One of the most influential American-spawned bands will be celebrated with the five-disc box set, “The Byrds: There is a Season.” Due Aug. 29 via Columbia/Legacy, the package compiles 99 studio and live tracks on four CDs and pairs them with a DVD featuring the band’s appearances on U.S. and U.K. television shows in the 1960s.
Every participating member in the band’s storied history is represented, from the original quintet of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke and including Clarence White, Kevin Kelley, Gram Parsons, Gene Parsons, John York and Skip Battin. Fans will find every piece of the Byrds’ flight on display, beginning with 1964 demos as Jet Set and both sides of a single released under the name Beefeaters, through to the final Byrds studio album in 1973 and a 1990 McGuinn/Crosby/Hillman recording session for Legacy’s first Byrds box set.
Following the 1990 release of that collection, the label revamped the group’s catalog with remastered and expanded editions. “There is a Season” includes most of the original and bonus material that was featured on those reissues and organizes them in chronological order to tell the band’s story.
Still, the set adds five previously unreleased tracks, all of them capturing the band live. The second disc features an April 1967 Swedish radio broadcast of the band performing “He Was a Friend of Mine,” while the rest stem from 1970 and appear on the fourth disc. Two were recorded at New York’s Queens College (“You All Look Alike” and “Nashville West”) and two at the city’s Fillmore East (Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” and “I Trust”).
Meanwhile, the DVD collects the band’s appearances on various television shows performing such beloved songs as “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” and “Eight Miles High,” among others.”
A full-color book accompanying the music boasts liner notes by Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke, including exclusive interviews with McGuinn and Hillman and appreciations penned by Tom Petty and the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris. The book also features exhaustive information for each track.
“No band -– with the exception of the Byrds’ biggest fans and transatlantic rivals, the Beatles -– achieved so much in so short a time, even in the runaway Sixties,” Fricke writes. “And no other band risked so much, and came so close to losing it all, for the sake of going forward. The hits brought riches and acclaim -– but also disappointment, argument, desertion and, with amazing regularity, rebirth.”