Younger Than Yesterday – The Byrds

The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday
– Younger Than Yesterday

After laying the foundations of folk rock with their electric cover of 's “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965, The Byrds began a series of stylistic mutations that took them to the heart of the psychedelic movement. In 1967, this shift took shape with their fifth album, “Younger Than Yesterday”.

1967 was a year of transition for The Byrds. Despite internal tensions and personnel changes, reinvented itself, offering a daring blend of folk, psychedelic rock and country. More than just a reflection of their time, The Byrds in 1967 embodied the very essence of the psychedelic movement: the search for new perspectives, artistic daring and the ambition to push back the boundaries of popular music.

The album: Younger Than Yesterday

From the very first notes of “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star”, the listener is plunged into the unique world of The Byrds. The sound is bold, vibrant and modern. The songs, largely written by and , tackle a variety of themes, from the irony of celebrity to social criticism.

“Have You Seen Her Face” and “Thoughts and Words” take us into more psychedelic territory, with their reverberating guitars and heavenly vocal harmonies. On the other hand, “Time Between” and “The Girl with No Name” foreshadow the country rock that the band would popularise the following year with “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”.

“Younger Than Yesterday” was released to critical acclaim and commercial success. But the importance of this album is best appreciated in hindsight. It paved the way for many musical innovations, including country rock and psychedelic folk.

More than fifty years after its release, “Younger Than Yesterday” remains a milestone in rock history. Its creativity, audacity and pioneering vision continue to inspire many musicians. The album perfectly captures the spirit of a time when anything seemed possible, when musicians weren't afraid to experiment and push the boundaries.

The song: So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star

This song is a biting critique of the rock'n'roll dream, a caricature of young musicians trying to become stars without understanding the realities of the music industry.

The song opens with a burst of trumpet, a sound foreign to the Byrds' world but one that fits in perfectly with the song's satirical mood. McGuinn's 12-string guitar, the band's signature sound, is present throughout, while Hillman's bass line gives the song a driving rhythm.

The lyrics are both sarcastic and truthful, revealing a bitter truth beneath the glamorous veneer of the rock'n'roll dream. McGuinn and Hillman tell the story of a young musician who goes up to Los Angeles with stars in his eyes, only to find that fame isn't all it's cracked up to be.

“So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star” remains one of the Byrds' most memorable songs, not only for its irresistible music, but also for its poignant message. It has been covered by many artists, including , and continues to be a source of inspiration for musicians seeking to denounce the rock industry.

Where to listen to Younger Than Yesterday?

Useful links for The Byrds

Leave a Reply