The Birds - Biography

The Birds were a mod group who cut four singles during their short existence. Several of their members went on to enjoy much higher profiles in their subsequent bands.


In 1963, young Yiewsley, West London neighbors Tony Munroe, Ron Wood and Kim Gardener began playing together in a band with Bob Langham and Peter Hocking called The Thunderbirds. Soon, they were performing a mix of covers and Ron Wood compositions, they played at the local community center before graduating to the club circuit. In April of the following year, they were scheduled to share a bill with Chris Farlowe, whose backup band was also called The Thunderbirds, so the trio shortened their name to The Birds; A decision which would soon somewhat oddly intertwine the Yankophile soulsters’ storty with that of the Los Angeles-based, Anglophile folk-rockers The Beefeater, who changed their name to The Byrds that November. Meanwhile, after they played in a battle-of-the-bands, despite not winning they were invited to appear on Ready, Steady, Go. That, in turn, led to a contract at Decca, who released their first single, “You’re On My Mind” b/w “You Don’t Love Me (You Don’t Care)” in November.


In the spring of 1965, they released their follow-up, “Leaving Here” b/w “Next in Line” which they again performed on television. As their stature grew, they were supported by the likes of The Pretty Things and The Tridents. In March, they received equal billing with The Who. That same spring, The Byrds’ single “Mr. Tambourine Man” reached the top position on the UK singles chart and they traveled to England for their first British tour that August. The Birds’ manager, Leo de Clerk, served the American band with an injunction. The Byrds kept their name and The Birds left their manager soon after. They released on last single for Decca late in the year. “No Good without You Baby” b/w “How Can It Be.” After that they flew the coop and signed with Reaction Records, where Robert Stigwood convinced them to change their name to The Birds Birds.


In 1966, The Birds Birds released “Say Those Magic Words” b/w “Daddy Daddy” with well known session drummer Clem Cattini filling in for Langham. Munroe soon followed the drummer’s lead. By the time The Birds appeared in the horror film, The Deadly Bees (performing “That’s All I Need”), they’d already broken up. Gardner and Wood joined another mod group, The Creation. Wood soon left and then joined The Jeff Beck Group and The Faces. After a 1974 solo album, I've got My Own Album to Do, he joined The Rolling Stones in 1976 on the apparent condition that he forsake his Mod past and never wear anything less-than hideous ever again. The Collector's Guide To Rare British Birds (1999 Deram) contains the bulk of The Birds’ demos, unissued songs, alternate takes amd evem backing tracks.

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