Michael Clarke (musician)

Michael Clarke (Musician)

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Michael Clarke (musician)

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Michael Clarke (born Michael James Dick, June 3, 1946 – December 19, 1993), was an American musician, best known as the drummer for the 1960s rock group The Byrds from 1964 to 1967. He died in 1993, at age 47, from liver failure, a direct result of more than three decades of heavy alcohol consumption.


Clarke was born Michael James Dick in Spokane, Washington. His father was an artist and his mother was a musician. Clarke ran away from home when he was 17 years old and hitchiked to California to become a musician. In legend, Clarke was said to have been discovered by Byrds' founder David Crosby while playing bongos on the beach. In fact he was discovered by singer-songwriter Ivan Ulz, in North Beach, San Francisco and was introduced to other group members by Ulz.

Clarke was not an accomplished musician prior to joining The Byrds. He had never played drums and, after joining The Byrds, not having a drum set, practiced on cardboard boxes and a tambourine. According to lead guitarist Roger McGuinn's web site, Clarke was hired by McGuinn and Gene Clark (no relation) for his resemblance to Rolling Stones' guitarist Brian Jones. Clarke's strength as a drummer is considered to be illustrated by his jazz-oriented playing on The Byrds' "Eight Miles High", on the Fifth Dimension album.

Unlike the other members of The Byrds, Clarke was not a songwriter. His...
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