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The Byrds Mr. Tambourine Man

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Published on Jan 18, 2011

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. COPYRIGHTS RESERVED BY COPYRIGHT OWNER.This video is used only for non-profit usage and publishing.
"Mr. Tambourine Man" was the debut single by the American band The Byrds and was released on April 12, 1965 by Columbia Records.The song was also the title track of the band's debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, which was released on June 21, 1965.The single, along with the album of the same name, was influential in originating the musical style known as folk rock, with the single becoming the first folk rock smash hit.Indeed, the term "folk rock" was first coined by the U.S music press to describe the band's sound at around the same time as "Mr. Tambourine Man" peaked at number 1 on the Billboard chart.The single initiated the folk rock boom of 1965 and 1966, with many acts imitating the band's hybrid of a rock beat, jangly guitar playing and poetic or socially conscious lyrics.This hybrid had its antecedents in the American folk revival of the early 1960s,The Animals' rock-oriented recording of the folk song "The House of the Rising Sun",the folk-influences present in the songwriting of The Beatles,and the twelve-string guitar jangle of The Searchers and The Beatles' George Harrison.However, it was The Byrds who first melded these disparate elements into a unified whole, creating a template for folk rock that would prove successful for many acts during the mid-1960s.Most of the members of The Byrds had a background in folk music,since Jim McGuinn, Gene Clark, and David Crosby had all worked as folk singers during the early 1960s.They had also spent time, independently of each other, in various folk groups, including The New Christy Minstrels, The Limeliters, The Chad Mitchell Trio, and Les Baxter's Balladeers.In early 1964, McGuinn, Clark and Crosby formed The Jet Set and started developing a fusion of folk-based lyrics and melodies, with arrangements in the style of The Beatles.In August 1964, the band's manager Jim Dickson acquired an acetate disc of "Mr. Tambourine Man" from Dylan's publisher, featuring a performance by Dylan and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.Although the band were initially unimpressed with the song, they eventually agreed to begin rehearsing and demoing it.In an attempt to make it sound more like The Beatles, the band and Dickson elected to give the song a full, electric rock band treatment, effectively creating the musical subgenre of folk rock.To further bolster the group's confidence in the song, Dickson invited Dylan to hear the band's rendition.Dylan was impressed, enthusiastically commenting "Wow, you can dance to that!" and his endorsement erased any lingering doubts the band had about the song.During this period, drummer Michael Clarke and bass player Chris Hillman joined,and the band changed their name to The Byrds over Thanksgiving 1964.The two surviving demos of "Mr. Tambourine Man" dating from this period feature an incongruous marching band drum part from Clarke but overall the arrangement, which utilized a 4/4 time signature instead of Dylan's 2/4 configuration, is very close to the later single version.The master take of "Mr. Tambourine Man" was recorded on January 20, 1965, at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, prior to the release of Dylan's own version.The song's jangling, melodic guitar playing (performed by McGuinn on a 12-string Rickenbacker guitar) was immediately influential and has remained so to the present day.The group's complex harmony work, as featured on "Mr. Tambourine Man", became another major characteristic of their sound.The single reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the first recording of a Dylan song to reach number 1 on any pop music chart.Critic William Ruhlmann has argued that in the wake of "Mr. Tambourine Man", the influence of The Byrds could be heard in recordings by a number of other Los Angeles-based acts, including The Turtles, The Leaves, Barry McGuire, and Sonny & Cher.In addition, author and music historian Richie Unterberger sees the influence of The Byrds in recordings by The Lovin' Spoonful, The Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, and Love,while author John Einarson has noted that both The Grass Roots and We Five enjoyed commercial success by emulating The Byrds' folk rock sound.In addition, a number of commentators, including Richie Unterberger, Scott Plangenhoef, and Ian MacDonald have noted that by late 1965, The Beatles themselves were assimilating the sound of folk rock, and in particular The Byrds, into the material found on their Rubber Soul album, most notably on the songs "Nowhere Man" and "If I Needed Someone".As the 1960s came to a close, folk rock changed and evolved away from the jangly template pioneered by The Byrds,but, Unterberger argues, the band's influence could still be heard in the music of Fairport Convention.

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