A Bit Like You And Me Radio

August 16, 2013

The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) (1965)

As mentioned a few days ago, The Jet Set had come up with their band name from band member Jim McGuinn’s love of aeronautics. When they signed with Columbia Records on November 10, 1964 and desired a new name, they kept with the aerial motif and chose The Birds. Almost instantaneously, however, the band started spelling it as The “Byrds,” fashioning the misspelling after The Beatles’ misspelling of their name. The band wasted no time recording and releasing material. They released their debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man on June 21, 1965 and quickly followed it up with Turn! Turn! Turn! on December 6th of the same year. These were the peak years for the band and consequently the pinnacle of the folk rock movement. Unfortunately, the original lineup of McGuinn, Clark, Crosby, Clarke, and Hillman was not to last. By early 1966, Gene Clark parted ways with the group due to conflicts with band members and, probably more importantly, his fear of flying. In late 1967, David Crosby and Michael Clarke also departed from the band. And then in 1968, original member Chris Hillman parted ways. Although replacement members would continuously fill the empty slots, the only original member left by 1969 was Jim McGuinn (who by then had changed his first name to “Roger,” citing a rebirth due to his involvement in the Subud religion). It wouldn’t be until 1973 that all five original members reunited to create one final album. That album, titled Byrds, failed to become a commercial success and was the last album put out by the band to date.

Featured on their aforementioned Turn! Turn! Turn! album from late 1965, this song is often strongly associated with the 1960s. Originally, the song was written and performed by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s, who had adapted the lyrics from the Book of Eccelesiastes from the King James Version of the Bible. Since King Solomon is said to have written that book, it’s often noted that King Solomon (born in 1011 BC) wrote the words to a top charting pop song, The Byrds’ version in 1965.

Jim McGuinn was initially inspired to learn Pete Seeger’s version of the song when he was working with Judy Collins on her 1963 album, Judy Collins 3. Then, in July 1965 while he and The Byrds were touring the American Midwest, Jim’s future wife Dolores requested that he play the song on the bus. Having lived and breathed folk rock for his band's new sound, McGuinn naturally began to play an adapted folk rock version of the song.

Upon The Byrds’ initial release of the song as a single on October 29, 1965, the song went straight to number one. Its message of peace and tolerance struck a chord with the American public, who was witnessing the increased involvement of their country in Vietnam. The song continued the band’s international stardom and solidified them as one of the greatest folk rock bands of all time.

album art

The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) (1965)

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Lyrics:

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

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