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Byrds Mr Tambourine Man

Byrds Mr Tambourine Man

It was 1965. Bob Dylan had gone electric, had just brought it all back home, and he weren’t gonna’ work on Maggie’s farm no more.

The Beatles were ready for new horizons, too, and by the end of 1965 would release the Dylan-influenced Rubber Soul. That album would inspire more musical changes that blossomed in 1966 such as Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds.

But on April 12, 1965 the Byrds released the single, Mr Tambourine Man. The song had appeared on Dylan’s Bringing It… album. The first cut on side two.

Byrds Mr Tambourine Man
45 of record

The Bringing It… album cover is the one with Dylan sitting in what appeared to be a someone’s living room surrounded by lots of items for fans to stare at and discuss. It also had a long-legged woman lounging red-dressed. Cigarette in hand. Sally Grossman, the wife of Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman.

Byrds Mr Tambourine Man

The living room was the second home of Albert and Sally. The place in a little artsy town in Ulster County, NY called Woodstock. In four years a couple of hippies would hatch the idea for a recording studio there. That’s another story for another time.

Byrds Mr Tambourine Man

The Byrds had recorded Mr Tambourine Man on January 20, 1965 at Columbia Studios in Hollywood. Like many LA bands, the musicianship was not as strong as the session men available and Roger McGuinn was the only Byrd to actually play on that recording.  The players had the nickname of the Wrecking Crew and included including Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (bass), Jerry Cole (guitar), and Leon Russell (electric piano). Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark sang. 

Columbia Records released the “Mr. Tambourine Man” single on April 12, 1965 and on June 26 it became Billboard’s #1 song. McGuinn’s jangly electric 12-string Rickenbacker guitar was part of the song’s hook and formed the Byrds’ trademark sound.

Folk-rock had been born thanks to Bob Dylan and the Byrds.

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