The Byrds - The Byrds Greatest Hits


The Byrds - The Byrds Greatest Hits

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The Byrds' Greatest Hits
ByrdsGHCover.jpg
Greatest hits album by The Byrds
Released August 7, 1967
Recorded January 20, 1965 – December 8, 1966, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Rock, pop, folk rock, psychedelic rock
Length 32:17
Label Columbia
Producer Terry Melcher, Allen Stanton, Gary Usher
The Byrds chronology
Younger Than Yesterday
(1967)
The Byrds' Greatest Hits
(1967)
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
(1968)
 
Alternative Cover (not for sale)
Cover of the 1991 reissue

 

  "The Byrds' Greatest Hits" is the first greatest hits album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in August 1967 on Columbia Records in the U.S.A. and CBS Records in the UK. It is the top-selling album in The Byrds' catalogue and reached #6 on the Billboard Top LP's chart but failed to break into the UK Albums Chart. The album provides a summary of The Byrds' history during Gene Clark and David Crosby's tenure with the band and also functions as a survey of the group's hit singles from 1965 to 1967, a period when the band had its greatest amount of success on the singles chart. Most of the band's U.S. A-sides from this period are included on the album, along with three of their more important album tracks: "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "The Bells of Rhymney", and "Chimes of Freedom". The three U.S. singles from this period that are not included on the album are "Set You Free This Time", "Have You Seen Her Face" and "Lady Friend" (although these songs have been included as bonus tracks on various CD reissues of the album). All of the songs included on the original "Greatest Hits" album can also be found on the band's first four albums, "Mr Tambourine Man", "Turn! Turn! Turn!", "Fifth Dimension" and "Younger Than Yesterday".

The eight tracks on "The Byrds' Greatest Hits" that had been singles peaked at the following positions on the Billboard Hot 100: "5D Fifth Dimension" #44; "All i Really Want to Do" #40; "Mr. Spaceman" #36; "My Back Pages" #30; "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star" #29; "Eight Miles High" #14; "Turn! Turn! Turn!" #1; and "Mr. Tambournine Man" #1. In addition, four of the singles included on the album had charted in the United Kingdom, peaking at the following positions on the UK Singles Chart: "Turn! Turn! Turn!" #26; "Eight Miles High" #24; "All I Really Want to Do" #4; and "Mr. Tambourine Man" #1. In particular, the "Eight Miles High", "Turn! Turn! Turn!", and "Mr. Tambourine Man" singles were widely influential during the 1960s, a time when singles, at least in pop music, were as important in their own right as albums, and generally more so. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" summed up the decade's counter-cultural values as much as "Blowin' in the Wind", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" or "All You Need Is Love", while "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Eight Miles High" helped to introduce the subgenres of folk rock and psychedelic rock respectively into the popular music of the day.

 
 

Release

The Byrds' Greatest Hits was released on August 7, 1967 in the United States (catalogue item CL 2716 in mono, CS 9516 in stereo) and October 20, 1967 in the United Kingdom (catalogue item BPG 63107 in mono, SBPG 63107 in stereo). The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America within a year of its release, eventually being certified platimun on November 21, 1986.

 

Reception

Upon release, "The Byrds' Greatest Hits" was met with positive reviews. Paul Williams enthusiastically waxed lyrical about the album in a review published in "Crawdaddy!" magazine: "Any greatest hits album is insignificant. By definition it contains nothing unfamiliar; and yet this very fact offers great potential beauty, for a well-made greatest hits LP might then unleash the emotion of familiarity in an artistic context. The Byrds have achieved that goal: always masters of the form, they have now taken the concept of a great hits anthology and created from it an essay into rediscovery." WCFL Beat magazine was also complimentary about the album, noting that during the mid-1960s British invasion The Byrds were the only American band to "help to revolutionize the pop scene and to pave the way for the so-called psychedelic music of today." In the UK, Record Mirror gave the album a top rating of 4 stars, while commenting "This is a chronological collection of their singles and is really something. Their sound has progressed from the Dylanesque to the sound which is one of the best in the pop world." A November 1967 review of the album in Beat Instrumental declared "This is probably the best collection LP to come out of the states this year, and has songs that won't date for years to come."

In recent years, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, in his review for the Allmusic website, has described the album as "pretty close to a definitive single-disc summary of the Byrds' prime." Sarah Zupko also praised the album in her PopMatters review, noting that "The Byrds perfectly captured the mood of their time." In his review of the SACD version of the album for the Music Tap website, Robert Olsen described the album as "a compilation album featuring some of the better known recordings from the first 4 albums." Olsen went on to note that "The first album is over-represented, and there's an unwholesome emphasis on the Dylan cuts. Nevertheless, at the time the album was stunning in its breadth and provided the next generation with a good sample of the sound and direction of the group."

In 2003, the album was ranked at #178 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, although it was dropped when the list when was updated in 2012.

Track listing

Side 1

  1. "Mr. Tambourine Man" (Bob Dylan) – 2:29
  2. "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" (Gene Clark) – 2:32
  3. "The Bells of Ryhmney" (Idrid Davies, Pete Seegar) – 3:30
  4. "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" (Book of Ecclesiastes/Pete Seeger) – 3:49
  5. "All i Really Want to Do" (Bob Dylan) – 2:04
  6. "Chimes of Freedom" (Bob Dylan) – 3:51

Side 2

  1. "Eight Miles High" (Gene Clark, Jim McGinn, David Crosby) – 3:34
  2. "Mr. Spaceman" (Jim McGuinn) – 2:09
  3. "5D (Fifth Dimension)" (Jim McGuinn) – 2:33
  4. "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star" (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 1:50
  5. "My Back Pages" (Bob Dylan) – 3:08

 

Personnel

The Byrds
  • Jim McGuinn - guitar, vocals
  • Gene Clark - Tambourine, vocals (guitar on 1999 bonus tracks 12-13, harmonica on 1999 bonus track 13)
  • David Crosby - guitar, vocals
  • Chris Hillman - electric bass, vocals
  • Michael Clark - drums
Additional personnel
  • Jerry Cole - rhythm guitar on "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • Larry Knechtel - electric bass on "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • Hal Blaine - drums on "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • Leon Russell - electric piano on "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • Van Dyke Parks - organ on "5D Fifth Dimension"
  • Hugh Masekela - trumpet on "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star"
  • unknown - organ on "My Back Pages"

Release history

Date Label Format Country Catalog Notes
August 7, 1967 Columbia LP US CL 2716 Original mono release.
CS 9516 Original stereo release.
October 20, 1967 CBS LP UK BPG 63197 Original mono release.
SBPG 63197 Original stereo release.
1976 Embassy LP UK EMB 31381  
1985 Columbia CD US CK 9516 Original CD release.
1985 CBS LP UK 32068  

 

The Byrds - The Byrds Greatest Hits

U.K. SBPG 63197 stereo (1968)

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying some minor signs of ring wear.

The original inner sleeve is excellently presented.

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