The Byrds

The Byrds • Ready Steady Go! • August 6, 1965 • No. 2


Rehearsals, Rediffusion Television Studios, Studio 1, Wembley, north-west London 

ITV’s Ready Steady Go! — Broadcast live, 6:08-7:00 pm

Left to right: David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Jim McGuinn, and Michael Clarke


The Story

The Byrds make their second British television appearance on this evening’s Ready Steady Go!, with live performances of ‘All I Really Want To Do’ and ‘Mr. Tambourine Man.’ 

Since topping the British charts in July with ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ the Los Angeles-based Byrds’ first visit to Britain is met with a mix of feverish anticipation and skepticism by the English music press.  The New Musical Express July 16 issue headline proclaims ‘Byrds Biggest Craze Since Beatles!,’ which promptly puts the group under media scrutiny. Some media outlets suggest The Byrds are merely Beatles copyists, and the British Musicians Union threatens to block the group’s entry into the country. Danger of overexposure is a concern even before the group sets foot in Britain, as Lulu complains to Disc: “I’m sick to death of that Byrds record. I think it’s been overexposed on radio stations. I’m looking forward to seeing them, though.” And by all accounts, the near entirety of the British pop scene eagerly awaits The Byrds’ arrival. 

High expectations often lead to disappointment. And from the moment their TWA flight touches down at London Airport, The Byrds, through a series of almost continuous missteps, fall well short of British expectations.

Also appearing on this week’s Ready Steady Go!: The Who (who perform as a three-piece without Roger Daltry, who is ill), Sonny and Cher, and Brian Poole & The Tremeloes (who can be seen in the background, likely sharing their opinions of the proceedings among themselves).

Photographer unconfirmed — likely Cyrus Andrews / Image formerly from the London Features International Ltd. - John Halsall archives 

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