Byrds – Goin’ Back

Before I start…I’ll be off and on this weekend because I’m traveling to Memphis to see Big E’s house…Graceland… for the 3rd time.

Power pop can be traced back to George Harrison and Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbackers. This was right before the Byrds dived into country rock with Graham Parsons and made the Sweethearts of the Rodeo album.

Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Notorious Byrd Brothers cover controversy. It has been said that McGuinn or the other Byrds wanted to insult the fired David Crosby by placing a horse in the stall beside them in his place. McGuinn had the best response to this… “If we had intended to do that, we would have turned the horse around.”

The album (The Notorious Byrd Brothers) marked Gene Clark’s brief return to the band. He had left The Byrds the year before and made a solo album that was critically praised but failed commercially. His supposedly fear of flying had a huge impact. After the album was released he toured with the band briefly but after an anxiety attack in Minneapolis, he quit.

David Crosby was fired by McGuinn and Hillman before the album was finished. He was upset at the rest of the band for finishing one of his songs and using it among many things. Crosby was not in favor of doing this song written by “two Brill Building writers” and they should only record their original music. They bickered back and forth and Crosby was fired. Crosby went on to fame in Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Parsons and Hillman would, later on, form the Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Crosby also fought with drummer Michael Clarke and Clarke soon quit before it was finished. This left McGuinn and Hillman and that is when they got Gene Clark to take Crosby’s place which lasted only 3 weeks.

Clarence White, the future Byrd the following year, helped out on the album with pedal steel guitar. Goin’ Back was a Goffin and King song. The first version/hit was by Dusty Springfield and it peaked at #10 in the UK in 1966.

The single was released a few months before The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Goin’ Back peaked at #89 on the Billboard 100 in 1967.

Gene Clark:  “The fear of flying wasn’t why I quit the group, When you’re 19, 20 years old and you start on a fantasy, then six months later you’re hanging out with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it can cause you to become a little disturbed. The reason for the group’s breakup was much less the fear of flying than it was we were too young to handle the amount of success that was thrown at us all at once.”

David Crosby: “I started going up and hanging out with Roger and Gene, we would sing together at The Troubadour, Gene was from a family of 11 from somewhere like Mississippi, he had no clue what the rules were, so he would just do it in a way that somebody else hadn’t thought of. And Roger was so smart, who listened to and go, ‘Well, we could just do this and this to it,’ and boom, it’s a record! I almost hate giving Roger as much credit as I do, but you can’t deny it – he was a moving force behind that band, and he did create the arrangements for the songs.”

Photographer Gus Webster: I get asked about this cover shot for The Byrds all the time. This was shot a couple of years after I first worked for them. The picture was done up in [Topanga] Canyon. The group was going through changes. I got a call to shoot the album cover. They wanted to go out to the country, since their first album cover was shot in a studio.

So I found this abandoned barn with four open windows. There was a horse in the field. I put each one of the guys in the windows. And in the last window I put the horse. I was mistakenly accused of denigrating David Crosby. It wasn’t to replace Crosby, who had been fired; it wasn’t to insult anyone. It was just to balance the composition. It was just a space and a horse — and what an image.”

Goin’ Back

I think I’m goin’ back
To the things I learned so well in my youth,
I think I’m returning to
The days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games
To only pass the time
No more coloring books,
No Christmas bells to chime
But thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time,
When I wasn’t afraid to reach out to a friend
And now I think I’ve got
A lot more than a skipping rope to lift

Now there’s more to do
Than watch my sailboat glide
Then everyday can be my magic carpet ride
And I can play hide and seek with my fears,
And live my life instead of counting my years

Let everyone debate the true reality,
I’d rather see the world the way it used to be
A little bit of freedom, all we’re left
So catch me if you can
I’m goin’ back

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Byrds – Goin’ Back”

  1. Graceland – I envy you! This is one of the music places on my bucket list, together with 10 million others – have a wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom great time!

    I’m getting ready to head to the Jersey shore for the Rock the Farm tribute festival. To say I’m psyched would be an understatement!

    My former German band mate and longtime music buddy first introduced me to “Going Back” many years ago. It has since been among my favorite tunes by The Byrds!

    The king is gone but he’s not forgotten – safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. Once again it was a great event with a solid line-up of tribute bands. After 10 hours on my feet, I was completely destroyed but also very grateful I could be there!

        I did a lot of recording via Facebook Live and luckily off Facebook. For some reason, the Facebook Live clips are jumpy, which is so annoying! I’ll probably take most of them down and replace some with the other footage I captured.

        I’ll be pretty busy today…in a good way! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read that Pete Townshend started Power pop, but the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds are also credited. Nice music and I really enjoyed reading your post. I decided to have a Power pop theme for Song Lyric Sunday and that will be on December 11, 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll be on that one.
      Pictures of Lily is the song that I know of that the name came about…but that jangly Rickenbacker guitar of McGuinn is the big thing…and he was influenced to play it by George…Yea they all tied together.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. a lot of talent in that band, but a good deal of dysfunction too.
    Hope you all have a great trip and enjoy Graceland. Any other music sites out there in Memphis that are still open to visit?


  4. I appreciate all of the background info on this song, album cover, and the band generally. I do love the harmonies and the guitars of The Byrds, but this one feels a little too slow-paced for me. Maybe a quicker tempo would make it better. First time hearing that song done by anyone. Have fun on your day trip with your family, Max.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a slow one I will say. I did like finding out about the album cover and the in fighting.
      We sure will…we are settled in our room…at the Exchange Building downtown…a 110 year old building…really cool .

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We are still here…going to Graceland today. We are coming back soon…at least to Buford Pusser’s museum…I wanted to make it this time but we won’t have the time. We are having a good time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are going to have to go back…we ran out of time…but yes we are going. Graceland…they had some big surprises there… in the “Icons” section they had John Lennon’s piano, Jimi Hendrix’s jacket and amp, Buddy Holly’s suit…and many more…on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
        But yes…I will go there…and I wanted to but becasue of time restraints I couldn’t…we passed it and I wanted to go back but time ran out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll post it this week…maybe tomorrow if I can. It was really cool. Seeing the Lennon, Hendrix, and Buddy Holly things…made it special.

        Liked by 1 person

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