.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/d96cd702dc479676960cfbdf5379b1d8d79d735f.jpg There Is A Season

The Byrds

There Is A Season

Columbia/Legacy
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 5 0
October 17, 2006

The Byrds are still among the most underrated bands in rock history. One reason is that they didn't have a unique, charismatic frontman: Five California folkie boys came together one jingle-jangle morning in 1964 and then careened around musically for a decade. The Byrds also ran into more than their fair share of trouble, maybe because they weren't great friends — when things got crazy, they'd just rotate out another member. One example: When singer Gene Clark freaked out and refused to get on an airplane in 1966, the rest of the Byrds kept flying. Clark, their best songwriter, left the band.

Another reason the Byrds were underrated, of course, is that they were overshadowed by British groups like the Beatles and the Stones. But the Byrds' appeal isn't limited to bald-eagle rock fans rooting for the home team: They came up with harmonizing folk rock that sounds like liquid sunshine ("I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"), they brought Bob Dylan to the top of the charts for the first time (with "Mr. Tambourine Man" — many Dylan covers would follow), they pioneered trippy psychedelic guitar rock ("Eight Miles High") and pretty much invented country rock when Gram Parsons joined them for 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Bands from the Eagles to R.E.M. are in the Byrds' debt, as is just about any musician who ever picked up a twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar.

Ten years ago, Columbia began elegantly refurbishing the Byrds' back catalog, reissuing the records with essential B sides and outtakes (and, in the case of Sweetheart of the Rodeo, releasing the Parsons vocals that got wiped from the original disc for legal reasons). Now the label has finally upgraded the band's 1990 box set with this four-CD, ninety-nine-track release. There Is a Season draws mostly on the Nineties CDs but also includes five previously unreleased live tracks. There is, in addition, a fifth disc, a twenty-six-minute DVD — and it's dated in a way that the Byrds' music isn't. In ten vintage clips, you can groove to artifacts of the era: Roger McGuinn's granny glasses, lots of shimmying go-go dancers and, most improbably, a young, skinny David Crosby.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com