The Byrds' Greatest Hits is the first greatest hits album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in August 1967 on Columbia Records. It is the top-selling album in The Byrds' catalogue and reached #6 on the Billboard Top LPs chart but failed to break into the UK Albums Chart. The album provides a summary of The Byrds' history during Gene Clark and David Crosby's tenure with the band and also functions as a survey of the group's hit singles from 1965 to 1967, a period when the band had its greatest amount of success on the singles chart. Most of the band's U.S. A-sides from this period are included on the album, along with three of their more important album tracks: "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "The Bells of Rhymney", and "Chimes of Freedom". The three U.S. singles from this period that are not included on the album are "Set You Free This Time", "Have You Seen Her Face" and "Lady Friend" (although these songs have been included as bonus tracks on various CD reissues of the album). All of the songs included on the original Greatest Hits album can also be found on the band's first four albums, Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Fifth Dimension and Younger Than Yesterday.
The eight tracks on The Byrds' Greatest Hits that had been singles peaked at the following positions on the Billboard Hot 100: "5D (Fifth Dimension)" #44; "All I Really Want to Do" #40; "Mr. Spaceman" #36; "My Back Pages" #30; "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" #29; "Eight Miles High" #14; "Turn! Turn! Turn!" #1; and "Mr. Tambourine Man" #1. In addition, four of the singles included on the album had charted in the United Kingdom, peaking at the following positions on the UK Singles Chart: "Turn! Turn! Turn!" #26; "Eight Miles High" #24; "All I Really Want to Do" #4; and "Mr. Tambourine Man" #1. In particular, the "Eight Miles High", "Turn! Turn! Turn!", and "Mr. Tambourine Man" singles were widely influential during the 1960s, a time when singles, at least in pop music, were as important in their own right as albums, and generally more so. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" summed up the decade's counter-cultural values as much as "Blowin' in the Wind", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" or "All You Need Is Love", while "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Eight Miles High" helped to introduce the subgenres of folk rock and psychedelic rock respectively into the popular music of the day.
The Byrds ( /ˈbɜrdz/) were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (aka Jim McGuinn) remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones for a short period of time (1965–66), The Byrds are today considered by critics to be one of the most influential bands of the 1960s. Initially, they pioneered the musical genre of folk rock, melding the influence of The Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music. As the 1960s progressed, the band was also influential in originating psychedelic rock, raga rock, and country rock. In addition, the band's signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar has continued to be influential on popular music up to the present day. Among the band's most enduring songs are their cover versions of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season)", along with the self-penned originals, "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "Eight Miles High", "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star", "Ballad of Easy Rider" and "Chestnut Mare".
The original five-piece line-up of The Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). However, this version of the band was relatively short-lived and by early 1966, Clark had left due to problems associated with anxiety and his increasing isolation within the group. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke also departed the band. McGuinn and Hillman decided to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had also exited the band. McGuinn, who by this time had changed his name to Roger after a flirtation with the Subud religion, elected to rebuild the band's membership and between 1968 and 1973, he helmed a new incarnation of The Byrds, featuring guitarist Clarence White among others. McGuinn disbanded the then current line-up in early 1973, to make way for a reunion of the original quintet. The Byrds' final album was released in March 1973, with the reunited group disbanding soon afterwards.
Several ex-members of the band went on to have successful careers of their own, either as solo artists or as part of groups, such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Desert Rose Band. In the late 1980s, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke both began touring as The Byrds, prompting a legal challenge from McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman over the rights to the band's name. As a result of this, McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman performed a series of reunion concerts as The Byrds in 1989 and 1990, and also recorded four new Byrds' songs. In January 1991, The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an occasion that saw the five original members performing together for the last time. McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman still remain active but Gene Clark died of a heart attack in 1991, and Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993.
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