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Boyd, Joe 1942-

Boyd, Joe 1942-


Born 1942. Education: Harvard University, graduated, 1964.


Home—London, England. Agent—Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, 255 W. 108th St., No. 9D1, New York, NY 10025.


Writer, record producer, music industry executive, band manager, tour and concert organizer, and film producer. Worked as head of music for Warner Brothers films. Worked as a production and tour manager for George Wein in Europe. UFO (a music club), London, England, cofounder, 1966. Hannibal Records (a music recording label), founder; Witchseason (a production company), founder. Scandal (a feature film), executive producer, 1988.


White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s (memoir), Serpent's Tail (London, England), 2006.


Joe Boyd is a music producer, band manager, tour organizer, and music industry insider whose efforts had a tremendous influence on the diverse folk rock that emerged in the 1960s. An American by birth, Boyd often centered his work on the British bands and musical acts that were a staple of radio in the 1960s and 1970s, and which remain mainstays of classic radio today. Boyd was involved in some of the defining moments of modern rock music. In his memoir, White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s, Boyd recalls the dramas, traumas, successes, and setbacks involved in creating the powerful music that defined a generation and remains a hallmark of lyrical and musical creativity.

Born in 1942, Boyd graduated from Harvard in 1964. After graduation, he joined noted music impresario George Wein and served as a production and tour manager in Europe for blues acts such as Muddy Waters, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, and others, noted a biographer on Boyd's home page. Two years later, he had become a record producer; his first production was four songs by Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, noted his biographer. He opened a major nightclub and live music venue, UFO, in London, and there showcased the work of many British folk music acts. Over the course of his career as a producer, Boyd produced music for a diverse group of rock and folk- rock musicians, including early tracks for Pink Floyd; works for iconic folk rockers such as Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Maria Muldaur, the Incredible String Band, and Richard and Linda Thompson; and later acts such as REM, 10,000 Maniacs, and Taj Mahal.

Boyd later became the head of music for Warner Brothers Films, where he was responsible for putting together the scoring for well-known films such as Deliverance, A Clockwork Orange, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, according to his home page biographer. He started his own music label, Hannibal Records, which he operated for twenty years, and which concentrated on international musical acts such as Ali Farka Toure and Cubanismo. In the late 1980s, he became a film producer, working as executive producer on the motion picture Scandal.

In White Bicycles, Boyd describes in depth his early career, the influences that drove him to become a champion of folk music and folk- rock, the groups he knew and worked with, and the state of music in the socially conscious, politically tumultuous, freewheeling era of the late 1960s in Britain and America. Boyd's move to London occurred in the mid-1960s, when he found himself "disillusioned with what he felt was the mediocre state of American pop music," noted a biographer on PRI's The World Web site. This fateful move put Boyd on his multifaceted career track, ensuring his deep involvement in the important music of an era. Throughout his memoir, he provides background information on important developments of the day, and places both himself and the music he helped produce into the context of the culture in which the music was created. Though he was frequently deeply involved in music history, Boyd notes that his goal was not to be a star, but simply to be a record producer.

Boyd describes his involvement in important events that helped to redefine some of the fundamental concepts of folk and rock music. He was production manager for Bob Dylan when the seminal folk rocker first used electric instruments at the venerable Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Though it may be difficult to understand today, the introduction of electric instruments at Newport was highly controversial, leading to Dylan being called a traitor to folk music. Though his career thrived, his electric set at Newport forever changed conceptions of folk music, folk- rock, and how the music could be played.

"Not only does Boyd know everybody, but he has an extraordinary memory of them all," remarked an interviewer on the Pitchfork Web site. "In White Bicycles, he describes all these famous and semi-famous people with a quick wit, demurring tone, insider's insight, and a sharp eye for details. His memoir is not only essential for anyone interested in the music and culture of the sixties, but a fascinating read in and of itself." The book is a "deftly turned, Zelig-like tale that brings a fresh eye to a romanticized era. It works both as an insightful social history and as a trove of captivating anecdotes," commented Philadelphia Inquirer critic Dan Deluca. A Kirkus Reviews contributor named it a "brisk, wised-up and highly entertaining consideration of a crucial musical epoch's many facets." New Statesman reviewer Hanif Kureishi commented: "This engaging and readable book is an important addition to the history of its time, mostly because of Boyd's temperament," and concluded that Boyd is "enough of a writer to do a difficult thing: to describe what it was like to be involved in a period which, more and more, seems to have shaped our present world."



Boyd, Joe, White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s, Serpent's Tail (London, England), 2006.


Guardian (London, England), May 15, 2006, Mark Ellen, "Bob, the Floyd, Sid, and Me," review of White Bicycles.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of White Bicycles, p. 58.

New Statesman, April 24, 2006, Hanif Kureishi, "The Drift Generation: Hanif Kureishi Looks Back on the Wildly Creative Period That Shaped Our Present World," review of White Bicycles, p. 48.

New Yorker, April 2, 2007, Nick Paumgarten, "The Man Who Was There," review of White Bicycles.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 2007, Dan Deluca, "'60s Music: He Was There, and Made His Mark," review of White Bicycles.

Rolling Stone, March 8, 2007, David Frickle, review of White Bicycles, p. 18.

Times Literary Supplement, July 14, 2006, James Campbell, review of White Bicycles, p. 30.


Comment Is Free Web log, (July 11, 2006), Jon Dennis, "Syd Barrett: A True Rock Legend," interview with Joe Boyd.

DJ Alchemi, (November 27, 2007), review of White Bicycles.

Joe Boyd Home Page, (November 27, 2007).

Pitchfork, (June 12, 2007), Stephen M. Deusner, interview with Joe Boyd.

PRI's The World, (November 27, 2007), profile of Joe Boyd.

Richie Unterberger Home Page, (November 27, 2007), interview with Joe Boyd.

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