The Byrds (box Set)
The Byrds is a four-CD box set by the American rock band The Byrds that was released on October 19, 1990 by Columbia/Legacy. The compilation comprises 90 tracks and covers the band's career from 1965 to 1971 (a period when they were signed to Columbia Records) in roughly chronological order, but excludes material from their 1973 reunion album Byrds, which was released on Asylum Records. The box set also includes six songs performed by a reunited line-up of The Byrds, featuring original members Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman. Of these six songs, two were recorded live at the Roy Orbison Tribute Concert on February 24, 1990 and four are new studio recordings dating from August 1990. The two other original members of The Byrds, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke, who were both still living in 1990, did not participate in the reunion.
At the time of its release, The Byrds was the first box set by a defunct rock act to be issued by Columbia Records. The compilation includes a number of rare and previously unreleased songs, many of which were later included as bonus tracks on the remastered editions of the band's individual albums. Of special interest to fans of both The Byrds and country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, was the inclusion of six previously unreleased tracks from the recording sessions of The Byrds' 1968 album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Of these unreleased tracks, the versions of "The Christian Life", "You Don't Miss Your Water", and "One Hundred Years from Now" featured their original Parsons' lead vocals, which had been removed and replaced by McGuinn and Hillman prior to the release of the album. In the years since Sweetheart of the Rodeo was issued, these "lost" Parsons' vocals had become near-legendary among fans of the band and their inclusion on The Byrds provided a major selling point for the box set.
The Byrds' lead guitarist Roger McGuinn served as "musical consultant" during preparation of the set and also had a hand in deciding the final track listing. While The Byrds does provide a detailed overview of the band's music, there has been some criticism concerning the absence of songs written by Gene Clark, who was the band's principal songwriter in its early years. In particular, the exclusion of popular and highly regarded Clark-penned songs such as "Set You Free This Time" and "Here Without You" was interpreted by many fans as an attempt on McGuinn's part to downplay Clark's importance in the group. The additional failure of McGuinn to mention Clark in the box set's booklet, while at the same time praising Crosby and Hillman, served to reinforce the notion that Clark was being intentionally slighted.
Upon release, the box set reached #151 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the U.S., during a chart stay of four weeks, but failed to reach the UK Albums Chart. A single disc selection from the box set, titled 20 Essential Tracks from the Boxed Set: 1965–1990, was also released in January 1992. The first 16 tracks on this single disc collection date from The Byrds' 1965 to 1971 period, while the final 4 tracks are from the 1990 reunion.
The Byrds is currently out of print but a newly revised box set, titled There Is a Season, was released on September 26, 2006 by Columbia/Legacy. While this second box set is meant to replace The Byrds, each set contains tracks that the other does not.
Read more about The Byrds (box Set): Track Listing, 20 Essential Tracks From The Boxed Set: 1965-1990 Track Listing
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