July 13, 2003 by

Skip Battin


Categories: Musicians

Clyde Skip Battin, a country rock singer and bass player, died on July 6 of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 69.
Battin’s first successful musical partnership was with Gary “Flip” Paxton. As “Skip & Flip,” they recorded the pop hits “It Was I” and “Cherry Pie,” both of which reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1959.
Battin later served as a member of the Byrds, Evergreen Blueshoes, Flying Burrito Brothers and New Riders of the Purple Sage. He also released three solo albums.

53 Responses to Skip Battin

  1. jim smith

    in the middle 60s i & my wife went to a poular road house at that time called the sceenic supper club on rt.24 @ napoleon, ohio. it was a terrible night in the winter -late fall weatherwise & except for the help that worked there & skip & flip there was no one there it was around 11 P.M. skip & flip were both very drunk & quarlsome one of them wanted to pick a fight with me. we left at that & untill that time i was one of their fans but what a dissapointment

  2. Max Meazza

    I’m very sorry for the death of Skip .I remember
    him when he played and sang in my album
    “Personal exile”for Appaloosa records in 1982
    here in Milano Italy and he was a really good person .So long Skip!
    Max Meazza


    I am Skip’s cousin from Marietta, Ohio. I is dad Clyde Battin who was the brother of Sam Battin, Tom Battin and Max Battin. I was during research on the computer tonight and found out that Skip died. I am truly sorry.
    Bob Thomas

  4. Nancy Barnett

    When I was a little girl my older brother, a lover of rock and roll music, played the song Fancy Nancy for me. My brother died in a car accident a year later and I have forever loved this song and had fond memories of my brother singing Fancy Nancy to me. My husband and I used it at our wedding reception. This is the first time I have tried to search the Internet for anything about Skip and Flip and to think I would find this information today. Sorry to hear this news. Nancy Barnett

  5. Bill Malkin

    Was listening to both ‘Byrds’ Untitled and Further Along today ….still wonderful. You played your part Skip, ..a big part.
    Rest in peace.

  6. Eva Gambill Johnson


  7. RR

    I remember seeing skip playing with Clarence White and the Byrds in a little theater in Brooklyn, NY called Bannana Fish Park in the early 70’s. I sat right in in front of him in the first row. I remember his bass solos during 8 miles high and watching his run fingers fly over his 1950’s precision bass. I have been playing Bass ever since…absolute happiness skip!

  8. Willem Tijssen

    In the mid 80s I engaged Skip and his friends “Sneeky” Pete Kleinow, Greg Harris and Jim … for a European Flying Burrito Brothers Tour. He was a very nice human man, he was. So now he is to honky tonk heaven to meet Gram. Play in peace.

  9. Keith Gorgas

    Skip was one of the real greats of country rock. He was all over it. Played with the Byrds, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and was a mainstay of later editons of the Flying Burrito Brothers.
    A truely great and yet mostly unkown musician.
    Some of his solo stuff was way cool. “WHO WERE THE ST.LOUIS BROWNS?” She’s Looking Better Every Beer” Besides being a rocking bassist, he was an excellent pianist. May he rest in peace.

  10. Kenny Kleist

    I was the keyboard player in the group “Evergreen Blueshoes” with Skip. What an inspiration to be around! I believe he had a faculty for creating the groundwork where people could get the most out of themselves, and in turn, those around them.

  11. SB

    During the time I knew Skip, I was still young and looked up to him as a strong, beautiful human being. I wish I had known him longer. I wish I could have seen him preform. A young spirit with welcoming arms and supreme creative talent. May he rest in peace.

  12. lanny Mathyssen

    didnt like skip all that much, but he inspired me to be a creator of music, rather than just a player. R.I.P. skip

  13. Jim Hill

    i’ve been listening to the byrds’ “untitled” for the past two weeks. didn’t know that skip had died until a few minutes ago. i didn’t know anything about his history before or after the byrds, but he was a great player – that is for sure. and if you don’t have the untitled cd (with bonus disc), it’s a must have! i’m now off to search for more of skip’s music!

  14. Woody Deryckx

    I knew Skip later on in his life – in his post famous phase, you might say. I knew him as a hard working penny pinching organic farmer in the early 1990’s – struggling already with the looming specter of Alzheimer’s disease. I remember him for planting little clumps of wild flowers at the end of each row of berries on his little Oregon farm. It was always good to visit with him and walk his rows of berries discussing his management practices and the joy he took in participating in the seasonal growth of the plants. Always helping new musicians in his studio and in nearby Portland, he was generous and modest through and through. One really fine friend. I’ll be hearing his singing voice on spring breezes.
    Woody Deryckx

  15. dennis mitchell

    a bit of info…..skip battin is a distant relative….skip was living in denver colorado when he died……..he may not have been making music later in his years ,but he was still in the music bussiness…i believe he was a concert promoter around denver (something like that).

  16. David Lasky

    Skip Batten. . . I was first taken by his angelic expression in the photo of him holding kittens in his lap on the Byrds Untitled album. 8 Miles High on the same album shows some truely fantastic bass playing. His album Skip is very kind and entertaining. When I lived in Topanga I had no idea I was walking the same paths he walked. I really respect Skip as a songwriter and musician and want to find more of his music. It just sounds so perfect to me. I will play your music for all of my friends for years to come Skip.

  17. Perry Callas

    Skip and I played very briefly in a little cabaret group in Portland, Oregon in 1984. He was truly modest, kind, and warm. In his later years, he wanted only to promote the playing of all kinds of music, and he went out of his way to help all the musicians he met. Love was no stranger to this unassuming, smiling man.

  18. Dean Peacock

    I’ve only just discovered that Skip is no longer with us. I am a 34 year old Byrds fan, so they were before my time. However, the music is timeless and Skip played a big part in the last line up of The Byrds. Skip has a brilliant song called “Captain Video” on a CD entitled “Byrd Parts”, and I recently bought a DVD entitled “Earl Scruggs and Friends” which includes two songs by The Byrds with Skip and The Scruggs family.
    Another great unappreciated talent leaves us.
    Rest in Peace Skip and thank you.

  19. Scott Stevens

    About 18 months before Skip’s passing, his son Brent gave me a suitcase packed full of Skip’s early singles and asked me to transfer them to CD for him. This I gladly did (scans of the labels are posted on the ‘Byrds Flyght’ website). Following this; I was asked to tranfer a demo cassette of the unreleased ‘Topanga Skyline’ album to CD for him. Copies of all were sent to Skip. I’m told he reacted to the song ‘Stone Sober’ and even sang along to ‘It Was I’. What an amazing talent; I wish I’d had the chance to meet him.

  20. Tom Sperry

    I lived across the street from Skip on Nuez Way in Topanga Canyon in 1973-74. I didn’t know him well but he was quite pleasant whenever we talked. When my girl friend and I were on vacation his tractor got away from him and put a hole in our chicken and goat pen. Skip patched it up for us and was very apologetic.
    In the mid 80s I was mixing sound at a club called The Stage in North Hollywood. One of the guys in the band that played one nite said that his bandmate’s father was in The Byrds. It turned out to be Skip’s son Brent. We had a nice talk. I remember he said that Skip was in the Pacific Northwest and had a berry farm.
    It wasn’t til years later that I realized Skip was half of Skip and Flip from the 50s.

  21. Lauren Taylor

    I saw Skip with the Byrds several times in the early 70’s. I owned his solo album “Skip” at one time and have spent a lot of time finding it on CD.It is available on Collector’s Choice Music. If you dont have it your collection is incomplete. Brilliant. Im 54 years old and this is one of the top 20 albums of all time in my humble opinion. LJT

  22. Jerry Sorn

    I played with Skip in “The Byrds Featuring Michael Clarke” from Feb ’89 thru sometime in ’93 when Mike died of liver disease. I do understand how many of you feel about this aggregation but we were not actually “a bunch of drunks trying to make enough money to get to the next bus stop” (David C.) but in fact a very tight and energetic group. What right did I have to stand in Roger’s place? (I played lead 12-string & sang, partner Terry Rogers played acoustic and sang most lead vocs) None, but I had a ball and we got good response from some serious musicologists.
    Skip was one of the most delightful human beings I have ever known. His enthusiasm for life, love & music was infectious. One of his loves was for Italy, where he’d lived for a while, and when our “version” of the Byrds scored a tour in Italy I became an instant Italyophile and studied Italian as best I could. I was able to assist Skip in introducing the band in Italian… “Ed ultimo, nostro bassista e un amico grande dell’Italia – Skeep Battin”
    Terry & I spent many days with Skip and his family on their berry farm in western Oregon and would sometimes get out to work the farm with him. He had a little studio building where we got a few things laid down on his 8-track.
    One select memory…. the day before a trip to NYC to play at the N.Bronx Yacht Club (small dumpy but charming place actually) I ripped up my hamstring waterskiiing. I hobbled up on stage with my cane but got into it and started leaping about on one leg during 8 Miles High. Skip started jumping around on the same one leg too, so we looked like a spastic dance team! I love you brother, happy journey to you.
    ~ Jerry

  23. Michael Ripley

    Played with Skip in the early 80s in a number of venues in the Los Angeles Area, most especially as a house band at Bob Johnson’s Landmark of Country Western Music in Glendale, CA. The band (I think we called ourselves the New Dixie Flyers, although an offshoot – the older guys- were performing as the Older Brothers) also included Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Ed Ponder and Johnny Meeks (Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps). I was a kid keyboardist in my 20s learning how to be a sideman from some of the best in the business. Skip will be missed.

  24. bill feeney

    I had alittle job doing lights one week at the Clear Springs Store and Saloon outside of San Antonio texas years ago. I got to the gig early and sat at the Bar. In comes Skip and Gib Gilbeau.We started talking about the bay area scene and various people we had come to know. I remember a warm humble soul who was smilin and verry laid back. This show was rel good it should have been a live LP- Especially the song Mexico.

  25. michael dreyer

    I am working on a tribute for an project/exhibition about authorship. Skip Battin is one of my favourite examples for a musician who was more than just another composer and bassplayer – more a conceptual artist than a “musician-musician”. I see f.e. the song “My secret life” as a Brecht-like piece of music and for the same time an piece of art. The project is curated by dr. helmut draxler and will take place in spring 2007 in the Vienna Secession in Vienna.
    I am interested in hearing the unissued recording fo Skip Battin for Topanga Skyline.
    I would like to introduce Skip Battin as a special artist (“paintin pictures with my voice”). Can somebody help me?
    Best Regards
    Prof. Michael Dreyer (Visual Communication)

  26. Jody Brown

    I sat down today feeling nostaisia. As I looked through some old photos books I ran across a picture of Skip Battin and my mind raced with old memories. He was my X-Father in law. How it broke my heart to learn of his passing specially on the same day he was in my mind and heart. I am sorry for his family. If anyone knows how to reach Brent please let him know I was thinking of him.

  27. Victoria

    Good times, good wine, good music- lasting memories forever. Never had a bad word to say about anyone. A kind, gentleman and an awesome musician. Thank You – from the Brady Bunch

  28. T/M/ Higdon

    I’ve seen a lot of reviews that have trashed Skip for his work with the Byrds, but I feel that he gave them an element that was missing, humor. I really like what he did with them, but haven’t had much opportunity to hear his other work. He wasn’t the best voice in music, but he could definitely grab you.
    T.M. Higdon

  29. Jim Moon

    I played with Skip, Clarence White and Roger McGuinn in the early 70’s. Also, was a neighbor in Topanga Cyn. I think often about a song he wrote with the line “little boys are strange, no one knows that they have magic, they keep it in their pockets concealed from everyone”. Wonderful, magical song–Skip was a very beautiful person.

  30. Thad Komorowski

    I remember his cat-like smile onstage with the ’71 Byrds at Niagara University. He did “America’s Great National Pastime.” It brought down the house. His solo album at first was a curio. I learned to reasure every song. It’s now a classic. I hope someone reissues it with outtakes. How about putting his other stuff on CD too?
    I loved his music and was heart broken when I heard the news.
    Skip was a beautiful light that always broke through the drakness.

  31. richard jacome

    I had the priviledge of spending time with Skip and the rest of the Byrds tribute band during the summer of 1988 and 1990. I was friends with Michael Clarke and I flew from Seattle to Birmingham ala just to hang and travel with them. I met Jerry Sorn, Terry Rogers, John York, and Skip Battin in Atlanta. We then drove up to Fort Payne Ala for the June jam. Needless to say I had a blast. I still have a box of pictures from that trip as we jumped in an RV and they did a show in South Carolina and then at 1am or so we turned around and drove straight back 500 miles. Skip was a joy to be around then and a year later when he and the boys did a show in Seattle and we barbequed and hung out for another few days. My best memory of him was his excitment at my ability to pull out the Live in Germany FBB album. He was a truly gentle soul and first rate bass player. I loved that 50’s P bass with a string tied tp the headstock for a strap. I have great pictures of him wailing with a spandex clad dancer keeping the beat. So long citizen Skip.

  32. Ryan Leach

    Skip Battin was as formidable a musician as they come. I watched some ’71 Byrds stuff the other day and was blown away by his playing. I’ve copped numerous stuff off of him. Really, he was second to none. And that solo on “Eight Miles High” is one of my faves.
    P.S. R.I.P. Gene Clark, too!

  33. Seth Mock

    I never got to meet Skip . My grandfather Earl Mock got him started in the 50’s , with the “Mocking Birds” the first band Skip ever played in.Thanks to “Earl Mock”. R.I.P Skip

  34. marian

    I was thinking about Skip Battin today, out of the clear blue, and realized I had never tried to find out about more of his music on-line. What a shock to learn of his passing. Loved his St. Louis Browns song! Saw Skip and the Byrds in Atlanta, don’t remember what year! He was an amazing performer. Amazing eyes. RIP

  35. Terry

    I’ve been reading a lot about Skip Batten since developing a love of Country Rock. Researching Skip led me to read about Gary S Paxton… the “Flip” of “Skip and Flip”.
    Did you know that in 1980, Gary was shot in the head five times by hit men hired by a country singer he was producing?
    You probably also know that Gary was responsible for the Hollywood Argyles “Alley Oop” (for all intents and purposes he WAS the group) and also the man behind Bobby Pickets “Monster Mash”. You may or may not know he was also suspected of having an affair with Tammy Faye Bakker and released the most atrocious “Christian” single of all time- “The Big A = The Big M”- how I’d LOVE to find an MP3 of that! (A is for Abortion, M is for Murder) It’s hilariously melodramatic.
    My question to you is- who was the bigger star, or had the more successful career, after “Skip and Flip”- Skip or Gary?
    I know it’s probably a matter of opinion, but my guess is Gary even though I wish it were Skip.
    What do you think?
    I saw Skip in Bolingbrook, Illinois at the now defunct Old Chicago Amusement Park. I think I was one of twenty in the audience. However, the show was great, and Skip was the heart. They didn’t sleepwalk through the set because of the small crowd.
    I agree with Marian. Skip had some dreamy eyes. Check out his picture on the “Farther Along” album. Amazing is an understatement.

  36. Jerry

    I saw Skip a number of times with the Byrds and also the New Riders. I always loved his playing and onstage enthusiasm for the music. I have the PBS “Night At The Fillmore” footage from Sept. 1970 which I just recently re-watched and particularly Skip’s long solo on the instrumental “Eight Miles High”. Rest peacefully Skip.

  37. Brian Williams

    I knew Skip casually in the 60s & early 70s. He started ‘chanting’ around the same time as Hilton Valentine and I did in LA. Tina soon followed I think. I knew Mike Clarke too – and Chris Ethridge, when they were with the FBB in 1970 I think. (timing might be a ‘little’ off) I was working for Arthur Lee and we did a gig with those guys in Utah I think. We had this crazy pillow fight in the hotel.
    Skip, Gary P., Terry M., and Bruce Johnson were just a few of the street wise working class heros of early 60s R&R on the Coast.
    Lot’s of that great old LA / Topanga crowd have moved on down the road. Save us a seat at the Coral roadhouse boys. We’ll get there sooner or later. RIP All.

  38. Pete

    Does anyone know if Clyde “Skip” Battin is the same guy who played quarterback for the Worthington (Ohio) High School Cardinals football team in the 50s?

  39. Pete

    I’ve confirmed that Clyde “Skip” Battin graduated from Worthington (Ohio) High School in ’52 and was quarterback of the football team.

  40. rick ehrlich

    saw him play 2 nites straight with the byrds, clarence, rog, gene, in ’72. they were perfect, really perfect, really inspiring. then i met him in aspen in ’91, again playing in a band called the byrds, with mike clarke, it was a little embarassing for him, but he was real nice, easy to talk to, happy to talk about his experiences, clarence, cherry pie, etc. sorry he didn’t live much longer in a healthy state. funny nice talented guy. must have had a great life, sure hope so. go with God !

  41. Marc B.

    Wow, this comes a sad surprise to see he died. I am now in the process of putting all my old Byrd albums on CD’s, and thought I would see where Skip Batten is today. I did see him in the early 70’s version of the Byrds at least 2 times when I lived in NYC. I think his work with the Byrds, esp. on “Farther Along” has been under-rated.
    Another surprise- he was part of Skip & Flip! As a kid I loved “It Was I”.
    Well, Skip, here’s to you.
    Marc B.
    Wilmette IL.

  42. Jarrodmiller

    I am late in posting this but i helped take care of Skip the last few years of his life…I worked at a alztimers home here in salem Or…Skip was such a joy…he still loved music even though the alztimers had taken its toll…The last time i saw skip we were in the hospital at the same time..I had not seen him in along time but he still knew me…I will always remember his Rock star hair…lol RIP skip
    Jarrod miller
    Salem Or

  43. Ben Ross

    My name is Ben Ross. My father Al Rosenberg was one of the original members of Evergreen Blueshoes, the group Skip was in before the Byrds. Anyone from that period interested in reconnecting with my father can reach me at my email benkross@gmail.com or on my cell 914-523-6166. Please let me know how you are connected to Evergreen Blueshoes.
    Ben Ross

  44. Bob Harford

    I knew Skip in the early days.. I hired him and flip to do a gig at the York Beach Casino,Maine probably his debute via Arnie Ginsburgh…. Great Night and was the true begining of their career…
    It was 1959 early 60’s?? The night they played only one of the two showed up..one was a back-up, I think..Regardless.. It was a sucessful nite with nearly 1000 teens…

  45. Rick Devore

    I just read of Skip’s death. I remember seeing him with the Byrds in 1972 and with the New Riders in 1974. Got a few good pics of him with NRPS. I went to see the Byrds at a hick college in north-western PA. When Skip walked onto the stage, some frat boy stood up and yelled “Get a haircut you bum!” Skip just stood there smiling at the guy like Jesus with a bass guitar. I never knew him personally but I could sense that he was a wonderful person. I also saw Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny in ’74. Skip, Clarence White, Sandy – they will be forever missed by those they touched with their music.

  46. John L O'Brien

    I grew up with the Byrds as the world’s greatest Byrds fan. Never thought I’d get over the slow demise of the original group. The Clarence White Byrds were great though. Then Skip replaces John York and out comes “Well Come Back Home” & I think oh oh! And then “Citizen Kane” and ….ohhh.
    You know what? I love (most of) those Battin songs now – even “One of America’s G N P” is passable & fun. “Absolute Happiness” & “Lazy Waters” are delightful. Talked to McGuinn about Battin songs years ago. He wasn’t so sure…..
    Ive just listened for the first time to “The Byrds Live at the Royal Albert Hall”. As expected, McGuinn sings beautifully. Clarence is wonderful, Skip overplays to hell & Gene proves John Phillips right again by not being able to play rock ‘n’ roll. Of course he could play country like anything & on just about everything, bless him.
    You know what? Who cares about those little foibles? They still sound great. God bless all the Byrds, passed & still present.

  47. jeremy fellman

    I live in London England,The byrds albert hall stuff is really cool,wish i could of seen them live,saw mcguinn and hillman here two years ago not together ,they still are absoultley fab.
    clarence………well genius!

  48. Marge Raymond

    I toured with Skip while he was in the NRPS. I was in a group called SuMagNa and we were the NRPS background vocalists for 2 tours. We did alot of big festivals and arenas.
    Skip was a very special person. He taught me how to meditate while we were on the road. He loved my Brooklyn accent and always admired my singing. We would have long conversatons and he would love to listen to the music I brought out on the road. It was all rock. I was a rock singer back then and eventually got signed to RCA.
    Skip loved Topanga and would talk about it all the time. He always told me I would love it too. It took me decades later to finally see what he was talking about.
    I remember Skip as a very mild mannered and spiritual person. He was such a great musician. Im honored to have been on the same stage as him. RIP Skip, Ill see you on the other side.

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