White Light – Gene Clark
Of the original members of The Byrds: Roger McQuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke, possibly the most talented and under appreciated was Gene Clark He wrote many of the bands original hits including: “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, “Set You Free This Time”, “Here Without You”, “If You’re Gone”, “The World Turns All Around Her”, “She Don’t Care About Time” and “Eight Miles High”. He also played harmonica for the band, too (notably on “Set You Free This Time”). He left the band in 1966 when he couldn’t tour with the band because of his severe phobia of flying. From Wikipedia:
Bassist Chris Hillman noted years later in various interviews remembering Gene: “People don’t give enough credit to Gene Clark. He came up with the most incredible lyrics. I don’t think I appreciated Gene Clark as a songwriter until the last two years. He was awesome! He was heads above us! Roger wrote some great songs then, but Gene was coming up with lyrics that were way beyond what he was. He wasn’t a well-read man in that sense, but he would come up with these beautiful phrases. A very poetic man–very, very productive. He would write two or three great songs a week”. “He was the songwriter. He had the “gift” that none of the rest of us had developed yet…. What deep inner part of his soul conjured up songs like “Set You Free This Time,” “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better,” “I’m Feelin’ Higher,” “Eight Miles High”? So many great songs! We learned a lot of songwriting from him and in the process learned a little bit about ourselves. At one time, he was the power in the Byrds, not McGuinn, not Crosby—it was Gene who would burst through the stage curtain banging on a tambourine, coming on like a young Prince Valiant. A hero, our savior. Few in the audience could take their eyes off this presence.”
As the other band members went on to big careers after the 1973 final break-up of the band, David Crosby with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Chris Hillman with The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Desert Rose Band and one of my favorites The Souther Hillman and Furay Band, Gene Clark produced some critically acclaimed albums but did not find commercial success. The album White Light was one of those albums. The album has always been a favorite and while the whole album is great the stand-out tracks to me are the title track “White Light”, “The Virgin”, “With Tomorrow” and “Because of You”. You can listen to them at Last.fm on the left sidebar. At Me. Myself, Music and Mysteries
In 1973, the reformed Byrds released an album titled The Byrds and Clark was responsible for a couple of the best tracks including “Full Circle” and “Changing Heart”. “Full Circle” has always been a favorite of mine.
Clark passed away in 1991 at the age of 46 from a heart attack after years of deteriorating health from his drug use and drinking (one way he could fly).
Anyway, give the tracks from White Light a listen and let me know what you think and does anyone have a favorite album that they feel no one else appreciated?