Daily Song Study

The Byrds – Here Without You

In songs on October 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

The Byrds were a pivotal band in the 1960s, merging folk and rock at a time when those styles seemed somewhat disparate. They also introduced the signature sound of the electric Rickenbacker 12-string and the amazing harmonies of Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark & David Crosby (later of Crosby, Stills & Nash). All those elements mixed together made for a powerful stew, one which would only last a few years in that form before McGuinn took the band in a more country direction.

The band made excellent use of other songwriters’ material, substantially improving (in my opinion) several Dylan songs in the process. But they also possessed the potent compositional skills of Gene Clark. Although he wrote many of the group’s best tunes, he was forbidden by the label to sing lead on most tracks and possessed a strong fear of flying, so he eventually left. This is a shame, since the vocals on display in today’s tune would have been quite different without him.

This track is a study in atmosphere and arrangement, since it really wouldn’t sound the same done by anyone else. Again, a moment in time captured, one of the chief goals of recording.

  1. Classic band with an iconic sound.

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