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"Set You Free This Time"

1966 German picture sleeve.
Single by The Byrds
from the album Turn! Turn! Turn!
B-side "It Won't Be Wrong"
Released January 10, 1966
Format 7" single
Recorded September 16, 1965, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Folk rock, Rock
Length 2:49
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Gene Clark
Producer Terry Melcher
The Byrds singles chronology
"Turn! Turn! Turn!"
(1965)
"Set You Free This Time"
(1966)
"It Won't Be Wrong"
(1966)

"Set You Free This Time" is a song by the American folk rock band The Byrds and was the third track on their 1965 album, Turn! Turn! Turn!.[1] The song was released as the A-side of a single on January 10, 1966 and reached #79 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2][3] After initially poor sales, Columbia Records in America began promoting "It Won't Be Wrong" (the single's B-side), which resulted in the single eventually charting at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2][4]

In the United Kingdom, after the NME had stated in a review that the B-side was better than "Set You Free This Time", CBS Records went a step further and actually re-released the single on February 18, 1966 with "It Won't Be Wrong" as the A-side.[5][6] This re-issuing of essentially the same single twice within two weeks caused confusion amongst Radio DJs over which of the two songs they should play and contributed to the single's lack of success, in either of its configurations.[6] To accompany the single's UK release, the BBC commissioned a short promotional film from The Byrds but although footage for the clip was filmed, it was never aired.[3]

"Set You Free This Time" was written by Gene Clark, who also sings the lead vocal and plays harmonica on the track.[7][8] The song concerns the breakup of a relationship and Clark's vocal inflections and densely-worded lyrics suggest the influence of Bob Dylan.[9] The song also has a vague country-rock feel to it, largely due to the song's melody and Gene Clark's harmonica solo.[10] The chord progression and rhythm of the song, however, are atypical of country music. Clark stated that the song was written in just a few hours during The Byrds' 1965 British tour, after a night spent carousing with Paul McCartney.[8]

Despite its lack of commercial success, the single gained mostly positive reviews in the music press, with Penny Valentine commenting in Disc magazine that "On first play, I didn't like it - but now I do. It's rather unByrd-like and very, very Dylan-like. It's slow and gentle and rather sad about never being a person who had much, and though she laughed at him and has now come for help, he doesn't hold a grudge. Ahh!"[11] The Beatles' drummer, Ringo Starr, while reviewing the latest singles in Melody Maker, commented "I only heard it the other day. They can do no wrong in my book. Great record, man, I love the voices."[11] In the U.S., the first edition of Crawdaddy! magazine described "Set You Free This Time" as "a lovely, moving song with Dylan-like 20-syllabal lines deckful of well chosen words...the singer is deliberate and effective; he occasionally under-emotes, but since the group does not rely completely on the vocal to convey feeling, no harm is done."[2]

References

  1. ^ "Turn! Turn! Turn! album review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:difyxqw5ld6e. Retrieved 2009-12-09.  
  2. ^ a b c Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 79. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  
  3. ^ a b Einarson, John. (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark. Backbeat Books. p. 86. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.  
  4. ^ "The Byrds chart data". Ultimate Music Database. http://www.umdmusic.com/default.asp?Lang=English&Search=Byrds&Where=Bands. Retrieved 2009-07-28.  
  5. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 541. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  6. ^ a b Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 156. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  7. ^ Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 66. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  
  8. ^ a b Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 144. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  9. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1996). Turn! Turn! Turn! (1996 CD liner notes).  
  10. ^ "Set You Free This Time review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:bt8ibks9da1x. Retrieved 2009-12-09.  
  11. ^ a b Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 82. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  

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