The Byrds soon got competition as chart heroes, right at the heart of their scene. A guy called Barry McGuire, who’d been in a band with Gene before, also had a No 1 hit. He was up on the stage singing it one night in September while David and Juno were surrounded by the usual gang of admirers when a pale, skinny dude with the most heart-meltingly handsome face and stringy fair hair sat uninvited on a chair next to David that had just been vacated.
‘Whaddaya reckon?’ said the guy in a deep Southern drawl that belied his fragile looks, nodding towards the stage. ‘Ah can do better than that.’
‘And who are you?’ asked David, sharply eyeing the intruder’s square clothes and expanding his own elbow room.
‘Stephen Stills is ma name. Just got here from New York. Used to be in The Au Go Go and The Company. ’m here to get a band together. Not this kinda namby pamby crap. A real band.’
From the stage Barry re-iterated that he didn’t deem this the eve of destruction as David and Stephen’s eyes locked.
‘Sorry, got a band. A very real band,’ said David and turned back to Juno.