Friday, December 2, 2011

The Byrds: Why

I’ve often heard critics pan The Byrds’ LP “Fifth Dimension”; however, I regard it as my favorite album by the band. I guess I heard it quite a bit when I stayed two weeks with my brother in Kentucky in 1966. He had just purchased the album and it influenced me as a 10 year old to buy my first single, “Mr. Spaceman.”

The album produced two other singles besides “Mr. Spaceman” – “5D (Fifth Dimension)” and “Eight Miles High.” The latter was the first single and the highest charting of the three and peaked at #24. I guess the world was not ready for raga-rock at that time, but it remains a classic song from those pre-psychedelic days.

 “Eight Miles High” was the “A” side of today’s Friday Flipside feature of “Why.” The raga sound was explained as being influenced by David Crosby’s interest in Ravi Shankar’s sitar recordings.

Younger than Yesterday Alternate Version

Written by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby, “Why” was only released on single initially. That is, until 1966 when it was rerecorded for the “Younger than Yesterday” LP. The original single version was re-released as a bonus track on the “Fifth Dimension” CD in 1996.

Absolute Original Version of Why”

Actually, “Why” and “Eight Miles High” were originally recorded at RCA Studios in December 1965; however, Columbia Records refused to release anything that was recorded at a competitor’s studio. Therefore, the band returned to the studio and re-recorded both songs in early 1966. Both were also released as bonus tracks on the CD of “Fifth Dimension.” My favorite version is the one released on single. See what you think.

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