This Byrd Has Flown?

Today I heard on the radio Don McLean’s 1972 number one smash “American Pie”. In the famous lyrics of the song, he makes reference to The Byrds:

“The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast”

There are many anecdotes about the relationship of The Beatles and The Byrds. I will touch upon two of them.

When George Harrison invited The Byrds to his Hyde Park home, he showed Roger McGuinn, the Byrds’ guitarist, the Rickenbacker guitar he had used in A Hard Days Night and the things it did for him. From that day on, McGuinn used a Rickenbacker.

On the Fab Four’s 1965 tour of the U.S., David Crosby introduced George Harrison to both the sitar and the music of sitar legend Ravi Shankar. The rest is history as Harrison became fascinated with both the sitar and Indian music. This introduction culminated in Harrison using the sitar in “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) on Rubber Soul, the first ever time a sitar ever appeared on a pop record.

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