Monday, November 17, 2008
A gifted American singer-songwriter, Gene Clark (born Harold Eugene Clark in Tipton, Missouri, November 17, 1944) was one of the founding members of the folk-rock group The Byrds.
Gene Clark is best remembered for his association with the Byrds between 1964 and 1966 but there was much more to his body of work than that legacy. A prolific songwriter and singer with a distinctive style, he created a large catalog of music in several genres. He was one of the earliest exponents of baroque pop, newgrass, country rock and alternative country. Sadly despite this, he failed to achieve great commercial success.
Gene announced on March 1, 1966 that he was quitting the Byrds.He already had a backlog of hundreds of songs, was writing new material all the time, and was eager to start a solo career.
In late 1966 Gene recorded his first solo album, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers.
Unfortunately, bad timing at Columbia put the album out the same week of February 1967 as the newest Byrds album, creating an unnecessary competition between the two camps.This was a shame, as it was a fine release with several strong tracks.
In the late 1980's, Clark began to develop serious health problems; he had ulcers, aggravated by years of heavy drinking (often used to alleviate his chronic travel anxiety, caused by undiagnosed Bipolar disorder), and in 1988 he underwent surgery, during which much of his stomach and intestines had to be removed.A period of abstinence and recovery followed until Tom Petty's cover of "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," on his 1989 album Full Moon Fever, yielded a huge amount of royalty money to Clark who quickly reverted to massive drug and alcohol abuse.Clark's health continued to decline as his drinking accelerated and on May 24, 1991 Gene Clark died at the age of 46, the coroner declaring that he succumbed as a result of "natural causes" brought on by a bleeding ulcer.
In 2007, two of his songs were recorded by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on the T-Bone Burnett produced Raising Sand: "Polly Come Home" and "Through the Morning, Through the Night."