An early demo of late singer Pete Seeger‘s iconic song, “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season),” has surfaced, Variety reports. Possibly the earliest known recording of the song, the one-sided vinyl, 78 RPM acetate was discovered in a private collection and is believed to have been pressed around 1961.
The folk demo features Seeger’s acoustic performance, with him delivering in a vocal cadence that is quicker than the languid live version he released on 1962’s The Bitter and the Sweet. The live LP was recorded at the Bitter End, where fans can be heard singing along.
“‘Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)’ is another new song written by Pete Seeger, its power may remind many of ‘The Bells of Rhymney’,” the album’s liner notes state. “The words are from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.”
The song became a big hit for the Byrds in 1965, reaching Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but as Variety points out, it had been commercially released by others before climbing to the top of the charts.
The Limeliters’ version predates Seeger’s. It appeared on the group’s 1962 LP, Folk Matinee. Judy Collins also included her rendition in 1963’s Judy Collins #3. Her accompanying guitarist was Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who later co-founded the Byrds.