The Byrds’ Classic Album “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Photo Credit:  Alysse Gafkjen

The Byrds’ groundbreaking album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, celebrates its 50th birthday. The album is widely considered to be one of the most influential country rock albums of all time, and credited with giving rise to the genre. In 2003, the album was ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums. Read People Magazine’s recent oral history of the album here and McGuinn’s and Hillman’s interview about the album with The Washington Post here.

Byrds co-founders, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman are currently on tour performing Sweetheart of the Rodeo in its entirety in cities including NYC, Nashville, and Austin (full dates below, with more to be announced soon). For tickets and more details, see venue information below. Along with cuts from Sweetheart of the Rodeo McGuinn and Hillman also sing some other favorites from their long recording careers. The pair will be joined on stage for the tour by country legends Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Stuart himself plays the famous 1954 Fender Telecaster originally owned by legendary country-rock pioneer Clarence White, a performer on Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

McGuinn, Hillman, and Stuart recently recorded an exclusive one-hour “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” 50th anniversary radio special for SiriusXM Outlaw Country (channel 60) which will re-aired this Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd at  1 pm & 11 pm ET. Listen to excerpts from the wide-ranging conversation where the trio discuss the infamous night the Byrds performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1968, and the addition of Gram Parsons to the band’s lineup.

“On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I along with many fantastic musicians began recording the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album at Columbia Studios in Nashville,” says Chris Hillman. ”It was truly a pivotal moment in our lives taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We are honored that it has left a strong, long lasting impression on country and rock music. To celebrate this special time with Roger, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives is such a blessing on this, the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”

Roger McGuinn adds: “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo with a group  of my favorite musicians is an honor. I can’t wait to be on stage with Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and those Fabulous Superlatives! We’re all looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording. The concert will include songs that led up to that ground breaking trip to Nashville and all the songs from the album.”

Marty Stuart said about the influence the album had on him: “The Bryds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeorecording stands as a milestone in American music. I bought my first copy of the record in 1972. Upon my first listen, I was mesmerized at the effect of the combined power Country music, Rock & Roll, Bluegrass, Gospel and Folk music had on me. From that day forward, I considered  Sweetheart of the Rodeo a blueprint as to how I should live my musical life. It is truly an honor for me and the Superlatives to get to go out and play music from Sweetheart with Roger and Chris. We love and greatly admire both of them and I have to believe this is a show not to be missed.”

Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Tour Dates 
(click through each date for tickets)
Sep 09 /// Folly Theatre /// Kansas City, MO
Sep 12 ///  Historic Gillioz Theatre /// Springfield , MO
Sep 17 /// Albany, NY /// Hart Theater @ The Egg
Sep 18 /// Albany, NY /// Hart Theater @ The Egg [Sold Out]
Sep 20 /// Hopewell, VA /// Beacon Theatre [Sold Out]
Sep 23 /// New York, NY /// Town Hall
Sep 24 /// New York, NY /// Town Hall [Sold Out]
Sep 26 /// Boston, MA /// The Emerson Colonial Theatre
Oct 1 /// Louisville, KY /// Brown Theatre
Oct 3 /// Akron, OH /// Akron Civic
Oct 8 /// Nashville, TN /// The Ryman Auditorium [Sold Out]
Oct 10 /// Roanoke, VA  /// The Jefferson Center [Sold Out]
Oct 15 /// Durham Performing Arts Center /// Durham, NC
Oct 21 /// Byers Theatre /// Atlanta, GA
Oct 23 /// EKU Center For The Arts/// Richmond, VA
Oct 30 /// Carnegie Music Hall Of Homestead /// Munhall, PA
Nov 09 /// Majestic Theatre /// Dallas, TX
Nov 10 /// Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater /// Austin, TX
More dates to be announced soon.