The Byrds: song by song thread (1965-67) and beyond! *

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Hombre, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm opening this thread to discuss the Byrds' songs from their classic mid-'60s period, that is, their first four albums released between mid-1965 and early-1967. The idea is to review one song per day.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  2. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Mr. Tambourine Man

    Mr. Tambourine Man was released in June 1965. I don't think this record was the best Byrds' album (in my opinion that title corresponds to Younger Than Yesterday), but it's surely their most revolutionary work, marking the beginning of folk rock. Moreover, this was a major influence for Rubber Soul, my favorite Beatles' album. The Fab Four were taking a favor back, since Roger McGuinn adopted the 12-string guitar after listening to A Hard Day's Night. Even though more than half of the songs are covers (mostly written by Bob Dylan) the fresh sound of the record is what really matters; even the distorted album cover announced the shape of things to come...

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  3. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Expat in Helsinki
    Are you including Notorious Byrd Brothers, their finest LP?
  4. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Mr. Tambourine Man. Perhaps the most famous cover of a Dylan's song along with Hendrix's version of "All Along The Watchtower". The intro featuring McGuinn's jangly 12-string guitar could be considered as the birth of folk rock. The rest of the instruments on this song were played by session musicians (don't know who was the tambourine man), but this was just one of the two exceptions in the album. McGuinn took the lead vocals here doing a great job, and the harmonies during the chorus sound great. The song ends with a nice fade out endlessly repeating the guitar intro. This version is much shorter than Dylan's original, but it's a complete classic that reached #1 in both US and UK.

  5. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    No, I'll just cover their first four albums, from Mr. Tambourine Man to Younger Than Yesterday, when David Crosby was a full active member.

    The Notorious Byrd Brothers is in a mid-way, as Crosby contributed some songs but only participated on half of the recordings and didn't even appear in the album cover. In my opinion, that album is less consistent than all the previous ones. But beyond my subjetive point of view, I consider that album as part of the later period of the band. Here I want to cover the early period.
  6. reddyempower

    reddyempower Forum Resident

    columbus, oh, usa
    Mr. Tambourine Man is a great song, Dylan's version and the Byrds. Wasn't born until 70 (and not to follow) so I can only imagine what it must have been like hearing that sound in the air in 65.

    This song announces the arrival of the Byrds. I know it's got the wrecking crew, and it would be cool if Hillman had played on it, but that 12 string which was such a huge part of their sound, is all McGuinn. It's his lead vocal as well. And the harmonies are pure Byrds.

    The song has 4 verses, my favorite of which is the 4th. However, for their purposes, the second was the best choice. Goes perfectly with the music.

    A great opener on a truly great album. TRUE GREATNESS.
  7. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    I'd be happy to see this thread go all the way up to 1973. Plenty to enjoy on every Byrds album, I reckon.

    I'm not a massive fan of much music recorded much before the late Sixties but The Byrds are a massive exception.

    I first became aware of them when I saw Gene Clark in concert supporting Lindisfarne in 1985. He was stupifyingly good. To this day probably the best support act I've ever seen. Next time I'd built up enough pocket money, I bought a copy of the Mr Tambourine Man album. Loved it then, love it now!

    As to the title track, Hombre nailed it. Complete classic! I'd certainly never anything like it before. Those guitars! Those harmonies! Just exquisite.

    All this time later, it still sends shivers down my spine!
  8. sami

    sami Mono Rules

    Jersey Shore
    It doesn't get credit for being the game changing single it was, just as the Byrds get short shrift in discussions of the "greatest" bands. The Byrds were on the top shelf of bands from both sides of the pond, and were probably more innovative than anyone, either inventing or being at the forefront of folk rock, raga rock, psychedelia, and country rock.

    "Mr. Tambourine Man" was like nothing before, reinventing folk material while bringing the 12-string into the mainstream, and along with the gorgeous harmonies became the signature sound of the Byrds and one that hugely influenced countless artists and bands.
  9. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sorry, I love the original Byrds, but I'm not too fond of the 1968-73 period. Thus, I think I wouldn't be the best person to conduct those reviews. I still like The Notorious Byrd Brothers and Ballad Of Easy Rider, but I feel they belong to a different period and even a different band.

    An option could be that another forist open a new thread after this one, naming it "The Byrds: song by song thread (1968-73)".
  10. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
    Listen for Leon Russell’s electric piano on this track.
    Clear on the CD Irwin remix
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  11. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Tarragona (Spain)
    No Sweetheart of the rodeo? To me their finest
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  12. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    I love that record too, but I get why Hombre wouldn’t include it. To me the first five are the true Byrds.
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  13. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    They certainly changed massively in both sound and personnel in a very short space of time and if the later period is not for you then so be it. We'll enjoy discussing the first four records!
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  14. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    Mr. Tambourine Man
    An iconic track and a great way to kick off their career. It does a perfect job of establishing The Byrds' sound and what they're all about while also starting the titular album out on a strong note. This used to be one of my favorites, but over time I've come to prefer Dylan's original as well as a bunch of other Byrds songs to this recording. It's still an undeniably great and important track though.
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  15. Paul Gase

    Paul Gase Everything is cheaper than it looks.

    If you include Younger, you need to include Notorious imo. Sweethearts is generally acknowledged as the jumping off point into the next phase.
  16. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think you're right in terms of sound, that was the biggest change. But I still think The Notorious Byrd Brothers was quite different from the folk rock sound of the first four albums. Fifth Dimension and Younger Than Yesterday had already included some psychedelic elements, but they still sounded quite like the original Byrds. On the other side, The Notorious Byrd Brothers was touched by the magic of Sgt. Pepper, with a much more psychedelic sound than the earlier records. I've always considered it as an isolated album between the folkish and countrish years.
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  17. this shows the band could have done the song with just some small changes
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  18. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I agree, though I think The Notorious Byrd Brothers is in a dispute zone, but it's certainly the last McGuinn/Crosby/Hillman colaboration (not counting the 1973 reunion album).
  19. richierichie

    richierichie Forum Resident

    I was 15 when I first heard 'Mr. Tambourine Man' on the radio. I was already very familiar with Bob's original version which caused me to be even more blown away by The Byrds version. Ever since I have loved that 'Jingle - Jsngle' sound of the 12 string Rickenbacker, 'Folk - Rock' was born.
    I never fail to enjoy aural pleasure whenever I play any of The Byrds albums, yes including the '70's albums. Folk-Rock, Psychedelia, Space Rock, Country Rock, The Byrds were great innovations. 'Eight Miles High' is surely one of the 10 greatest singles ever. The Byrds deserve far greater recognition for their contributions to music. IMHO one of the 3 greatest bands ever.
    Fifth Dimension is my favourite album, Younger Than Yesterday close behind but as I have already stated I get pleasure from listening to any Byrds album. I have to mention Gene Clark's contributions to the band, ''tis a pity he left, however so it goes.
    Great thread @Hombre.
  20. Byrdman77

    Byrdman77 Forum Resident

    Leigh On Sea, UK
    I think most fans consider NBB part of the original line-ups output. It even features a Gene Clark co-write and tracks with Crosby and Clarke
  21. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The Byrds are my favorite American band; I'd put them just below the Beatles, the Stones and the Who, and fighting for the 4th place with the Kinks.

    I love the 1965-67 period much more than the later years, but in that brief time they contributed a lot for the development of rock music.
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  22. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, that's true. But I think it's a fragmented album, like Last Time Around by Buffalo Springfield. Surprisingly, it flows quite well, but I don't feel it carries the same spirit as the first four albums; and in my opinion the songwriting is weaker. But I admit the sound is very interesting.

    But well, if it's not me, then another forist can conduct the review of that album when we get to that point.
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  23. Ram4

    Ram4 Forum Resident

    McGuinn Clark and Crosby + The Wrecking Crew on Mr. Tambourine Man. One of the most important songs of the 60's. I've always felt the first 5 albums represented the original classic lineup.
  24. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: Many people insist that the waltz on the flipside was the inspiration for "Knights In White Satin." I'm not so sure:


    NYSPORTSFAN Forum Resident

    new york, newyork
    I love The Byrds but Mr. Tambourine Man is not the birth of folk rock or jangle pop. They were probably the best at it but Roger McGuinn will admit they didn't invent it which does not make their impact any less.
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