by the equally talented Skip Batin.
John York’s post Byrds years were equally productive with