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Released - 1967, on Columbia Records. Produced by Terry Melcher (tracks 1-6), Allen Stanton (tracks 7-9) and Gary Usher (tracks 10 & 11)

Roger (Jim) McGuinn - Lead Vocals & Vocal Harmony; Lead 12 String Guitar; some 6 String Guitar
Gene Clark - Lead Vocals & Vocal Harmony and Tambourine on tracks 1 thru 7
David Crosby - Vocal Harmony, Backing Vocals; Rhythm 6 String Guitar; some 12 String Guitar
Chris Hillman - Bass; Mandolin; Backing Vocals & Vocal Harmony on tracks 8 thru 11
Michael Clarke - Drums & Percussion

On "Mr. Tambourine Man":
Leon Russell - Electric Keyboards
Jerry Cole - Rhythm Guitar
Larry Knechtel - Bass
Hal Blaine
- Drums 

On "5D (Fifth Dimension)":
Van Dyke Parks - Organ and Electric Piano 

On "So You Want To Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star":
Hugh Masekela - Trumpet

Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan) 1965 10.0
I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Clark) 1965 10.0
The Bells of Rhymney (Davies/Seeger) 1965   7.0
Turn! Turn! Turn! (Seeger/Traditional) 1965 10.0
All I Really Want to Do (Dylan) 1965 10.0
Chimes of Freedom (Dylan) 1965   6.7
Eight Miles High  (Clark/Crosby/McGuinn) 1966 10.0
Mr. Spaceman (McGuinn)   1966 10.0
5D (Fifth Dimension)  (McGuinn)   1966   6.8
So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star (Hillman/McGuinn) 1967 10.0
My Back Pages (Dylan) 1967   9.2
Ave. 8.86


This Greatest Hits LP covers the hits that the original Byrds had up to 1967, before they went Country-Rock. Perhaps no other band sounded as much like the Beatles when it came to singing harmony vocals as the Byrds did, with the voices of Roger McGuinn (actually known back then as Jim McGuinn), David Crosby and Gene Clark a prefect blend. Add to that McGuinn’s excellent 12 string Rickenbacker, which was the trademark sound of the band, and this all added up to the Byrds being the most popular American rock group of that time frame. 

One thing the Bryds were great at was covering Bob Dylan, with four Dylan covers on this album alone. For me anyway, the greatest ever Dylan cover by anyone opens up the LP, "Mr. Tambourine Man". Dylan fans will argue that this is not a complete song, with an entire verse of lyrics missing, and that’s true. But Dylan dug it so much that he allowed the Byrds to have their version of his song released before his original take came out. The song starts off with the harmonies of McGuinn, Crosby and Clark, and just builds from there. One beautiful song, indeed, and their best song ever! 

Another Dylan cover is perhaps the second best song found in this collection, that being “All I Really Want to Do”, and again, like most of their best songs, it is both that wonderful blend of vocals and the Rickenbacker Guitar that does the trick.  

“Turn! Turn! Turn!”, is another nice sounding song, with the words adapted by Pete Seeger from the Bible of all places, that being chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, the only book from the Bible that reflects a human, rather than a divine point of view.

Clark’s fine sounding "I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better" was one of the first self-penned hits for the band. He was the mail lead singer in the band in the early days, and nearly never played his guitar at all, not once on any of the songs found on here. His swan song with the Byrds was “Eight Miles High”, a song he wrote with the help of the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones while the band was on tour in England, with McGuinn and Crosby adding in some extra lyrics to it when they were about to record the song. Back when this one came out, everybody just knew the song was about taking a drug trip, but years later it was made clear that although it was about flying, it was not about doing so on drugs, but on a plane. Clark hated planes and flying so much that he would leave the band for that reason alone, after recording the song.  

The last four songs on here the Bryds recorded as a quartet, with Chris Hillman taking Clark’s spot for vocal harmonies, and "Mr. Spaceman" being my favorite out of that group of songs.

I should also note that the CD today comes with three bonus tracks: "Set You Free This Time", "It Won't Be Wrong", and "Have You Seen Her Face".

- Keno 2006

To listen to some soundclips from THE BYRDS GREATEST HITS or to purchase it, click on: Greatest Hits or The Byrds Greatest Hits

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