Sweetheart of the Rodeo

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Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Studio album by The Byrds


July 29, 1968

Label (s) Columbia

Format (s)


Genre (s)

Country rock , folk rock

Title (number)


running time

32 min 26 s



Gary Usher

Studio (s)

Columbia Studio, Nashville

The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Sweetheart of the Rodeo Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde

Sweetheart of the Rodeo is the sixth studio album by the American folk rock band The Byrds ; their 7th album overall. It was released on July 29, 1968 on Columbia Records . In the United States, the album reached number 77 on the pop charts. Despite the album's rather disappointing sales figures, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is considered one of the most influential albums in rock history, as it made an entire genre, country rock , known to the masses.

Although the Byrds had already brought country elements into their music on Younger Than Yesterday and The Notorious Byrd Brothers , they were far more economical than on Sweetheart of the Rodeo , which is why this was the band's first country rock album (and one of the first ever) went down in music history. Today the album is considered a rock classic, it reached on the 2003 by Rolling Stone compiled list of 500 best albums of all time Place 119th


By the 1960s the gap between country and rock had become insurmountable. It was a sensation when Bob Dylan , who had already recorded his album Blonde on Blonde with local session musicians in Nashville in 1966, produced an album with John Wesley Harding at the end of 1967 that had clear country elements. A scene with country-loving rock musicians had also sprung up in California during these years. In September 1967 the International Submarine Band around the long-haired and hippie-like country musician Gram Parsons released the LP Safe at Home , which already had all the characteristics of country rock, but was largely ignored.

History of origin

After Michael Clarke and David Crosby left the Byrds in 1967 , Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman remained the only two members of the band. Hillman, whose musical influences came mainly from the country, managed to smuggle Gram Parsons into the band in early 1968.

McGuinn originally had the idea of ​​recording a double album that would present the history of music in the USA from hillbilly to bluegrass to electronic space music in chronological order. They went to Nashville, where the band was supplemented by local session musicians on Parson's recommendation. From that moment on, the Byrds were practically nothing but country musicians and an isolated Roger McGuinn. The first part of the double LP was completed under Parson's leadership in Nashville, the second, electronically oriented, was to be produced in Los Angeles. It never came to that. Parsons got out immediately before a tour of South Africa. The band had to play the concerts without their musical head and almost broke up because of this task. Completion of the second half of the double album was out of the question.

The record company released the completed songs as an album called Sweetheart of the Rodeo . The cover was taken from a mail order catalog for cowboy items from 1937. Due to contractual disputes with Lee Hazlewood , the rights holder of the "International Submarine Band" material, Gram Parson's contributions were subsequently reduced. Only two of his songs, Hickory Wind and One Hundred Years From Now , were considered. Hickory Wind , the only track where the voice of Gram Parson can be heard, is considered the highlight of the album.


Despite the poor sales, Columbia Records released two singles from Sweetheart of the Rodeo . You Ain't Going Nowhere was released on April 2nd, before the album was released. The song peaked at number 74 on the American singles chart. The B-side Artificial Energy came from the previous Byrds album The Notorious Byrd Brothers . Then on September 2nd I Am a Pilgrim / Pretty Boy Floyd came out, which did not hit the charts.

Track list

A side

  1. You Ain't Going Nowhere (Bob Dylan) - 2:38
  2. I Am a Pilgrim ( Traditional ; Arrangement: Chris Hillman / Roger McGuinn) - 3:42
  3. The Christian Life ( Charles Louvin / Ira Louvin ) - 2:33 (original version by the Louvin Brothers )
  4. You Don't Miss Your Water ( William Bell ) - 3:51
  5. You're Still on My Mind ( Luke McDaniel ) - 2:26
  6. Pretty Boy Floyd ( Woody Guthrie ) - 2:37

B side

  1. Hickory Wind (Gram Parsons / Bob Buchanan ) - 3:34
  2. One Hundred Years From Now (Gram Parsons) - 2:43
  3. Blue Canadian Rockies ( Cindy Walker ) - 2:05
  4. Life in Prison ( Merle Haggard / J. Sanders) - 2:47
  5. Nothing Was Delivered (Bob Dylan) - 3:34


On March 25, 1997, Columbia released the album on CD with the following bonus tracks :

  1. You Got a Reputation ( Tim Hardin ) - 3:08
  2. Lazy Days (Gram Parsons) - 3:26
  3. Pretty Polly (Chris Hillman / Roger McGuinn) - 2:53
  4. The Christian Life (Charles Louvin / Ira Louvin) - 2:55 (alternative version)
  5. Life in Prison (Merle Haggard / J. Sanders) - 2:58 (alternative version)
  6. You're Still on My Mind (Luke McDaniel) - 2:29 (alternative version)
  7. One Hundred Years From Now (Gram Parsons) - 3:20 (alternative version)
  8. All I Have Is Memories (ED Hewitt, RJ Ledford) - 2:49 (instrumental)

Individual evidence

  1. entry in thevinyldistrict.com
  2. Levy, Joe (Ed.): Rolling Stone. The 500 best albums of all time . (Original edition: Rolling Stone. The 500 Greatest Albums of all Time . Wenner Media 2005). Translation: Karin Hofmann. Wiesbaden: White Star Verlag, 2011, p. 112

Web links