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Byrds Nyrds: Talk about anything Byrds related here (Part 04)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by stereoptic, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Spencer R

    Spencer R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oxford, MS
    I highly doubt that that was true of Dylan, unless he renegotiated the original Columbia contract he signed in 1961 or 1962, when he was regarded as “Hammond’s folly.” The simple reality is he sold records and grew to have clout beyond his record sales, as when he supplied “Mr. Tambourine Man” and other hit songs to his fellow Columbia artists the Byrds, so he got to do more or less what he wanted. But, again, I highly doubt his original Columbia contract contained any special clauses akin to those a jazz artist would receive. And what would those clauses have been, exactly? The entire issue of paying publishing on more than eleven songs would have been moot for jazz albums anyway, as the vast majority of period jazz albums contained somewhere between four and seven songs.
     
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  2. deanrelax

    deanrelax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Yes, Terry Melcher. Interesting character, interesting life. I don't the albums are lost classics, but both are quite solid and gets a spin once in a while. Yes, he does not have much of a voice, but there's definitely a decadent charm over the albums. Take it to Mexico from Royal Flush belongs on any self respecting West coast collection covering the seventies ;).

    I wonder what happened with his tape vault (the album cut with Gram Parsons in 1971) and I would love to know how he worked up Kokomo with John Phillips, Scott McKenzie and Mike Love.
     
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  3. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    This is probably going to be extremely boring for most people reading this thread, but Dylan's initial contract was as a folk artist. Columbia's contracts with folk and country/western artists were more akin to their contracts with jazz and classical artists, as well as "crooners" and other vocalists, as those artists were assumed to have a following that was mostly college-aged or older. The publishing situation for such artists was different as most of their repertory was supplied by song pluggers and/or was "traditional." Recall that Dylan's first album had almost no original copyrights on it. This was not because Dylan didn't have the material.

    "Teen" (i.e. pop) contracts were different, and the normal song plugger channels didn't work the same way for them. Columbia, like other labels, had special "teen" A&R men who were younger than the other A&R men (Terry Melcher is a good example, as is Gary Usher for that matter.) Thus the album publishing agreements were constituted differently.

    It is not a question of adult artists having "special clauses" -- on the contrary, it was the opposite. "Teen" contracts were exceptional at Columbia.

    To return to Dylan for a moment, you mentioned John Wesley Harding. That was after the first renegotiation of his contract, which took place after he fulfilled the original six-album order plus a Greatest Hits. At that point his leverage with the company was quite significant, as you can imagine. The first album of Dylan's new deal was Blonde on Blonde, not coincidentally a double album. Record contracts were typically renegotiated after 2 or 6 albums -- they were not permanent, as you appear to be suggesting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  4. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I know Crosby has claimed that Triad was in competition with Goin' Back for inclusion on the album, but that story doesn't really make sense. At the time this argument would have taken place, the album was less than half finished. It would have been extremely premature to be discussing the final track line-up. I'm pretty sure that at least one song that ended up on the final album (Artificial Energy) had not even been written yet by that point. So it seems very unlikely they would have been talking about narrowing their list down to eleven songs and excluding Triad on that basis.

    I think what probably happened is that they recorded the basic track of Triad and then McGuinn and Hillman decided (for musical reasons) that Triad was not good enough for the album and that they didn't want to work on it further (the Byrds' recording of Triad is almost certainly unfinished, since it's quite unlikely they would have put it on the album in the instrumentally spare, unproduced fashion of the recording we have). Crosby was already opposed to recording Goin' Back on the principle that he didn't think they should be doing any songs written by outside writers, so the fact that they wanted to abandon Triad and move on to working on Goin' Back made him feel like the two things were connected, and that the former song was being rejected in favor of the latter. But it seems pretty clear their disinterest in Triad had to have been based on musical considerations rather than album space limitations at that point.

    Also... it's been a long time since I've read the Rogan book, but I don't think Crosby was pushing for Lady Friend to be included on the album by that point. Or am I misremembering?
     
  5. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive

    [​IMG] Currently zigzagging my way through Stephen J. McParland’s exhaustively researched, endlessly fascinating 630-page look at Gary Usher’s life and work. Easy to lose oneself in it, trust me.
    Anyway, here’s a quick quote of his about Gene Clark:
    [​IMG]

    Interestingly, Gene is listed as being present in the studio on the day Moog Raga, of all things, was recorded.
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive

    Usher on “Milestones”:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. MarcS

    MarcS Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I was just reading the Gary Usher bio and he said that Lady Friend and Triad would likely have made the album if Crosby stayed; he also said they intended to re-cut Don't Make Waves for the album too; Goin Back was basically the last straw; Crosby didnt wan't to record it and allegedly walked out of the session although I guess he did appear on that early lame version of it.
     
  8. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    extremely boring and yet fascinating. It does help to explain why some albums were conceptualized they way they were back then. For instance, did Brian know he 'needed' 12 or 13 songs for Pet Sounds and couldn't have stopped at 7 or 8...
     
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  9. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    The very fact that Capitol let him have a 13th track is surprising. But of course one of them ("Sloop John B.") had no publishing fee.

    I think my count might have been slightly off in the post you quote. I imply that the contract was for six albums plus a Greatest Hits, but actually the Greatest Hits (or a live album) could have counted as one of the six (and typically still does). I'm not sure where the Byrds' contract got renegotiated as I think they may have had a two-album x-singles deal to start with that got renewed and then renewed again around the time McGuinn was forced to reconstitute the band, but my memory is failing me as to the particulars (or I never knew them in the first place).
     
  10. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Hmm... Regardless of Usher's speculation, I'm skeptical all five Crosby originals would have made the cut if he'd stayed. That's a lot of Croz for one album, and he also had Laughing which he probably would have brought into the sessions if he had not been fired. Anyway, I've always gotten the sense that Triad was outright rejected by the band, rather than simply being not used because Crosby was out of the band. Since I'm not a fan of Triad, I think they made the right choice, although it would have been interesting to hear what they might have done to the track in terms of overdubbing, backing vocals, or psychedelic effects if they'd decided to use it.
     
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  11. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    If it had been outright rejected they wouldn't have recorded it to begin with and (presumably) nor would they have performed it in their act. IMO the reason it's unfinished, and I think it's evident that it is, is simply because Crosby was sacked and McGuinn and Hillman chose not to complete it at that point, having come up with other material, borrowed or original. It's entirely possible that had Crosby stayed the album would have looked quite different, he had by that point become the most prolific writer. Apart from the personality clashes I'm sure that this must have rankled with McGuinn and Hillman as well.
     
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  12. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    To continue...if what Usher says is true and Don't Make waves was being considered for the album albeit in a (presumably heavily) reworked form, then this surely indicates the paucity of original material being brought to the table by McGuinn and Hillman at that point. Remember too that this is a time when Crosby had become regarded as the de facto leader of the band owing to the fact that he was the on stage spokesperson (this had been noted by reviewers of their live shows at the time) and as a writer he was on fire, songs seeming to pour out of him effortlessly. He would have, from his point of view, probably been frustrated by the lack of original material other than his own, possibly viewed it as laziness and felt that producing cover versions was beneath them by then. Now, he was wrong in that respect, obviously, but his forceful personality would have made the decision to cut a version of Goin' Back more difficult for the others than it necessarily ought to have been. Soooo, the end result was that McGuinn and Hillman decided they'd had enough and fired him; I don't think that's the whole story however, I think that they also felt that the group was in danger of becoming the David Crosby show and resentment had built up. Shades of what happened with Gene a couple of years earlier.
    As Jason says, Crosby had Laughing (and others too) waiting in the wings and the album was in danger (as McG and H would have seen it) of becoming Crosby heavy and that would have reinforced his position as the lead songwriter/spokesperson.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
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  13. Perhaps the following falls in line with the thoughts you presented about the “general disdain “ the British press may have held against the Byrds upon their arrival from America for their English Tour.

    According to Wicki, below, the English musical press, including TV and record companies were excited about a London based band, called The Birds. As the Birds were breaking out, The Byrds had burst through from America and atop the English charts. The Birds manager took legal action against The Byrds for use of the groups’ name - “Amid a flurry of national press and television coverage.” (See below)
    This seems to line up with the thought that disdain for The Byrds was perhaps predetermined.

    NOTE: The Birds had a guitarist of note, who later found fame with The Jeff Beck Group, Faces, and The Rolling Stones - yes - Ronnie Wood!
    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    From Wiki:

    ......The Thunderbirds, they shortened their name to The Birds – a decision which would have significant ramifications later.[1]

    Their hard R&B sound was good enough to get them into a battle-of-the-bands contest held under the show Ready Steady Go!.[2] When the band made their first television appearance, they caught the eye of Decca record company executives. The ensuing recording contract resulted in their first two singles, "You Don't Love Me" and "Leaving Here". The Birds seemed destined for stardom with their loud rhythm-and-blues based music, receiving equal billing with The Who at some concerts.[2]

    However, in the spring of 1965, the Los Angeles-based band, The Byrds, was dominating the UK Singles Chart with their folk-rock version of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", released by the newly formed British CBS Records.[2] When The Byrds arrived in England for their first British tour that summer, The Birds' manager, Leo de Clerck, took legal action to prevent them from using the name; the action failed, amid a flurry of national press and television coverage.[1] The group parted ways with de Clerck soon afterwards.[1]
     
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  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive

    Yeah, that was a pretty lame PR stunt. But a good band nonetheless. Wonder why they never sued the Yardbirds?
     
  15. Related to my post, above:


    [​IMG]
    These Birds
     
  16. Slightly off track, but Birds related - uh in this case Mynah Birds. The Band that had both Neil Young and “Super Freak”, Rick James!
    This was right before Neil and Bruce Palmer headed to L.A.
    Who knows- if Neil went to L.A. before he was in this band- he might have ran into McGuinn and Clark and become a Byrd!

    Great short story on The Mynah Birds and Neil and Rick below.

    (Crosby is on line 2 looking for a re-union tour of “Real B-y-i- rds ” with Neil and Ronnie Wood. LOL. )

     
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  17. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Once Upon a Dream

    I think the simple truth about Triad being rejected was that the lyrics were way too much for a record company and an album for a teenage audience of 1967. Personally I like the song, it was an honest look at relationships that sometimes develop.

    I know the Airplane covered it and covered it well. But they were a band that took more risks. The Byrds were not.
     
  18. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Although Columbia was perhaps the slowest major record company to go after a teen audience in the '60s (the Byrds were one of the first rock acts on their roster), I'm reasonably confident they wouldn't have cared about the lyrics to "Triad."
     
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  19. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I wish I had a copy of Rogan's book because it's been years since I read it and I'm sure he addressed this in more detail. But there must be more to it than simply not finishing the song. Crosby claims that McGuinn expressed moral problems with the song (he says McGuinn called it a "freak-out orgy song"). McGuinn and Hillman both deny having any problems with the song's lyrical theme, but both also say they didn't think it was a good-enough song. They must have had some sort of discussion about the song's quality at the time, because my recollection is that Crosby has said it was rejected, and has even suggested it was rejected specifically in favor of Goin' Back. I don't think he would describe it as being "rejected" if it was still in the running for inclusion when he was fired and then simply left off because of the firing, so they must have expressed strong reservations about the song (and perhaps even said they didn't want it on the album) before firing him.

    I think Crosby would have been quite happy to write the entire album himself. I don't think he cared if they were not writing much, but he did care if they were bringing in songs from outside writers that might displace his own songs from the album.

    It is interesting to look at the sequence of recording. As you note, the initial sessions featured five Crosby songs (if we assume that Dolphin's Smile and Tribal Gathering were primarily Crosby songs, despite the co-writing credits) and only two Hillman-McGuinn songs. Artificial Energy and Get To You were not written yet when the sessions started, and possibly Natural Harmony and Space Odyssey were not either. So yeah, they did not seem to start writing much until after Crosby was fired.
     
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  20. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    It never got to the point where the record company would be a consideration. The song wasn't finished, and McGuinn and Hillman presumably had some sort of reservations about including it before Crosby was even fired. Since I'm not a fan of the song, I don't have a hard time believing McGuinn and Hillman simply didn't think it was good enough.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
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  21. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I believe in the most recent revision of the Rogan book McGuinn does admit to having had a moral problem with the lyrics.
     
  22. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    I've always liked the Byrds' version of "Triad", even the somewhat basic form it appears in on the released version. It has a strutting funkiness that most of Notorious Byrd Bros lacks (except for "Artificial Energy", perhaps), so I'm not sure it would have really fit on the album. May have been an interesting inclusion, though.

    I've always thought "Lady Friend" is quite a gem of a song as well, just not sure there was room on NBB for it, which was overflowing with pretty great songs.
     
  23. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Location:
    Lotus Land
    The rhythmic pattern played by the claves in an Afro-Cuban mambo rhythm section is very similar to drum/guitar rhythm in Brasilian Bossa Nova.

    They are both five-beat patterns played over two bars. Of the five beats, the first four beats are identical, but the fifth beat is different: On a mambo, it lands right on the three, but in Bossa, it lands on the "and" of three.

    On the Byrds' song "I See You," someone is playing claves, but curiously, (s)he is playing the Bossa pattern, and not the classic mambo clave pattern.

    I have always wondered if this was deliberate or accidental. Either way, it places the percussion rhythm someplace between a mambo and a Bossa. I have read that David Crosby was very much into Bossa Nova, so I wonder if this was his idea. The bassist on the session is playing on the beat and is not playing a tumbao pattern, which pushes the rhythm more into Bossa territory than mambo.
     
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  24. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Location:
    Lotus Land
    My reimagined Notorious has 13 tracks, the original 11 and the two Crosby tunes. It clocks in at 35 minutes, with two even sides: seven tracks on side 1 and six tracks on side 2. With mild resequencing, I improved the album's narrative structure, and the addition and placement of the two Crosby tunes reinforces this narrative structure. My version of the album works from a lyrical standpoint, a pacing standpoint, and a side-length standpoint.

    So the Byrds could absolutely have included those two tunes, without omitting anything, kept Crosby in the group, and continued to explore futuristic sounds rather than becoming sweaty hippies. What an awful decade the 60s turned into. Everyone looked great in 1965 and 1966, and then started to look stupid by 1968. Oh the embarrassment, oh the despair...
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  25. Dr. Robert

    Dr. Robert Forum Resident

    Location:
    Curitiba, Brazil
    I generally sequence it like this:

    Artificial Energy
    Goin' Back
    Natural Harmony
    Draft Morning
    Wasn't Born to Follow
    Bound to Fall
    Get to You
    -
    Lady Friend
    Change is Now
    Triad
    Old John Robertson
    Tribal Gathering
    Dolphin's Smile
    Space Odyssey
     

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