Editors’ Notes Although the 1967 set The Byrds’ Greatest Hits is a great introductory compilation, The Essential Byrds digs deeper into a nest of songs that span 1965 to 1971. Offering a generous 33 tracks, this set seamlessly ranges from the band’s bowl-cut, harmony-laden, 12-stringed folk-rock to the post–Gram Parsons, longhaired country-rock era (which Byrds fans jokingly refer to as The Beards). The Essential Byrds opens with a cover of Bob Dylan’s ode to Bruce Langhorne, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” (Reportedly, The Byrds didn’t even want to cover it at first; it was pushed on them by Columbia Records.) The following “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” can be regarded as one of the first tracks providing a window into the genius songwriting of the late, great Gene Clark. But it’s the psychedelic anthem “Eight Miles High” that shone a light on Roger McGuinn approximating John Coltrane’s modal notes with his 12-string Rickenbacker. And while the jovial “Mr. Spaceman” is thought to be The Byrds' first foray into country-rock, it was the Parsons–penned “Hickory Wind” that changed everything.

SONG
Mr. Tambourine Man
1
2:29
 
I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better
2
2:32
 
All I Really Want to Do
3
2:04
 
Chimes of Freedom
4
3:51
 
Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
5
3:49
 
She Don't Care About Time (Single Verson)
6
2:29
 
It Won't Be Wrong
7
1:58
 
Set You Free This Time
8
2:49
 
He Was a Friend of Mine
9
2:30
 
Eight Miles High
10
3:34
 
5D (Fifth Dimension)
11
2:32
 
Mr. Spaceman
12
2:09
 
So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star
13
2:06
 
Have You Seen Her Face
14
2:39
 
Renaissance Fair (Single Version)
15
1:52
 
My Back Pages
16
3:08
 
Lady Friend (Single Version)
1
2:30
 
Old John Robertson (Single Version)
2
1:53
 
Goin' Back
3
3:26
 
Natural Harmony
4
2:11
 
Wasn't Born to Follow
5
2:02
 
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
6
2:33
 
Hickory Wind
7
3:32
 
This Wheel's On Fire
8
4:45
 
Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
9
3:54
 
Ballad of Easy Rider
10
2:04
 
Jesus Is Just Alright
11
2:10
 
Lover of the Bayou (Live)
12
3:39
 
Chestnut Mare
13
5:08
 
Glory, Glory
14
4:01
 
I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician
15
2:02
 
Tiffany Queen
16
2:40
 
Farther Along
17
2:57
 

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