Review #287: Mr. Tambourine Man, The Byrds

Karla Clifton
2 min readJun 14, 2022


#287: Mr. Tambourine Man, The Byrds

I love listening to the classics, I really do. But every time I have to review a band I’ve already reviewed, I get a little more weary of old things. Give me NEW things. Give me diversity, give me women, give me math rock. Give me TOOL. Jesus, give me evidence you didn’t just turn off your radio in 1971!

Look, the Byrds are great, but we JUST saw them at #274, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. I love their cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” so much that I assumed they were the original and Bob Dylan was the cover artist. (In fact it’s off #181, Bringing It All Back Home. In other words, we’ve already heard this song.)

Okay, it is cool that Dylan loved the Byrds’ take, and I love how they sound too, with Roger McGuinn’s jingle-jangle twelve-string and five men who are able to harmonize. And I was kind of taken with the fact that they also tackled “All I Really Wanna Do” from Another Side of Bob Dylan. Sounds like someone had a little crush.

And OKAY, I’ll admit that I was into the whole British-bard/wizard thing they had going on. I’m always into songs about bells like “The Bells of Rhymney.” And I love the vivid language in “Spanish Harlem Incident,” where his lover is a monster made of precious gems.

But I just couldn’t be won over by the smattering of love songs, not the early-Beatles-esque “You Won’t Have To Cry” and “I Knew I’d Want You” or the lullaby-like “Here Without You.” “It’s No Use” was okay, but all their Vera Lynn cover “We’ll Meet Again” made me feel was anger that Vera Lynn herself isn’t on the freaking list.

I’m not saying the Byrds weren’t amazing. Gene Clark’s “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” has been covered to the moon and back (See you on #298, Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever!) and “Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe” is my new anthem. But I AM saying that I’m not going to waste any more time talking about how awesome the Byrds are. I want to talk about something new.

Weirdest Song: “Chimes of Freedom” is like a Bruce Springsteen outtake.

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