Monday, August 27, 2012

178. The Byrds Greatest Hits. A fine Compylation

Album: The Byrds Greatest Hits
Artist: The Byrds
Year: 1967
Genre: Rock


  1. Mr. Tambourine Man
  2. I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better
  3. The Bells of Rhymney
  4. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)
  5. All I Really Want to Do
  6. Chimes of Freedom
  7. Eight Miles High
  8. Mr. Spaceman
  9. 5D (Fifth Dimension)
  10. So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star
  11. My Back Pages
When they started The Byrds were a pop band who were trying to be The Beatles with better sunglasses. They recorded four albums which had some fantastic pop songs, some great Dylan covers and a trademark "jangly" 12 string guitar sound. Their albums didn't have the Beatles level of consistency but those first four had some fantastic moments.

Then it went downhill a bit. David Crosby left to become one third of CSN and then a quarter of CSNY and was replaced (eventually) by Gram Parsons. I have to be really careful saying this but things went downhill then as Parsons helped to take The Byrds into a tedious country direction which made them a dull shadow of what they once were. I'm ducking for cover now because I've learnt  that you don't go upsetting Gram Parsons fans. I've written some nasty things about lots of people on this blog. I've knocked Elvis, Eminem, Peter Gabriel, Morrissey and others and been dismissive of entire genres. Generally my comments have been met with rampant apathy but when I had the temerity to not enjoy The Flying Burrito Brothers I incurred the wrath of some very angry Parsons fans. I've got respect for Gram but if I had a choice between Byrds with Crosby or Byrds with Gram then Dave wins every time. He's a much more interesting song-writer.

So the Byrds started with some good albums and then fell away. What would be perfect was if someone put together a compilation of the best moments from the Crosby era. The good news is they have and here it is. Two sides of vinyl which take in the best of their originals (I'll feel a whole lot better, Eight Miles High) and their Dylan Covers (My Back Pages, Mr Tambourine Man) with no notable omissions, no tedious remixed versions, no obscure B-sides which are unavailable elsewhere but not as good as the rest of the album, just those fantastic harmonies, jangly guitar and classic songs.

The Byrds Greatest Hits is the perfect compilation- it focuses entirely on their best era and does exactly what it says on the tin. Joyously perfect. Listen, enjoy but for goodness sake don't tell any Gram Parsons fans I said so.

Highlight: Eight Miles High
Lowlight: Mr Spaceman

Influenced by: Dylan
Influenced: Early Primal Scream

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This CD was a nice fit in my collection."

-Excellent. It's like you had a CD shaped hole in between two CD's. That worked out well.

So are do you lyke the Byrds or fynd them yrytating? Let me know below

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