The Byrds' Roger McGuinn Flys Solo at Smothers Theatre

“Music would be a very different place if it hadn’t been for Roger McGuinn.”  –Rolling Stone

The indisputable music icon Roger McGuinn returns to Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Thursday, October 5 at 8 p.m.

As a founding member of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn delivers a mesmerizing evening of story and song. From his signature 12-string Rickenbacker sound, to his instantly recognizable vocals on hits like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Eight Miles High” and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” McGuinn didn’t just make music—he made history.

Prior to forming the Byrds, McGuinn toured and performed folk music with the Limeliters, Chad Mitchell Trio and Bobby Darin as a guitarist and banjo player. After touring with singer Bobby Darin, McGuinn moved to New York at Darin’s request to work for his publishing company, TM Music, as a songwriter. He and Frank Gari co-wrote the song “Beach Ball,” and performed it with Darin, as the City Surfers, on a very rare single in July 1963.

After hearing the Beatles for the first time, McGuinn began playing folk songs to a rock beat in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village. His experiments in merging folk and rock didn’t please the folk purist, so he moved to Los Angeles to work at the Troubadour. It was after an opening set for Hoyt Axton that Gene Clark approached him with appreciation for his new musical blend. They started writing songs together in the folk den of the Troubadour. It wasn’t long before David Crosby joined them and added his unique concepts of harmony to the duo, thereby completing the underpinnings for one of the most influential bands of the ’60s.

Columbia Records signed the Byrds in January 1965 and they recorded their first number one hit, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” The band worked together until 1973, when Roger McGuinn disbanded the Byrds to pursue his dream of a solo career. He made five solo albums on Columbia Records.

Since 1981, McGuinn has regularly toured as a solo singer-guitarist. In 1991, Arista records released Back From Rio, a rock album that included his friends, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello, Chris Hillman, David Crosby, Michael Penn and John Jorgensen.

McGuinn’s one-man show, Live from Mars, was released on Hollywood Records in November 1996. The album includes two studio tracks, “May The Road Rise To Meet You,” and “Fireworks,” recorded in Minneapolis with members of the Jayhawks.

McGuinn’s 2002 record Treasures From The Folk Den, featuring duets with Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Odetta, Jean Ritchie, Josh White Jr., and Frank and Mary Hamilton, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album.

Roger McGuinn’s performance is sponsored by Mary and Tom Hawkins and is presented by the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University, which provides high-quality activities for over 50,000 people comprising 800 zip codes annually through performances, rehearsals, museum exhibitions and master classes. Located on Pepperdine’s breathtaking Malibu campus overlooking the Pacific, the center serves as a hub for the arts, uniquely linking professional guest artists with Pepperdine students and patrons from surrounding Southern California communities. Facilities include the 450-seat Smothers Theatre, the 118-seat Raitt Recital Hall, the “black box” Helen E. Lindhurst Theatre and the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art.

Tickets for Roger McGuinn’s October 5 performance start at $22 and are available at or by calling 310.506.4522.