The Full Wiki

Younger Than Yesterday: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Younger Than Yesterday
Studio album by The Byrds
Released February 6, 1967
Recorded November 28 – December 8, 1966, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Rock, Psychedelic rock, Folk rock, Raga rock
Length 29:11
Label Columbia
Producer Gary Usher
Professional reviews
The Byrds chronology
Fifth Dimension (1966)
Younger Than Yesterday
The Byrds' Greatest Hits
Singles from Younger Than Yesterday
  1. "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" / "Everybody's Been Burned"
    Released: January 9, 1967
  2. "My Back Pages" / "Renaissance Fair"
    Released: March 13, 1967
  3. "Have You Seen Her Face" / "Don't Make Waves""
    Released: May 22, 1967

Younger Than Yesterday is the fourth album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in February 1967 (see 1967 in music) on Columbia Records.[1][2] The album saw the band continuing to explore the genre of psychedelic rock as well as experimenting with new musical textures, including brass instruments and reverse tape effects.[2][3] It also marked the emergence of the band's bass player, Chris Hillman, as the group's third songwriter.[4] Two of Hillman's compositions on Younger Than Yesterday exhibited country & western influences and thus, can be seen as early indicators of the country rock direction the band would pursue on their later albums.[4] The title of the album is derived from the lyrics of "My Back Pages", a song written by Bob Dylan which was covered on the album.[5]

Younger Than Yesterday peaked at #24 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reached #37 on the UK Albums Chart.[6][7] A preceding single, "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star", was released in January 1967 and reached the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100.[8] Two additional singles taken from the album, "My Back Pages" and "Have You Seen Her Face", were also moderately successful on the Billboard singles chart.[8] However, none of the singles taken from the album charted in the United Kingdom.[7] Although it was largely overlooked by the public at the time of its release, the album's critical standing has improved over the years and today Younger Than Yesterday is considered one of The Byrds' finest albums.[2][9]



Shortly after the release of The Byrds' Fifth Dimension album, the band found themselves without a record producer when Allen Stanton, who had worked on Fifth Dimension, left Columbia Records to work for A&M.[10] The band chose to replace Stanton with Gary Usher, a former songwriting partner of Brian Wilson, who had recently co-produced ex-Byrd Gene Clark's debut solo album, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers.[11][10] Usher had a wealth of production experience and a love of innovative studio experimentation that would prove invaluable as The Byrds entered their most creatively adventurous phase.[10] In addition to producing Younger Than Yesterday, Usher would go on to produce the band's next two albums as well.[12]

The entire album was completed during a work-intensive, eleven day period, starting on November 28 and finishing on December 8, 1966.[9] The original working title for the LP was Sanctuary but ultimately this was dropped in favor of a title inspired by the chorus lyrics of the Bob Dylan song, "My Back Pages", which the band had chosen to cover on the album;[9][5]

Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.[13]

Younger Than Yesterday was the first album to be entirely recorded by The Byrds without the participation of original member and principle songwriter, Gene Clark.[14] As on the band's previous album, guitarists Jim McGuinn and David Crosby continued to hone their songwriting skills in an attempt to fill the void left by Clark, while Michael Clarke, continued to mature into a competent and at times, impressive drummer.[15] However, the most surprising development within The Byrds at this time was the emergence of bass player, Chris Hillman, as the band's third songwriter.[4] On the Fifth Dimension album, Hillman's only writing contribution had been a shared credit for the instrumental, "Captain Soul", but on Younger Than Yesterday he is credited as the sole songwriter of four tracks, as well as the co-writer of "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star".[16][3]


The album's opening track, "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star", was an acerbic but good-natured swipe at the success of manufactured pop bands like The Monkees.[9] However, the song also suggested certain ironies due to pre-fabricated aspects of The Byrds' own origin, including session musicians having played on their debut single and drummer, Michael Clarke, having been initially recruited for his good looks rather than his musical ability.[17][4] These factors lead some fans to mistake "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" for an autobiographical song.[9] Hillman's driving bassline and McGuinn's chiming, twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar riff form the core of the song, with the production being rounded off by the sound of screaming teenage fans, recorded at a Byrds' concert in Bournemouth during the band's 1965 English tour.[4][18] South African jazz musician, Hugh Masekela, contributed the trumpet solo featured in the song, which represented the first use of brass on a Byrds' recording.[3][4] Masekela and The Byrds would later perform "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" together at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 17, 1967.[19]

The album also found The Byrds successfully expanding their musical style into several different directions. Chris Hillman contributed two country rock flavored songs with "Time Between" and "The Girl with No Name", the latter of which was inspired by a young lady with the unusual name of Girl Freiberg.[20][4] "Time Between", on the other hand, was a Paul McCartney influenced pop song and the result of Hillman's first ever attempt at writing a song on his own.[21] Both songs featured the country-style guitar playing of Clarence White, who would go on to become a full member of The Byrds' latter-day line-up from 1968 through to 1973.[22] Both "Time Between" and "The Girl with No Name", like "Mr. Spaceman" before them, anticipated The Byrds' future experimentation with the country rock genre.[23][4] In addition to these two country-tinged songs, Hillman also contributed the LSD-influenced "Thoughts and Words", a metaphysical meditation on human relationships that featured the sitar-like sound of backwards guitar effects.[20] A fourth Hillman-penned song on the album, the British Invasion influenced "Have You Seen Her Face", was considered commercial enough to be issued as a single in the U.S. some months after the release of the album.[9][20] These four Chris Hillman songs brought a melodic flavor to the album that had been missing from the band since Gene Clark's departure.[3][4]

McGuinn and Crosby's songs, written both separately and together, represented an expansion of the jazz influences and psychedelia that had been featured heavily on the band's previous album. "C.T.A.-102", named after the CTA-102 quasar and written by McGuinn and his science-fiction minded partner, Bob Hippard, was a whimsical but ultimately serious song that speculated on the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life.[20] McGuinn explained the inspiration for the song in a 1973 interview: "At the time we wrote it I thought it might be possible to make contact with quasars, but later I found out that they were stars which are imploding at a tremendous velocity. They're condensing and spinning at the same time, and the nucleus is sending out tremendous amounts of radiation, some of which is audible as an electronic impulse on a computerized radio telescope. It comes out in a rhythmic pattern, but the frequency of the signal depends on the size, and originally, the radio astronomers who received these impulses thought they were from a life-form in space."[24] Although the band's earlier song, "Mr. Spaceman", had been thematically similar, "C.T.A.-102" was a slightly more serious attempt at tackling the subject matter, highlighted by the extensive use of studio sound effects, simulated alien voices and the sound of an electronic oscillator.[24][3]

Crosby's songwriting skills had also developed rapidly, with "Renaissance Fair" (co-written with McGuinn) being an example of his increasingly wistful and atmospheric writing style.[9] The song is marked by the instrumental interplay between Crosby and McGuinn's guitars and Hillman's melodic, loping bass.[9][4] Inspired by a visit to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California, the song's dream-like medieval ambience can be seen as a thematic precursor to Crosby's later song, "Guinnevere".[21][4] Another of Crosby's songwriting contributions to the album was the moody, jazz-influenced "Everybody's Been Burned", a somber meditation on the need to find a balance between disillusionment and the determination to begin again in a relationship.[2][20] Although the song was regarded as a leap forward in terms of musical sophistication, it actually dated back to 1962, before the formation of The Byrds.[3][4] Originally written as a nightclub torch song, Crosby had recorded demos of "Everybody's Been Burned" as early as 1963.[4][25] Author Johnny Rogan has noted that The Byrds' recording of the song features one of Crosby's best vocal performances and one of McGuinn's most moving guitar solos.[20]

Crosby's ambitions for artistic control within the band were expanding along with his compositional skill and the resulting turmoil would ultimately lead to his dismissal from the group during recording sessions for The Byrds' next album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers.[9] One source of discontent for Crosby during the recording of Younger Than Yesterday was related to the Bob Dylan cover, "My Back Pages".[21] The song had been suggested as a suitable vehicle for The Byrds by their manager, Jim Dickson, but since it was the fourth song from Dylan's Another Side of Bob Dylan album that the band had covered, Crosby felt, with some justification, that recording "My Back Pages" was formulaic and a step backwards artistically.[21][4] However, since the album's release, critics have praised the song as one of The Byrds' strongest Dylan interpretations.[20]

Meanwhile, Crosby insisted upon the inclusion of two contentious tracks on the album. The first, "Mind Gardens", was disliked by the other band members and derided by McGuinn as having no "rhythm, meter, or rhyme."[26] In fact, Crosby himself echoed McGuinn's comments but saw the song's unusual structure and atonal vocal as being positive aspects, rather than negative ones.[4][20] In later years, Crosby defended the song in interview by stating "it was unusual and not everybody could understand it because they'd never heard anything like it before. At that time everything was supposed to have rhyme and have rhythm. And it neither rhymed nor had rhythm, so it was outside of their experience."[20] Although the song is often ridiculed by fans of the band for being excessively self-indulgent, its raga rock ambiance, allegorical lyrics and attractive backwards guitar effects capture The Byrds at their most creatively adventurous.[21][20]

The second contentious song that Crosby fought to have included on the album was the closing track "Why", which had already been issued as the B-side of the band's "Eight Miles High" single, some eleven months earlier.[3][1] The version of "Why" included on Younger Than Yesterday was recorded during sessions for the album and is a totally different take from the previously released version.[3][14][27] Exactly why Crosby insisted on resurrecting the song when there was newer original material in reserve remains a mystery, although The Byrds' roadie, Jimmi Seiter, has speculated that it was an attempt to increase Crosby's share of the songwriting on the album.[20] Inspired by the Indian classical music of Ravi Shankar, the song's Indian influences were considerably watered down on the re-recorded version that appeared on Younger Than Yesterday when compared to the earlier B-side recording.[28][29][20]

Release and reception

Younger Than Yesterday was released on February 6, 1967 in the United States (catalogue item CL 2642 in mono, CS 9442 in stereo) and April 7, 1967 in the UK (catalogue item BPG 62988 in mono, SBPG 62988 in stereo).[1] It peaked at #24 on the Billboard Top LPs chart, during a stay of 24 weeks, and reached #37 in the United Kingdom, spending a total of 4 weeks on the UK chart.[6][7] The album's front cover featured a composite multiple exposure photograph of the band, taken by Frank Bez.[30] The preceding "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" single was released on January 9, 1967 and reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 but failed to chart in the UK.[5] Two additional singles taken from the album, "My Back Pages" and "Have You Seen Her Face", reached #30 and #74 on the Billboard chart respectively but again missed the UK chart.[8] The "My Back Pages" single is notable for being the last single release by The Byrds to reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.[8]

Upon release, the album received mostly positive reviews from the music press, with Billboard magazine predicting that "The Byrds will be riding high on the LP charts again with this top rock package."[5] Pete Johnson in the Los Angeles Times was more cautious, noting that "The group is musically adept and the album is a good one, but it would be sad if it served as a monument, marking the end of The Byrds' development. There is little to distinguish it from their previous LPs in terms of creativity."[5] A resoundingly positive review came from the pen of Peter Reilly, writing in Hi-Fi/Stereo Review, who described the album as "an enjoyable and well-made album which, if listened to closely enough, explains a good deal about what is going on around us. I recommend it heartily."[5] However, the burgeoning underground press in the U.S. was less complimentary, with Richard Goldstein, writing in New York's The Village Voice, noting that "There is nothing new or startling on Younger Than Yesterday."[5] A slightly more positive review by Sandy Pearlman in Crawdaddy! expressed some reservations but praised the album's musical eclecticism, while noting "This sound is dense, but not obviously and impressively complicated. That is, it is very coherent. It works because of its unity, not out of an accumulation of contrasting effects such as volume changes and syncopations."[1]

In the UK, journalist Penny Valentine, writing in Disc magazine, described the album as a return to form for The Byrds, before declaring that the band were "back where they belong with a sound as fresh as cream and sunflowers."[31] Melody Maker was also enthusiastic about the album, commenting "if you ignore this album you are not only foolish - but deaf!", while Record Mirror awarded the album four stars out of five.[31] Allen Evans of the NME also praised the LP: "This is an exciting album, at times brash and noisy ('So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star', 'Have You Seen Her Face'), spooky (the science-fiction outer-space sounds on 'C.T.A.-102'), folksy ('Everybody's Been Burned'), weird (the irritating, monotonous backing to 'Mind Gardens'), and pleasant (the soft swinging of 'The Girl with No Name'). A lot of thought has gone into this album and it's good because of it."[31]

Although Younger Than Yesterday was somewhat overlooked by the record buying public at the time of its release, achieving only moderate chart success as a result, its critical stature has grown substantially over the years.[2][9] Richie Unterberger, writing on the Allmusic website, described the album as one of "the most durable of the Byrds' albums" and noted rock critic, Robert Christgau, writing in 2007, called it "the Byrds' first mature album, a blend of space-flight twang and electric hoedown infused with the imminent glow of 1967 yet underlined with crackling realism."[2][32] In 2003, the album was ranked at #124 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[33]

Younger Than Yesterday was remastered at 20-bit resolution and had three of its tracks remixed as part of the Columbia/Legacy Byrds series.[34] It was reissued in an expanded form on April 30, 1996, with six bonus tracks, including "Lady Friend" and "Old John Robertson", which had both been issued as a non-album single in July 1967. The remastered CD also included the David Crosby penned track, "It Happens Each Day", which had been omitted from the original album and "Don't Make Waves", a song that had been written for the Alexander Mackendrick film, Don't Make Waves.[3] The final track on the CD extends to include a hidden track featuring the guitar parts from "Mind Gardens", which were heard on the album playing backwards but are presented here playing forwards, as they were originally recorded.[35]

Track listing

Side 1

  1. "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" (Chris Hillman, Jim McGuinn) – 2:05
  2. "Have You Seen Her Face" (Chris Hillman) – 2:25
  3. "C.T.A.-102" (Jim McGuinn, Robert J. Hippard) – 2:28
  4. "Renaissance Fair" (David Crosby, Jim McGuinn) – 1:51
  5. "Time Between" (Chris Hillman) – 1:53
  6. "Everybody's Been Burned" (David Crosby) – 3:05

Side 2

  1. "Thoughts and Words" (Chris Hillman) – 2:56
  2. "Mind Gardens" (David Crosby) – 3:28
  3. "My Back Pages" (Bob Dylan) – 3:08
  4. "The Girl with No Name" (Chris Hillman) – 1:50
  5. "Why" (Jim McGuinn, David Crosby) – 2:45

1996 CD reissue bonus tracks

  1. "It Happens Each Day" (David Crosby) – 2:44
  2. "Don't Make Waves" (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 1:36
  3. "My Back Pages" [Alternate Version] (Bob Dylan) – 2:42
  4. "Mind Gardens" [Alternate Version] (David Crosby) – 3:17
  5. "Lady Friend" (David Crosby) – 2:30
  6. "Old John Robertson" [Single Version] (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 5:05
    • NOTE: this song ends at 1:53; at 2:03 begins "Mind Gardens" [Instrumental Guitar Track] (David Crosby)


  1. "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" b/w "Everybody's Been Burned" (Columbia 43987) January 9, 1967 (US #29)
  2. "My Back Pages" b/w "Renaissance Fair" (Columbia 44054) March 13, 1967 (US #30)
  3. "Have You Seen Her Face" b/w "Don't Make Waves" (Columbia 44157) May 22, 1967 (US #74)


NOTE: Sources for this section are as follows: [3][14][21][36][37]

The Byrds
Additional Personnel

Release history

Date Label Format Country Catalog Notes
February 6, 1967 Columbia LP US CL 2642 Original mono release.
CS 9442 Original stereo release.
April 7, 1967 CBS LP UK BPG 62988 Original mono release.
SBPG 62988 Original stereo release.
1987 Edsel LP UK ED 227
1987 Edsel CD UK EDCD 227 Original CD release.
1989 Columbia CD US CK 9442
1993 Columbia CD UK COL 468181
April 30, 1996 Columbia/Legacy CD US CK 64848 Reissue containing six bonus tracks and a partially remixed version of the stereo album.
May 6, 1996 UK COL 4837082
1999 Simply Vinyl LP UK SVLP 0007 Reissue of the partially remixed stereo album.
1999 Sundazed LP US LP 5060 Reissue of the partially remixed stereo album with three bonus tracks.
2003 Sony CD Japan MHCP-69 Reissue containing the partially remixed stereo album with six bonus tracks in a replica LP sleeve.
2006 Sundazed LP US LP 5200 Reissue of the original mono release.

Remix information

Younger Than Yesterday was one of four Byrds albums that were remixed as part of their re-release on Columbia/Legacy.[34] However, unlike Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, which were remixed extensively, only three tracks on Younger Than Yesterday were remixed, although it is unknown exactly which songs received this treatment.[34] The reason for these remixes was explained by Bob Irwin (who produced these re-issues for compact disc) during an interview:

The first four Byrds albums had sold so well, and the master tapes used so much that they were at least two, if not three generations down from the original. In most cases, a first-generation master no longer existed. They were basically played to death; they were worn out, there was nothing left of them.[38]

He further states:

Each album is taken from the original multi-tracks, where they exist, which is in 95% of the cases. We remixed them exactly as they were, without taking any liberties, except for the occasional song appearing in stereo for the first time.[38]

Many fans enjoy the partially remixed album because it is very close to the original mix in most cases and offers noticeably better sound quality.[34] However, there are also a lot of fans who dismiss the remix as revisionist history and prefer to listen to the original mix on vinyl or on the pre-1996 CD releases.


  1. ^ a b c d Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 544-546. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Younger Than Yesterday review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-01-02.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rogan, Johnny. (1996). Younger Than Yesterday (1996 CD liner notes).  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Younger Than Yesterday". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. pp. 118-120. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  
  6. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel. (2002). Top Pop Albums 1955-2001. Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-147-0.  
  7. ^ a b c Brown, Tony. (2000). The Complete Book of the British Charts. Omnibus Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-7119-7670-8.  
  8. ^ a b c d "The Byrds chart data". Ultimate Music Database. Retrieved 2009-07-31.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fricke, David. (1996). Younger Than Yesterday (1996 CD liner notes).  
  10. ^ a b c Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 185-186. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  11. ^ Einarson, John. (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark. Backbeat Books. pp. 112-113. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.  
  12. ^ "The Gary Usher Discography - LPs". The Original Gary Usher Web Page. Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  13. ^ Dylan, Bob. (2006). Lyrics: 1962-2001. Simon & Schuster. pp. 152–153. ISBN 0-74323-101-5.  
  14. ^ a b c Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 620-622. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  15. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 204. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  16. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1996). Fifth Dimension (1996 CD liner notes).  
  17. ^ "The Byrds Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-01-02.  
  18. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 193. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  19. ^ Selvin, Joel. (1992). Monterey Pop. Chronicle Books. p. 54. ISBN 0-8118-0153-5.  
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 196-202. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  21. ^ a b c d e f Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. pp. 113-115. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  
  22. ^ "Clarence White Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  23. ^ "American Band: The Byrds, from folk rock to country rock". Crazed Fanboy. Retrieved 2009-07-28.  
  24. ^ a b Frame, Pete. (April 1973), "History of The Byrds", Zigzag (London)  
  25. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 34. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  26. ^ Zimmer, Dave, and Diltz, Henry. (1984). Crosby Stills & Nash: The Authorized Biography. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-17660-0.  
  27. ^ Hyde, Bob. (1987). Never Before (1989 CD liner notes).  
  28. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 152-157. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  29. ^ Lavezzoli, Peter. (2007). The Dawn of Indian music in the West. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 155-158. ISBN 0-826-42819-3.  
  30. ^ "Younger Than Yesterday credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-01-03.  
  31. ^ 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. 128. ISBN 1-90600-215-0.  
  32. ^ "The 40 Essential Albums of 1967". Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics. Retrieved 2010-01-03.  
  33. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  34. ^ a b c d "The Byrds Remastered Albums 1996 - 2000". Byrds Flyght. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  
  35. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 466-467. ISBN 0-95295-401-X.  
  36. ^ "The Byrds speak about Younger Than Yesterday". The Byrds Lyrics Page. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  
  37. ^ "Hugh Masekela: Discography 1955 - 1969". Retrieved 2009-10-12.  
  38. ^ a b Irwin, Bob. (March 1996), ICE Magazine #108  


  • Rogan, Johnny, The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited, Rogan House, 1998, ISBN 0-95295-401-X
  • Hjort, Christopher, So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973), Jawbone Press, 2008, ISBN 1-90600-215-0.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address