“Mr. Tambourine Man” Perfomed by The Byrds (1965) & Bob Dylan (1965)

April 16, 2012


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#1 Week of 6/26/1965 US, #1 UK

The “Jet Set”  was a group of folk singers from the early sixties who had all performed in various folk groups. Eventually this trio of Gene Clark, David Crosby and Jim McGuinn, became “The Byrds”  with the addition of Michael Clarke and Chris Hillman.

In 1964, the manager of  the group suggested they cover a song he had heard on acetate by Bob Dylan and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott called “Mr. Tambourine Man.” The group didn’t care for it so much but practiced and recorded it  (adding guitars to the mix to “sound more like The Beatles”) and in  doing so they fashioned their first single into a Number One hit and the first song of a new musical genre called — “Folk Rock!”

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Bob Dylan had originally written the song in 1964 and eventually came up with a version he felt was worthy of release in 1965.

Lyrics:
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’ swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind, it’s just a shadow you’re
Seein’ that he’s chasing.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Musically Yours,

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Filed under:Bob Dylan Composer,Covers That Hit!,Famous Folk Music,Folk Rock,Mr. Tambourine Man,Number Ones,Pop/Folk,Sixties,The Byrds

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