In between the two weeks “I Can’t Help Myself” was number one, this song by the Byrds snuck into the number one spot. The Byrds were an American rock band who helped to shape the sound of the Sixties.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” was written by the great Bob Dylan for his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. If you listen to the Byrds singing this song, you can hear Bob Dylan in the lyrics. When the Byrds decided to record the song, it was one of the first examples of marrying rock with folk, creating the folk rock sound. Folk rock would be around for a long time, represented by such groups as The Eagles and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I kind of consider “Mr. Tambourine Man” to be the start of the psychedelic period of the late Sixties. If you listen to the words they are definitely a little weird. It sounds like you have to be a little high to understand what they are singing about.
The Byrds were made up of, first Jim McGuinn, who later was known as Roger McGuinn. (His name was James Roger McGuinn.) Gene Clark and Michael Clarke were members. Also, David Crosby, who later became the Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash was an early member of the group, as was Chris Hillman, who later became a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. The group changed membership frequently and finally disbanded altogether in 1973. The only person to remain through all of those years was Roger McGuinn.
Their time on the charts was brief, only two years, from 1965 until 1967. They only had seven Top 40 songs, and two number ones, but they are recognized as being one of the prime influences of rock music for the next twenty years. In 1991, the original lineup reunited for the last time to play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when the group was inducted. Gene Clark died in 1991 of a heart attack. Then Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993. David Crosby is still alive and is 76 years old today. Roger McGuinn is also alive and is 75, as is Chris Hillman at 72 years of age. The Byrds may never perform together again, but their influence is still felt to this day.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” entered the pop charts on June 5, 1965 and spent one week at number one. We will see them again later in 1965 with “Turn, Turn, Turn.”