John York (musician)

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John York
Birth nameJohn York Foley
Born (1946-08-03) August 3, 1946 (age 77)
White Plains, New York, U.S.
GenresRock, country rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, guitar, oud, vocals
Years active1965–present
LabelsTribe, Columbia, Debris, Taxim

John York Foley (born August 3, 1946)[1] is an American bassist and guitarist. He is best known for his work with the Byrds.


Prior to joining the Byrds, John York was a member of the Bees and the Sir Douglas Quintet, and also worked as a session musician for the Mamas & the Papas and Johnny Rivers.[2] He was also the bassist in ex-Byrd Gene Clark's touring band.[2]

York joined The Byrds in September 1968, as a replacement for the band's original bass player Chris Hillman.[3] He remained with the group until September 1969, when he was replaced by Skip Battin.[4]

Despite only being with the Byrds for a year, his bass playing and singing appear on two of the group's studio albums, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde and Ballad of Easy Rider, as well as on the non-album single "Lay Lady Lay".[1] He wrote "Fido", which appears on Ballad of Easy Rider, and co-wrote "Candy", which is included on Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde.[4][5] He also appears on the Columbia/Legacy Byrds' live album Live at the Fillmore - February 1969.[6]

Following his departure from the Byrds, York worked with Clark during the mid-1980s, along with Pat Robinson, in the group CRY.[7] He served as an integral member of the Tribute to the Byrds band along with Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Rick Roberts and others in the mid to late 1980s.[citation needed]

York has maintained a lengthy career as a guitarist and bass player, and since the 1980s has worked with artists including Chris Darrow, Katie Trickett, Steven T., Nick Binkley, and Carla Olson, among others.[8]

In 1988, he recorded a number of songs with fellow ex-Byrds bass player Skip Battin, and these recordings were issued as the Family Tree album in 2001.[8] He released three solo albums, Sacred Path Songs (1991), Claremont Dragon (1998), and Arigatou Baby (2006),[8] and recorded the albums Clan Mother Songs with Jamie Sams, and Koto with Yukiko Matsuyama.[9] In 2008, York teamed-up with singer-songwriter Barry McGuire for a live tour entitled Trippin' the 60's.

Selected discography[edit]

The Bees[edit]

Sir Douglas Quintet[edit]

  • "She Digs My Love"/"When I Sing the Blues" (7" single – 1966)

The Byrds[edit]

The Museuns[edit]

  • "Train in the Desert"/"Sweet Names of Spanish Ladies" (7" single – circa 1974–1976)

John York[edit]

  • Sacred Path Songs (1991)
  • Clan Mother Songs [with Jamie Sams] (1992)
  • Claremont Dragon (1998)
  • Koto [with Yukiko Matsuyama] (2003)
  • Arigatou Baby (2006)
  • West Coast Revelation [with Kim Fowley] (2007)
  • Trippin' the 60's: The Show Songs Live [with Barry McGuire] (2009)
  • West Coast Revelation [with Kim Fowley] (GRA Records; 2011)[10]


  • After the Storm (2000)

Family Tree[edit]

Selected album guest appearances[edit]

  • The Mamas & the PapasThe Papas & The Mamas (1968)
  • Jack Street Band – Jack Street Band (1982)
  • Katie Trickett – The Next Time (1994)
  • Mojave – Tumbleweed Circuit (1995)
  • Peter LewisPeter Lewis (1995)
  • Nick Binkley – Pin Stripe Brain (1996)
  • Chris Darrow – Coyote + Straight from the Heart (1997)
  • Chris Darrow and Max Buda – Harem Girl (1998)
  • Anita Kruse – Creation Flight (1998)
  • Toulouse Engelhardt and Remi Kabaka – A Child's Guide to Einstein (2004)
  • Steven T. – Damage (2004)
  • Carla OlsonHave Harmony, Will Travel (2013) ~ John sings lead on 2 songs: "First In Line" (written by Paul Kennerley) and "Upon A Painted Ocean" (written by P. F. Sloan). He also plays guitar on the album including on the Richie Furay/Carla Olson version of Gene Clark's "She Don't Care About Time".


  1. ^ a b "John York Biography". Taxim Records. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Rogan, Johnny (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited (2nd ed.). Rogan House. p. 279. ISBN 0-9529540-1-X.
  3. ^ Hjort, Christopher (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965–1973). Jawbone Press. pp. 190–191. ISBN 978-1-906002-15-2.
  4. ^ a b Rogan, Johnny (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited (2nd ed.). Rogan House. pp. 295–299. ISBN 0-9529540-1-X.
  5. ^ Rogan, Johnny (1997). Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde (CD booklet). The Byrds. Columbia/Legacy.
  6. ^ Fricke, David (2000). "Knights on the Road". Live at the Fillmore – February 1969 (CD booklet). The Byrds. Columbia/Legacy.
  7. ^ Einarson, John (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of The Byrds' Gene Clark. Backbeat Books. pp. 264–265. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.
  8. ^ a b c "John York Discography". Byrds Flyght. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  9. ^ "John York Bio". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  10. ^ "John York on Outsight Radio Hours". Retrieved July 19, 2015.

External links[edit]