It is doubtful whether there is a more accurate music factman than author Christopher Hjort. In the entire history of music reference books, has there ever been anyone who paid as much attention to detail as this author? In all of his books - including
Jeff's Book, about guitarist Jeff Beck and Strange Brew, his ode to the British Blues from 1965-1970 - he has unearthed the most trifling information and built remarkable daily diaries on his subjects.
Here, he uncovers the flight pattern of the Byrds, starting in the summer of 1960 and running straight through 1973, when the final flurry of musical feathers floated back to earth. His sources of reference are of-the-era newspapers, magazines, music weeklies, miscellaneous publications, and even ragzines, throwaway fanzines that, given the focus of time, loom larger today than they ever did. There is information about more than 1,000 live performances, TV and radio appearances, and live recording sessions.
It is an extraordinary book. Every song, every album, every show, every member change
- everything is covered. And if there is a piece of the puzzle that doesn't readily fit, Hjort doesn't force it. In his introduction, he is bold and honest enough to admit,
"The reader must bear in mind that the information collected here is not complete nor is it without fault. Despite all efforts, some areas of Byrds history remains elusive. Gene Clark's brief return to the fold in late 1967, for example, is still not fully explained. In such instances, I have made informed guesses based on clues of varying reliability."
How refreshing is that? To hear an author admit that he may not know something. Additionally, every time he cites an article or interview or any type of previously published piece, he always gives credit to the original author. In fact, in his Jeff Beck book, he cites this writer several times, and gives full credit to Steven Rosen in every instance.
No one does what Christopher Hjort does - no one can, and no one else really wants to. It is a staggering amount of work
requiring hours and months of insane research and writing. The world needs a statistician and an interpreter of these facts. Hjort is that person. We're lucky he's around.