A Magic Carpet Ride: The Byrds 5-pack!

Hey again everyone!

Today I present a pack from one of the most legendary and influential rock bands in history – The Byrds!

While not as big superstars as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Byrds turned out to be one of the most significant bands of its time. They were more responsible than any other act for melding the innovations and energy of the British Invasion rock groups with the best lyrical and musical elements of contemporary folk music. In a way, they were combining The Beatles and Dylan into one – and were among the first “folk rock” acts. The influence wasn’t a one way street either – The Beatles themselves have admitted being influenced by The Byrds, and they played a part in convincing Dylan to go electric. 

Their influence has lasted for the long run – the jangling, 12-string guitar sound of Roger McGuinn‘s Rickenbacker was permanently absorbed into the vocabulary of rock. In later albums, they also played a vital role in pioneering psychedelic rock and country-rock, and their angelic harmonies have echoed through many other bands. The Eagles, Big Star, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, R.E.M, The Bangles, the Smiths are just some of the diverse acts directly influenced by The Byrds.

So let’s go!

Kicking off with a classic tune from their debut album “Mr. Tambourine Man”, we have “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”. This uptempo rocker is classic Byrds, with its catchy guitar riffs and infectious chorus. Written by the band’s lead guitarist at the time, Gene Clark.

Drums by Mr. Burpler

Next up, two tracks from the psychedelic album “Fifth Dimension” .The album is perhaps a bit uneven, as the band was struggling with the departure of Clark, but the highs are very high, as evidenced by those two songs: “Mr. Spaceman” is a space-themed groovy rock-country song with touches of psychedelia. 

Next up, “Eight Miles High” is honestly a groundbreaking piece of music history. Musically influenced by sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, critics often cite “Eight Miles High” as being the first bona fide psychedelic rock song, as well as a classic of the counterculture era. It’s one of the most important singles of the 60s, and quite a challenge in Rock Band too – particularly the wild drumming and McGuinn’s freeform jazz-influenced 12-string guitar solo.

A huge thank you for Mr. Burpler for charting drums on this – this custom simply wouldn’t have happened without him, as I really struggled with the drums and almost gave up.

Next up, The Byrds are known for their electric Dylan covers, and so I offer the classic “My Back Pages” from the classic album “Younger Than Yesterday”. This cover showcases The Byrds‘ ability to put their own spin on a classic, again marrying their shimmering guitars and Dylan’s introspective lyrics. 

And finally, one of the Byrds most beautiful songs and possibly my favorite – the gorgeous “Goin’ Back”. Written by the awesome songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, this is a classic ballad with gorgeous harmonies, Its poignant lyrics and a lush musical arrangement with touches of psychedelia. Probably my favorite of the bunch.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this classic pack. Make sure you do not miss out on existing Byrds classics in our DB – my existing customs of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, and Farottone’s version of the classic “Mr. Tambourine Man”. See you next time!

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