Who Is Ricky Byrd?
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, guitarist /singer- songwriter Ricky Byrd (inducted in 2015 with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts), has had a career in music spanning over 40 years. He is our special guest this week on A Breath of Fresh Air.
Although best known for his time spent with The Blackhearts, Byrd has also recorded and played with Roger Daltrey, and toured with Ian Hunter and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes respectively. He has also been blessed to have had the chance to, at one time or another, share the stage with music royalty including Paul McCartney, Ringo, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Joe Walsh, Mavis Staples, Dion, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Page, Graham Nash, and Elvis Costello…to name just a few.
Ricky Byrd’s journey into the world of music began amidst the bustling streets of the Bronx, New York. From a young age, he was drawn to the electrifying sounds of rock ‘n’ roll. Influenced by legendary guitarists like Chuck Berry and Keith Richards, Byrd picked up a guitar and began to hone his skills. His musical talent quickly earned him a reputation in the local New York City music scene.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: A Fateful Meeting:
Ricky Byrd’s life took a significant turn when he crossed paths with the iconic Joan Jett in the mid-1980s. He was invited to join Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, a band that had already achieved chart-topping success with hits like “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Byrd’s arrival infused new energy and a distinctive guitar style into the group, contributing to their ongoing triumph.
Collaborative Hits and Musical Magic:
Together, Ricky Byrd and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts unleashed a series of unforgettable hits that resonated with rock enthusiasts worldwide. Songs such as “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and “Crimson and Clover” showcased their unparalleled musical synergy. Byrd’s soulful guitar riffs became an integral part of the band’s signature sound, ensuring their place in the annals of rock history.
Beyond the Music: A Life's Journey:
Social Impact and Advocacy:
Both Ricky Byrd and Joan Jett used their platform to champion important social causes. Byrd, in particular, emerged as a tireless advocate for addiction recovery and mental health awareness. His outreach and music offered solace and support to those on their own path to recovery, making him a beacon of hope in the rock world.
The enduring legacy of Ricky Byrd and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts continues to inspire generations of music lovers and rock enthusiasts. Byrd’s distinctive guitar work and Jett’s powerful vocals remain iconic in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll. Their indomitable influence echoes in the music of numerous contemporary artists who draw inspiration from their sound.
Ricky Byrd is now a Recovery Troubadour and Keynote Speaker using music, lyrics and his experience, strength, and hope to inspire change to those struggling with addiction. He is first and foremost – a man living in long-term recovery. With over 30 years of sobriety, Byrd has channeled his experiences to assist those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Earning his CASAC T (Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor) credentials and CARC (Certified Addiction Recovery Coach) credentials, Ricky leads recovery music groups at detox and treatment centres, as well as serving as keynote speaker at various events nationally.
Ricky Byrd has recently released a new song “Louanne” that follows the release of his recent singles “Alien” and “Glamdemic Blues”, which featured a B-Side cover of the Four Tops’ classic “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”.
Ricky syas of the song, “My last two records ‘Clean Getaway’ and ‘Sobering Times’ had lyrics that spoke to the issues of addiction and recovery. With this new batch of tunes I’m releasing as singles I’ve been consciously staying away from that subject matter. ‘Louanne’ started with the riff and chords, as do most of the songs I write. Then I start to mumble words and fool with a melody. I guess you can say lyrically Louanne is a song of encouragement for someone struggling with something, and the music is being driven by a nasty RnR riff.”