Byrds co-founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman kicked off their Sweetheart of the Rodeo tour Wednesday night in L.A.
McGuinn credits The Beatles for helping inspire the first iconic country rock album. He tells Variety, "I heard Ringo Starr do a Buck Owens song, ‘Act Naturally’, and I thought, if The Beatles can get away with a country beat, the Byrds can, too." But he adds that their interest in country began even earlier -- they covered Porter Wagoner's "Satisfied Mind" on their second album.
Hillman cites a different Beatles song: "We heard them doing ‘Falling, yes I am falling…’"
The encore at the Ace Hotel also tipped its hat to the late Tom Petty. McGuinn, who once covered "American Girl," brought out Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers to join the band. Hillman, whose recent solo album was produced by Petty, then performed Tom's song "Wildflowers." And Marty Stuart, co-starring with McGuinn and Hillman, added "Running Down a Dream."
The Sweetheart of the Rodeo tour will reach New York's Town Hall September 26th and the Ryman in Nashville October 8th.