Monday, November 18, 2013

The Flip Sides of The Byrds' Singles: Why?, Captain Soul, What's Happening?!?!

 Day three of our spin of the Flip-Sides of The Byrds original US singles.
Why? (singe version)
Why? appeared as the Flip-Side to The Byrds 5th official single, the remarkable Eight Miles High as released on Columbia Records in March of 1966. The A-side was written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby. McGuinn and Crosby get songwriting credit for the featured song today. This would mark the last recording before Gene Clark would take flight from the band. The song would later be reprised with a different take featuring a longer intro and no Gene Clark, for the apex of their LP work, Thoughts And Words
Captain Soul
Captain Soul is an instrumental credited to the whole band (sans Gene Clark who just left months before) and was featured as the Flip-Side to 5D (Fifth Dimension) released June of 1966. The song is a clear lift of the Allen Touissant song, Get Out Of My Life Woman which would get released by The Leaves five months later on Mira. Get Out Of My Life Woman was also recorded by Dutch garage gods, Q65. 
 What's Happening?!?!
David Crosby gets his first lead singing job on a Byrds single with What's Happening?!?!, the Flip-Side to the September 1966 release, Mr. Spaceman. David Crosby had a languid jazzy style with odd timings, chord progressions and unexpected phrasing. That style would play itself out over his long career, but here you get to hear the birth of his unique style. I love this song and the way Michael Clarke propels the number into the warped Roger McGuinn leads.


  1. Nice songwriting by Mr. Crosby.

    And what a unique, exquisite sound by The Byrds!

    1. I walk away from this still ongoing series really impressed with The Byrds. Yes, they had their influences: The Beatles and Bob Dylan notable. But they were a very original band. They created a whole new sound that is recognizable immediately. The harmonies are lush and the music sophisticated. The killer is that when the baritone of Gene Clark left the band the harmony blend took on a very different sound. But it still sounds like The Byrds. David Crosby singing lead and not harmony? Still sounds like The Byrds. Chris Hillman, who early on did no singing now taking over lead duties? Still sounds like The Byrds. Very high quality work.

  2. The Byrds had such the cool look.

    1. It's hard to find a cooler looking band. The Chocolate Watchband were pretty hip, but The Byrds were just hipsters through and through. Hell, even David Crosby makes that stupid cape work in this context.