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gblowfish
10-04-2011, 11:00 AM
I was reading about the group The Byrds today. I discovered Gene Clark was the main songwriter for the Byrds and one of the founding band members. Eventually he flipped out -he had serious travel anxiety-and left the band. Background from Wiki:

Early life

Born in Tipton, Missouri, the third of thirteen children, Clark began learning the guitar from his father at age nine and was soon picking out Hank Williams tunes as well as material by early rockers such as Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers. Before long he was writing his own songs and, at 13, joined a local rock and roll combo, Joe Meyers and the Sharks. Like many of his generation, Clark developed an interest in folk music because of the popularity of the Kingston Trio. Clark graduated from Bonner Springs High School in Bonner Springs, Kansas in 1962.

Formation of The Byrds

He began performing with several folk groups working out of Kansas City at the Castaways Lounge, owned by Hal Harbaum, where he was discovered by The New Christy Minstrels, in August 1963, who hired him for their ensemble and with whom he remained for six months. After hearing the Beatles, Clark quit the Christys and moved to Los Angeles where he met fellow folkie/Beatles convert Jim (later Roger) McGuinn at the Troubadour Club and in early 1964 they began to assemble a band that would become The Byrds.

Gene Clark wrote or co-wrote many of The Byrds' best-known originals, 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".

Later career, illness and death

His solo album "So Rebellious a Lover" became a modest commercial success, but Clark began to develop serious health problems; he had ulcers, aggravated by years of heavy drinking (often used to alleviate his chronic travel anxiety). In 1988, he underwent surgery, during which much of his stomach and intestines had to be removed.

A period of abstinence and recovery followed until Tom Petty's cover of "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" on his 1989 album Full Moon Fever yielded a huge amount of royalty money to Clark who quickly reverted to drug and alcohol abuse. The Byrds set aside their differences long enough to appear together at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in January 1991, where the original lineup performed several songs together, including Clark's "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better".

However, Clark's health continued to decline as his drinking accelerated. He died of a heart attack on May 24, 1991 at age 46. He was buried in Tipton under a simple headstone inscribed "Harold Eugene Clark - No Other."