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Original Singles

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The Byrds
The Original Singles 1965-1967 - Volume 1

CK 37335

1. Mr. Tambou
rine Man
(B. Dylan) 

2. I Knew I’d Want You

(G. Clark)

3. All I Really Want To Do

(B. Dylan)

4. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better
(G. Clark)

5. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)
(Adapt. & Music by P. Seeger)

6. She Don’t Care About Time
(G. Clark)

7. Set You Free This Time
(G. Clark)

8. It Won’t Be Wrong
(J. McGuinn / H. Gerst)

9. Eight Miles High*
(G. Clark / J. McGuinn / D. Crosby)

10. Why*

(J. McGuinn / D. Crosby)

11. 5D (Fifth Dimension)
(J. McGuinn)

12. Captain Soul*

(C. Hillman / D. Crosby / M. Clark / J. McGuinn)

13. Mr. Spaceman*
(J. McGuinn)

14. What’s Happening?!?!*

(D. Crosby)

15. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star**

(J. McGuinn / C. Hillman)

16. Everybody’s Been Burned**
(D. Crosby)

Produced by Terry Melcher
*Produced by Allen Stanton
**Produced by Gary Usher

Design: Roslav Szaybo (CBS Records) and Maurice Wilson
Artwork and Typography: Studio Gerrard
Liner Notes by John Rogan – Taken from the original analog release.


When the Byrds burst onto the rock scene in the summer of 1965, they were immediately acclaimed as “America’s Answer To The Beatles.” They successfully combined the lyrical genius of Dylan with the melodic expertise of The Fab Four, in order to create one of the greatest singles ever in the history of rock music: “Mr. Tambourine Man.”  The single, which topped the charts in the U.S., England and almost every other country in the world, brought the Byrds immediate international stardom. In the wake of the single’s success, the Byrds were even credited as the pioneers of a new musical form – “folk rock.” In retrospect, it may seem extraordinary that one single should produce so much acclaim for a group who had yet to release their debut album. In the mid-sixties, however, success
was measured almost entirely by the sales of singles and, for most groups, albums were a secondary consideration.

The Byrds, in common with such contemporaries as the Beatles and the Rolling stones, produced consistently excellent singles, all of which serve as landmarks in the turbulent history of the group. This album presents, in chronological sequence, the first eight singles released by the Byrds during their golden era of 1965-1967. Unlike any previous Byrds compilation, this record is no mere hazardous selection of past “hits” but provides a revealing insight into the gradual development of a group whose effect upon rock music during the late sixties remains incalculable. As well as providing a most comprehensive introduction to the early work of the Byrds, this compilation will also be of particular interest to the hard-core collector, since it contains several items never previously available in album form.

The million-selling “Mr. Tambourine Man,” undoubtedly the most famous of al Byrds songs, is a fitting opening number to this album because it not only launched the Byrds’ career but also spearheaded a new age of American rock music. While “Mr. Tambourine Man” showed the Byrds’ ability to electrify Dylan songs, the flip-side, “I Knew I’d Want You,” ably displayed the ta
lents of Gene Clark as a singer-songwriter.

The worldwide success of “Mr. Tambourine Man” encouraged the group to cut another Dylan song for their second single. Unfortunately, “All I Really Want To Do” was also covered by Cher, who had seen the Byrds perform the song at the Ciro’s night club in Hollywood. The split sales seriously affected the success of the single in the States, though it was an enormous hit in Britain. The original single version that appears on this compilation has never been previously issued on any album and has long been a much sought rarity among collectors.  The B-side, “Feel A Whole Lot Better,” was destined to become one of the Byrds’ most popular live numbers and was subsequently recorded by several other artistes.

The Byrds hibernated during the winter of 1965, spending months in the studio in order to perfect their next single, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Their efforts were rewarded with a second number one hit and million seller. Gene Clark’s “She Don’t Care About Time” provided another powerful flip-side though it was surprisingly omitted from the Byrds’ second album.

By early 1966, rumours had filtered through from the States tat the Byrds were incorporating hard rock and jazz items into their live sets. The first single of the New Year, however, seemed to indicate that they were still thinking in terms of “folk rock” experimentation. “Set You Fr
ee This Time” revealed a new Gene Clark, anxious and willing to extend the lyrical simplicity of his earlier work in order to express more complex feelings. The song should have provided the Byrds with another number one, but initial press reaction indicated a preference for the flip-side. As a result, CBS reversed the sides and “It Won’t Be Wrong” became the new A-side. The confusion caused by this unusual state of affairs was sufficient to affect radio play and “It Won’t Be Wrong,” and excellent rock number in its own right, was equally ignored, though it still reached the Top 40.

While “folk-rock” continued to saturate the rock market, the Byrds had already moved on to new musical horizons. A press conference was called by the group in order to introduce the new single to the world. “Eight Miles High,” which effectively elevated the Byrds to the stature of the Beatles and the Stones, is still regard
ed by many critics as the finest quality single ever issued. Unfortunately, its release coincided with an unprecedented drugs purge in America, and “Eight Miles High” was banned from the air-waves in several U.S. states. The Byrds pleaded innocence and insisted that the song was nothing more than a vivid account of their plane trip to London. Their pleas remained unheard, however, and although the single provided them with another Top 20 hit, it’s full impact was severely qualified. The flip-side, “Why,” was almost equally intriguing, and provide the rock world with another new term: “raga-rock.” The single version included two sitar-like guitar breaks, but when the Byrds re-recorded the song for their next album, they unwisely omitted the raga elements. The original single version included on this compilation has never previously appeared on any album.

The controversy surrounding the banning of “Eight Miles High” was immediately forgotten when news of a greater crisis was released – Gene Clark had left the Byrds. The group decided to continue as a quartet, and re-appeared four months later with a new single, “5D (Fifth Dimension).” Unfortunately, the single was once more misinterpreted as a drug-song, even though group leader McGuinn insisted that it was a musical adaptation of Einstein’s theory of r
elativity! The flip-side, “Captain Soul,” was another surprise move from the Byrds, who had never previously attempted a blues instrumental.

In spite of their continued success, the Byrds temporarily retired from live appearances in late 1966. “Mr. Spaceman” / “What’s Happening” (taken from the Fifth Dimension album) provided another Top 40 hit, but this was sufficient to quell the rumours that the Byrds were on the verge of splitting. The Byrds answered these rumours with a stunning new single, “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” which was released in February 1967. The song, a cynical comment on the manufacturing of hit groups such as The Monkees, remains one of the Byrds’ most famous numbers. The B-side “Everybody’s Been Burned,” was nothing short of superb, and esta
blished David Crosby’s reputation as a major singer-songwriter. With Hillman’s bass-work and McGuinn’s lead reaching unforeseen heights, it was clear that the Byrds were working at white heat. The release of “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” / “Everybody’s Been Burned” was quickly followed by the celebrated album Younger Than Yesterday, which fully established the Byrds’ reputation as a major force in the rock world.

The eight singles contained on this album show precisely how that reputation was achieved. For these sixteen tracks are nothing less than the finest work that the Byrds produced between the years 1965 - 1967.

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