Mudcat Café message #3668058 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155631   Message #3668058
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
11-Oct-14 - 07:34 AM
Thread Name: fifties popsongs that started as folk
Subject: RE: fifties popsongs that started as folk
(Jim) Roger McGuinn was a folk singer who emerged from folk music as the leader of The Byrds in 1964.

In 1957, he enrolled as a student at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, where he learned the five-string banjo and continued to improve his guitar skills. After graduation, McGuinn was hired as a sideman by folk music groups in the same vein as the Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Judy Collins.

"He Was a Friend of Mine" is a traditional folk song in which the singer laments the death of a friend. The earliest known version of the song is titled "Shorty George" (Roud 10055).

It was first recorded by John A. and Ruby Terrill Lomax in 1939 at the Clemens State Farm in Brazoria County, Texas in a version performed by African-American inmate Smith Casey.

McGuinn rewrote the song's lyrics in late 1963 to transform it into a eulogy for President Kennedy. The Byrds included a recording of "He Was a Friend of Mine" on their 1965 album Turn! Turn! Turn!. (Source; Wikipedia)