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The History of 'Eight Miles High'

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(2 votes - 3,724 views)
Posted on February 21st, 2012 at 7:09 pm

"Eight Miles High" was The Byrds' third -- and final -- top 20 hit. But why were there two versions of the song? Why was it briefly banned from radio? And which famous musician's instrument is emulated in it?

Byrds' co-founder Roger McGuinn reveals all!

In this exclusive Growing Bolder video, we visit Roger at home and discuss the story behind the song.

He breaks down the two versions -- the RCA version and the Columbia Records version -- and explains why both existed. He also reveals whether he has a favorite.

Plus, find out which musicians, particularly a famous jazz musician, inspired the RCA version.

And what was the song really about? A famous report claimed it was about drug use. Roger sets the record straight.

He'll also play his latest interpretation of the song, which you might recognize as the theme song of the Growing Bolder TV Show!

Ready to keep rocking? Check out more with Roger:

-- Eight Miles High: Historic Home Movie Discovered

-- Roger plays "The Politician Song"

-- Inside the Folk Den Project

-- Draggin' 'Cross the USA

-- Childhood Gift Changed Music History

-- The Boss and the Byrd

-- Roger's Priceless Photo

-- Roger's Eco-Friendly Way to Stay Cool

-- Roger McGuinn in the Growing Bolder Studios: A One-Hour History of Rock and Roll

Entertainment - Music, GB Topics, Entertainment, GB Exclusives - GB Rocks, GB Topics - Big Names, GB Topics - The Way It Was, Syndication - Orlando Sentinel

london - roger mcguinn - eight miles high - ravi shankar - john coltrane - the byrds - andres sogovia

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  • Posted 4:13am March 9th, 2012

    Thank you Roger, for sharing some more details with us about the ever fascinating story of "Eight Miles High".

    The musical heritage you have left to us with ALL you did is immense, and you always did a great job. No matter if it's your guitar style, your songwriting, your vocals, your high standards of sound, your re-mastering efforts on the Byrds recordings or your computer skills: you were (and you still are!) always at least one big step ahead of the time, not always to your own advantage. Whichever way you would choose to go had been a guideline to the steps I would take for my own, and it has remained that way to this very day.

    A little personal note: I bought the original German single as shown in this video way back when in a little bookstore around the corner were I lived. It was an item, which even then was extremely hard to obtain here, and I don't remember to have ever been so happy about a deal (sounds great in MONO!). 


    Christoph Deschner

  • Posted 3:33pm March 8th, 2012

     M.F. Foster....now THAT was an interesting story! An exploding Country Gentlemen on stage while playing "Eight Miles High", man you must have really been strumming! I've got a RIC 360 6 string that I've never had a problem with.

    Anyway, this was a great article and incredible interview with Roger. I have posted it on my Facebook Page - "Wild" Bill Cody and also a Facebook page I put together called "Byrd's Enthusiasts", it's a closed site but we have 97 members that know more about the Byrds than perhaps Roger . Anyway, two thumbs up for Growing Bolder and I hope it's "growing" because of me! Keep the McGuinn stories and vids coming and Marc, my hat off to you sir!

    "Wild" Bill Cody

  • Posted 12:08pm March 8th, 2012

    This is a very interesting piece concerning a song that had a great influence on my early guitar work-I had no idea that two versions existed and just listened to the RCA cut. While I consider both brilliant, I tend to favor Roger's 12 string work on the RCA version-there appears to be more passion in his playing and more drama to the lead lines. 

    Of possible interest to Roger...I demolished a Country Gentleman on stage in 1967 attempting to duplicate his sound...the neck totally came off the guitar in the midst of the lead to 8 Miles High-while I never reached his sound, I'm afraid I created a new one-the 'sprong' of strings through an echo chamber and a Fender Showman as the guitar exploded!

    My highest respect to one of the most innovative musicians of our generation -MF Foster

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