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The Byrds – Fifth Dimension (1966)

December 28, 2019

[Album 706/1001]

When does a theory officially become disproven?

Is it when new evidence suggests the results won’t hold 100% of the time?

I ask, of course, because one of my theories is on the verge of collapsing.

For you see, when I reviewed The Notorious Byrd Brothers, I suggested that when a Byrds album contained a cover, that cover tune would inevitably be the album standout.

And up until now, it’s been true 100% of the time…

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The pattern was just so consistent:

Standout tune on Mr. Tambourine Man? The Rickenbacker-tastic title track.

Younger Than Yesterday? Another fine Dylan interpretation, My Back Pages.220px-5DCover

Notorious Byrd Brothers? Goin’ Back.

Sweetheart of The Rodeo? Blue Canadian Rockies.

On Fifth Dimension? I was cheering for the cover of Hey Joe, to keep the streak alive!

And while the cowbell didn’t hurt its cause, I’m afraid it wasn’t enough.

The Clark-McGuinn-Crosby original, Eight Miles High, was too good of a track to ignore.

Though perhaps this lone case of an ‘original track as the standout’ is merely an outlier/asterisk/exception to the rule?

If the ‘cover is the standout’ theory remains true >= 80% of the time (as I gather it may be with their Turn! Turn! Turn! album & title track as well), there’s still some validity?

In any event, if you’re going to be proven wrong about something, there’s no shame in losing to a worthy opponent.

And if my Byrds theory has to be disproven, having a song as strong as Eight Miles High break the streak is a good way to go out!

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to Graham/Aphoristical for finishing first in this year’s Artist of the Week quizzes!

From → 1960s

18 Comments
  1. Thanks for the shoutout. That cover of ‘Hey Joe’ is terrible – ‘Eight Miles High’ is clearly the standout.

    • For narrative/pie chart convenience, it would have been nice to suggest Hey Joe was the top track – but alas, as you are well aware having heard the track, it just wasn’t possible!

      • For the record, I’d definitely pick Turn! Turn! Turn! on its album, but would pick one of Parsons’ tracks like ‘Hickory Wind’ for Sweetheart of the Rodeo. I love most of Notorious, so that one’s not clear-cut either.

      • ahh well, the covers theory was good while it lasted!

      • It’s all opinion. Maybe if I was Canadian I’d be opting for Blue Canadian Rockies too…

  2. Yeah, it’s hard to look beyond Eight Miles High, eh?

    But in general, I think The Byrds were great at interpreting the songs of others.

  3. Time for another theory.

  4. Van Halen’s Diver Down would be opposite Geoff.
    I would put 80% originals being excellent.
    20% covers with Where Have All The Good Times Gone The Kinks cover almost sounding like a VH Original.
    I think you should check Diver Down out Geoff!

    • That sounds up my street Deke – especially when there’s math/a pie chart involved!
      Do you remember the terrific nerf herder song, Van Halen? Diver Down was the one album they didn’t name-check from the DLR era. Sounds like an oversight!

      • I boufght that CD for that song. I recall Tbone saying this dissed Diver Down. hahaha
        We both howled and I cannot even tell you what another song from them was on that disc!
        Made a good coaster haha

  5. “And if my Byrds theory has to be disproven, having a song as strong as Eight Miles High break the streak is a good way to go out!”

    It also marked the begin of the decline of the Byrds. Their stuff at the beginning was great, especially the 12-string Rickenbacker Dylan covers. But then they went country. It wasn’t country rock like, say, the Eagles, but down-home, clod-hopping, tear-in-my-beer country. What a shame. Maybe they were a one-trick pony.

    • I sometimes wonder if the songs beneath the 12-string rickenbacker tones are good – I’m so enamoured by the guitar tones, it’s possible the actual tunes aren’t as good as I think they are!

  6. I wonder if I could find a similar, but opposite streak with “Weird Al” Yankovic. I have always found his originals are better than his parodies.

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