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"Full Circle Song"
Song by Gene Clark

from the album Roadmaster

Released January, 1973
Recorded 17 April, 18 April, 24 April 1972, Wally Heider Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Rock, Country rock
Length 2:44
Label A&M
Writer Gene Clark
Producer Chris Hinshaw
"Full Circle"

1973 German picture sleeve.
Single by The Byrds
from the album Byrds
B-side "Long Live the King"
Released 11 April 1973
Format 7" single
Recorded 16 October — 15 November 1972, Wally Heider Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Rock, Country rock
Length 2:43
Label Asylum
Writer(s) Gene Clark
Producer David Crosby
The Byrds singles chronology
"America's Great National Pastime"
(1971)
"Full Circle"
(1973)
"Things Will Be Better"
(1973)

"Full Circle Song" (aka "Full Circle") is a song written by Gene Clark in 1972 that utilizes an allegorical wheel of fortune motif to comment on the unpredictable nature of fame and fortune.[1] The song originally appeared in January 1973 on Clark's Roadmaster album, which was initially released exclusively in Holland.[2] "Full Circle Song" was also included, in a re-recorded version, under the alternate title of "Full Circle" on The Byrds' reunion album, Byrds, in March 1973.[1] Although the song can be interpreted as an autobiographical commentary on Clark's own critically lauded but financially unrewarding solo career, Clark always denied this,[3] telling The Byrds' biographer, Johnny Rogan, that "It wasn't really written about anything specific. It was just an idea I had."[1]

"Full Circle Song" was initially recorded in April 1972 at Wally Heider Studios, Los Angeles as part of the recording sessions for Clark's second album on A&M Records.[4] For these sessions, Clark and record producer Chris Hinshaw assembled a top flight crew of L.A. studio musicians, including Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Clarence White, Byron Berline and Spooner Oldham, but progress on the proposed album was slow.[4] The sessions were eventually abandoned because of A&M's frustration at the lack of progress in the studio and consequently the album was shelved.[2] Some months later, Gene's friend and the ex-manager of The Byrds, Jim Dickson, approached the head of A&M's foreign markets division, Dave Hubert, about a possible European release for the eight tracks completed during the abandoned album sessions.[2] Despite protests from some A&M executives, these tracks were compiled with three other previously unreleased Clark songs, and released in Holland as the Roadmaster album.[2]

Prior to the Dutch release of Roadmaster, Clark decided to re-record "Full Circle Song" in late 1972 for inclusion on The Byrds' reunion album, since at that time the song was gathering dust in the A&M vaults. During recording sessions for the album, the song was renamed "Full Circle" and, for a time, it provided the working title for the reunion album which would eventually be released as Byrds. Clark was uncomfortable with the song being the title track of the album because he felt that the public might mistakenly assume that the song had been written specifically for The Byrds' reunion, which was not the case.[1]

The Byrds' recording of the song is similar in feel to the Roadmaster version but it features the addition of a soaring David Crosby harmony vocal and some striking mandolin playing from The Byrds' bass player, Chris Hillman.[5] Following the release of the reunion album, "Full Circle" was issued as a single in the United States on April 11, 1973 (coupled with David Crosby's "Long Live the King") but it only managed to reach #109 on the Billboard chart.[6] Oddly, the song was not released as a single in the United Kingdom for another two-and-a-half years, finally being issued on August 8, 1975 but failing to reach the UK Singles Chart.[1][7]

The song was covered by Dan Fogelberg on his 2003 album, Full Circle, and has also been recorded by Joe Algeri on his The Stockholm Years album. In addition, "Full Circle" was recorded by Walter Clevenger for the 2007 Byrds' tribute album, Timeless Flyte: A Tribute to The Byrds.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  2. ^ a b c d Einarson, John. (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.  
  3. ^ "Full Circle Song review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:difuxzy5ldae. Retrieved 2009-10-14.  
  4. ^ a b Ballard, Barry. (1986). Roadmaster (1986 CD liner notes).  
  5. ^ "Byrds". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. http://ebni.com/byrds/lpbr.html. Retrieved 2009-10-13.  
  6. ^ "Byrds Discography". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. http://ebni.com/byrds/refdiscogbyrds.html. Retrieved 2009-10-13.  
  7. ^ "The Byrds chart data". Ultimate Music Database. http://www.umdmusic.com/default.asp?Lang=English&Search=Byrds&Where=Bands. Retrieved 2009-10-17.  
  8. ^ "List of recordings of songs titled Full Circle". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=17:534742. Retrieved 2009-10-13.  
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