For our final day of our look at The Flip-Sides of The Byrds' singles, we are going to do something a little different. Dare I say...special.
He Was A Friend Of Mine was a traditional folk song dating to the mid 1930s. On the night of John F. Kennedy's assassination, on this very date 50 years ago, Roger McGuinn rearranged the traditional folk ballad and rewrote the lyrics to make the song about the slain President. The Byrds recorded McGuinn's He Was A Friend of Mine almost two years later on November 1, 1965 and released the tribute to the fallen President on The Byrds' second LP, Turn, Turn, Turn.
Now here is the kicker. The above pictured 45rpm of He Was A Friend Of Mine was never actually released. Bazinga. Columbia Records pressed a few test pressings of the record with He Was A Friend Of Mine pressed on both sides of the disc in November of 1966 and distributed them to radio stations only in Los Angeles to see if the stations thought a JFK third anniversary tribute had any potential. Clearly the answer was "no" and Columbia pressed no more.
We at On The Flip-Side thought it appropriate to pull this out of our vaults on this, the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, and solemnly share this rather rare record for you today.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!