Entry count: 4704
The Byrds cover Bob Dylan for their debut single

The Byrds

Mr Tambourine Man

Released: April 11th, 1965

Tracks The Byrds Bob Dylan

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1970.

Support Gaslight Records

The Byrds first single, "Mr Tambourine Man", was released on 12 April 1965. It was also the title track for the band's debut album. Only three weeks earlier it had been included on Bob Dylan’s fifth studio album titled Bringing It All Back Home.

The Byrds' first exposure to the song was via a discarded studio outtake which featured Ramblin’ Jack Elliot on vocals in the chorus. The outtake had originally been intended for release on Dylan’s 1964 album Another Side Of Bob Dylan, but was instead re-recorded and held back until Dylan's next album.

After listening to Mr Tambourine Man, Dylan responded, “Wow, you can dance to that!”

Only three of the original Byrds band members were present for the recording of the single because their manager wasn’t yet confident in the group’s ability to record the track unassisted. Roger McGuinn sang lead vocals, he was also the only original band member to play an instrument on the recording. The rest of the parts were performed by a group of session musicians who later became known as The Wrecking Crew.

The mix of sustain and reverb in the guitar tracks is now considered a pioneering sound. Some even argue that it represents the first example of folk rock.

The Byrds cover Bob Dylan for their debut single
The Byrds shot to fame in 1965 with their cover of Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man

In March 1965, The Byrds’ band manager, Jim Dickson, invited Dylan to hear The Byrds' pop rendition of his song. After listening to Mr Tambourine Man, Dylan responded, “Wow, you can dance to that!” He then made an unannounced appearance at Le Ciro’s Le Disc, where The Byrds had taken up residency to rehearse for their upcoming recording sessions. Dylan shared vocals with Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark on Jimmy Reed’s "Baby What You Want Me To Do".

Dylan remained a fan of Roger McGuinn’s interpretations of his songs for some time. In 1969 when Dylan was asked to write a song for the Easy Rider soundtrack, he instead quickly wrote down on a tissue: “The river flows, it flows to the sea/Wherever that river goes, that's where I want to be/Flow, river, flow”. Roger McGuinn used these lyrics as the foundation for "Ballad of Easy Rider", which Dylan requested not to receive credit for.

And yet, in the famous interview between Bob Dylan and A.J Weberman in 1971, when asked for a response to Roger McGuinn’s comments about him in Creem magazine, Dylan responded ‘You can just say, Fuck him Man.’ So as always where Bob Dylan is concerned, who knows what to believe?

The Byrds cover Bob Dylan for their debut single
Bob Dylan on stage with The Byrds at Ciro's Le Disc - March 1965

Other versions of this track

More recent news

Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

News

December 23rd, 1969: Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 is the latest release from Motown

 
The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

News

December 20th, 1969: The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

Irish folk group, The Clancy Brothers have recorded 11 songs to bring a little joy to your Christmas

 
See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

News

December 18th, 1969: See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

The new Doors album is due for release early next year.

 
Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Article

December 10th, 1969: Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Here's the story of Altamont in quotes from many of the people involved.

 
The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

News

December 5th, 1969: The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

As The Stones finish their run of U.S. concert dates they have released their eighth album, Let It Bleed.

 
This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Interviews

December 4th, 1969: This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Read the transcript below of Dylan and Wenner's interview from June this year

 
Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

News

December 3rd, 1969: Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

Listen to Harris's cover of Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" from her album Gliding Bird

 
Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's 'She Belongs To Me'

Live At The Gaslight

Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me"

Recorded in Atlantic City at Dylan Fest in 2015

 
Watch Roy Orbison perform 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Johnny Cash last week

News

October 4th, 1969: Watch Roy Orbison perform "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Johnny Cash last week

Orbison appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville

 
Mixtape October 1969

Mixtapes

October 1st, 1969: Mixtape October 1969

It's the end of Summer 1969, here's what I'm listening to.

 
Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single 'Pewter Suitor' this week - Listen

News

October 1st, 1969: Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single "Pewter Suitor" this week - Listen

The new single was left off the band's album Unicorn, from earlier this year.

 
'I was just about all through as a man' Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Interviews

October 1st, 1969: "I was just about all through as a man" Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Cash gave a brief interview recently while visiting London

 
Loading more