Friday, June 26, 2015

Mr Tambourine Man

BB20 Coda(from Billboard)

Ann Althouse reminds us that 50 years ago today, Mr Tambourine Man hit #1 on the Billboard charts (also notice that Satisfaction, a song THC has written of previously, was rocketing up the charts and The Four Tops also have a big hit - it was a good time for AM radio).  The first single by The Byrds and the first hit single composed by Bob Dylan, it had a unique sound from the bass on the intro (Chris Hillman, later of the Flying Burrito Brothers played bass), to the jangly twelve-string guitar of Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, and the high harmonies provided by David Crosby (later of Crosby, Stills & Nash and, occasionally, Young.  Here they perform the song on TV.

This song blew THC away when he was 14, he got the album (which he still has) as soon as he could find it and remained a fan.  His favorite was Eight Miles High, released in 1966, with its astounding atonal, jumbled guitar.

This is a hypnotic live version from 1978 featuring McGuinn and Gene Clark (another original band member).

If you'd like to hear The Byrds at their Byrdiest listen to The World Turns All Around Her with its soaring harmonies and jangly guitar.

As for Dylan, this song unleashed a slew of singles by bands covering his songs (including Sonny & Cher) and later that summer he had his first hit single, Like A Rolling Stone.  You can listen and watch Dylan perform Mr Tambourine Man at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival (with an intro by the old commie Pete Seeger) right here.  It's an impressive performance, particularly for those who only know the craggy and croaking Dylan of more recent years.

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