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

Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

I can hear Needles and Pins by The Searchers slightly in this song and that just makes it better. Gene Clark of the Byrds wrote this song and also sang it. The song was the B side to All I Really Want to Do and it was released in 1965 and as a B side managed to peak at #103 on the Billboard charts.

Tom Petty did a great cover of this song on his Full Moon Fever album released in 1989. Tom was heavily influenced by the Byrds.

Gene Clark talked about the song:

“There was a girlfriend I had known at the time, when we were playing at Ciro’s. It was a weird time in my life because everything was changing so fast and I knew we were becoming popular. This girl was a funny girl, she was kind of a strange little girl and she started bothering me a lot. And I just wrote the song, ‘I’m gonna feel a whole lot better when you’re gone,’ and that’s all it was, but I wrote the whole song within a few minutes.”

 

I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

The reason why oh, I can’t say I have to let you go, baby and right away
After what you did I can’t stay now
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone

Baby for a long time (baby for a long time) you had me believe (you had me believe)
That your love was all mine (that your love was all mine) and that’s the way it would be
But I didn’t know (but I didn’t know) that you were putting me on
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone, when you’re gone

Now I gotta say (I gotta say) that it’s not like before (that it’s not like before)
And I’m not gonna play your games any more (and I’m not gonna play)
After what you did (after what you did)I can’t stay on
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone
Oh, when you’re gone, oh when you gone,oh when you gone