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So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star

by

The Byrds



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was a tongue-in-cheek treatise on fame and the Pop music industry. Many interpreted it as a swipe at the success of manufactured rock bands like The Monkees, but Roger McGuinn has confirmed that he and Chris Hillman were not writing about about The Monkees, but instead the whole Pop music business.
The recording was dubbed with the sound of screaming girls, taped at a Byrds show in Bournemouth, England during the band's 1965 UK tour.
South African Jazz musician Hugh Masekela contributed the clarion trumpet solo. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
The Byrds
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Comments (8):

On January 22nd 1967 "So You Want To Be A Rock 'N Roll Star" by the Byrds entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 26th it peaked at #36 and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
It was track 1 of side 1 on the group fourth studio album, 'Younger Than Yesterday', the album reached #24 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart and spent almost a half-year on the chart (24 weeks)...
Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "My Back Pages" (#30) and "Have You Seen Her Face" (#74).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
This song rings even more true today then when it was written.With Rap music and hip hop and dance music one need not learn how to play an istrument or know anything about songwriting.
- brian, boston, MA
Ok, now I have. And it does have lyrics. Why the Royal Guardsmen didn't put any lyrics to it, I can't figure out. Anyhow, both the Byrds and Royal Guardsmen rock! Long live they!
- Andy, B'ham, AL
I've actually never heard this version that I recall. But I've heard the Royal Guardsmen cover version, which took place roughly in '70. It has no lyrics. I couldn't tell you whether or not this one has any lyrics or is an instrumental as well.
- Andy, B'ham, AL
It's just as easy to become a pop act now as it was back in 1967. Look at...Paris Hilton for example.
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
Looks like not much has changed in the music business.
- Madison, Norway, ME
I seem to remember seeing Chris Hillman on VH1's "My Generation" years ago, and Peter Noone asked him if it's true that the song is a dig at the Monkees. Hillman said that even though he'd been denying it for 20 years, he admitted it was.
- Sean, Chicago, IL
The byrds performed this song at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in JUne of 67. Summer of LOve babay!
- Cam, Cambridge, Canada
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