Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Asylum Records: Full Circle

Recorded by Gene Clark in 1972 as “Full Circle Song,” he presented the song to The Byrds for their self-titled reunion album on Asylum Records later the same year. Since Clark’s solo version would only be released in the Netherlands, it would not compete with The Byrds version which was recorded later in 1972. Renamed as “Full Circle,” the song was not about the reunion of the band’s five original members as Clark had written “Full Circle” prior to reunion becoming a suggestion.

Not to compete with the current lineup of The Byrds, who were signed to Columbia, the reunion band was identified without the definite article and was identified as “Byrds.” “Full Circle” was the first single to be released from the album; however, its chart performance was limited, as it peaked at #109. Although a critical failure, the album was initially a commercial success and debuted on the album charts at #20. The band blamed album’s inherent problems on the project not their being able to congeal since the five had not played together in six years.

Add to this a short recording window of six weeks and the reality that Clark, Crosby, McGuinn, and Hillman may not have provided their best material for the album saving it for other projects. The critics were also distraught that no Dylan songs appeared on the album; however, two Neil Young and one Joni Mitchell compositions were recorded.

As expected, Gene Clark sang the double tracked lead vocals on “Full Circle.” As with earlier Byrds’ recordings, David Crosby provided the high harmonies. The jewel of this song, however, is Chris Hillman’s mandolin playing – a perfect complement to Roger McGuinn’s acoustic guitar. “Full Circle” sounds as good today as it did 40 years ago in 1973.


  1. I think its really sad that these guys got together with all of their collective experience and put out an album like this!!!They should have had enough good material for this album and any future projects given their work through the years. We can't count out the fact that they could have been burned out by their work load or drug use or a combination of both!!

  2. Since it was their last record as 5,it should have been their best, at least more jingle jangle!!

    1. Missed this post earlier. I think the major problem was that the reunion was more David Geffen's idea that it was the original members of The Byrds. There was still a lot of animosity among the members at the time.