Song: “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds
Reached #1: June 26, 1965 (their first, 1 week)
It’s rare, in music, to be able to draw a line and say a particular sub-genre started at a definite place and time.
This is one of those rare cases. When the Byrds released “Mr. Tambourine Man” as their first single, off their debut album of the same name, it was the beginning of the “folk rock” era.
The idea of melding a rock sound with a folk track, making socially-conscious music approachable, while it was coming together for a while in the early ‘60s, didn’t really become something notable until the Byrds did their version of the Bob Dylan album track (from Bringing It All Back Home).
The Byrds didn’t stay in the folk-rock genre for long. 18 months after releasing “Mr. Tambourine Man”, they pioneered psychedelic rock with “Eight Miles High”… then creative and personal tensions started to break out, highlighted by the day David Crosby was fired by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. Crosby has said he was hurt, but that it may have been the best thing for him, as it led right into Crosby, Stills & Nash (while the remaining Byrds continued to squabble and never quite hit the same heights).
After a few years trying to be a country-rock band, the Byrds tried to get the original lineup (including Crosby) back together, but that failed and the group disbanded in 1973. As with many legacy bands, ownership of the band name led to lawsuits and (for a short while) two different “Byrds” touring in the late ‘80s.
Tomorrow, we dance with an artist making her third visit to the blog.
Other songs that reached #1 on June 26:
1961 – “Quarter to Three” by Gary U.S. Bonds (his first, 2 weeks)