The Byrds: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)


This was written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s, and is largely the first eight verses of the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Version of the Bible. Seeger added the title phrase ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ which is repeated throughout and the final line ‘A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late’.

The song was released in 1962 as To Everything There Is a Season by the Limeliters on their album Folk Matinee.

I think this is ghastly, but it is notable because one of the Limeliters’ backing musicians was Roger McGuinn, later co-founder of The Byrds.

Seeger recorded a miles better version for his album The Bitter and the Sweet, released later that year.

In 1963 McGuinn arranged the song for Judy Collins’s album imaginatively entitled Judy Collins 3. I am not a fan, in fact I can’t stand it.

The Byrds recorded it as a single in 1965, reaching No 1 in the US and No 26 in Britain. According to Wikipedia it took 78 takes over five days. I should think they were pretty fed up with it by then.

This is a live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on December 12, 1965.

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