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Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Sweetheart of the Rodeo

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Sweetheart of the Rodeo is the sixth album
Album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...

 by American rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 band
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

 and was released on August 30, 1968 on Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 (see 1968 in music
1968 in music
-Events:*January 4 – Guitarist Jimi Hendrix is jailed by Stockholm police, after trashing a hotel room during a drunken fist fight with bassist Noel Redding.*January 6 – Gibson Guitar Corporation patents its Gibson Flying V electric guitar design....

). Recorded with the addition of country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

, it was influential as the first major country-rock album by an established act and represented a stylistic move away from the psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

 of the band's previous LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

, The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the fifth album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in January 1968 on Columbia Records . Musically, the album represents the pinnacle of The Byrds' psychedelic experimentation, with the band blending together elements of folk rock, psychedelic rock,...

. The Byrds had occasionally experimented with country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 on their four previous albums, but Sweetheart of the Rodeo represented their fullest immersion into the genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 thus far. The album was also responsible for bringing Gram Parsons, who had joined The Byrds prior to the recording of the album, to the attention of a mainstream rock audience for the first time. Thus, the album can be seen as an important chapter in Parsons' personal and musical crusade to make country music fashionable for a young audience.

The album was initially conceived as a musical history of 20th century American popular music
American popular music
American popular music had a profound effect on music across the world. The country has seen the rise of popular styles that have had a significant influence on global culture, including ragtime, blues, jazz, swing, rock, R&B, doo wop, gospel, soul, funk, heavy metal, punk, disco, house, techno,...

, encompassing examples of country music, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

, among other genres. However, steered by the passion of the little known Parsons, who had only joined The Byrds in February 1968, this proposed concept was abandoned early on and the album instead became purely a country record. The recording of the album was divided between sessions
Studio recording
The term studio recording means any recording made in a studio, as opposed to a live recording, which is usually made in a concert venue or a theatre, with an audience attending the performance.-Studio cast recordings:...

 in Nashville and Los Angeles, with contributions from several notable session musician
Session musician
Session musicians are instrumental and vocal performers, musicians, who are available to work with others at live performances or recording sessions. Usually such musicians are not permanent members of a musical ensemble and often do not achieve fame in their own right as soloists or bandleaders...

s, including Lloyd Green
Lloyd Green
Lloyd Green is an American steel guitarist. Green is most notable for his session work, having played on records with artists such as Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Lynn Anderson, Don Williams, Paul McCartney, Charley Pride and many others.-Early life:Lloyd Green was born on October 4, 1937 in Leaf,...

, John Hartford
John Hartford
John Cowan Hartford was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore...

, JayDee Maness and Clarence White
Clarence White
Clarence White was a guitar player for Nashville West, The Byrds, Muleskinner, and the Kentucky Colonels. His parents were Acadians from New Brunswick, Canada...

. Tension developed between Parsons and the rest of the band, McGuinn especially, with some of Parsons' vocals being re-recorded, partly due to legal complications, and by the time the album was released in August, Parsons had left the band. The Byrds' move away from rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 and pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 towards country music elicited a great deal of resistance and hostility from the ultra-conservative Nashville country music establishment who viewed The Byrds as a group of long-haired hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s attempting to subvert country music.

Upon its release, the album reached #77 on the Billboard Top LPs
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 chart, but failed to reach the charts in the United Kingdom. Two attendant singles were released during 1968, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident. A recording of Dylan performing the song was first officially released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest...

", which achieved modest success, and "I Am a Pilgrim", which failed to chart. The album received mostly positive reviews in the music press
Music journalism
Music journalism is criticism and reportage about music. It began in the eighteenth century as comment on what is now thought of as 'classical music'. This aspect of music journalism, today often referred to as music criticism , comprises the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of...

, but the band's shift away from psychedelic music
Psychedelic music
Psychedelic music covers a range of popular music styles and genres, which are inspired by or influenced by psychedelic culture and which attempt to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues-rock bands in the...

 alienated much of its pop audience. Despite being the most commercially unsuccessful Byrds' album to date upon its initial release, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is today considered to be a seminal and highly influential country-rock album.

Background (January–March 1968)


The initial concept by Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn
James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records...

 for the album that would become Sweetheart of the Rodeo was to expand upon the genre-spanning approach of The Byrds' previous LP, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, by recording a double album
Double album
A double album is an audio album which spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically records and compact discs....

 overview of the history of American popular music
American popular music
American popular music had a profound effect on music across the world. The country has seen the rise of popular styles that have had a significant influence on global culture, including ragtime, blues, jazz, swing, rock, R&B, doo wop, gospel, soul, funk, heavy metal, punk, disco, house, techno,...

. The planned album would begin with bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

 and Appalachian
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 music, then move through country and western
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

, jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, before culminating with futuristic proto-electronica
Electronica
Electronica includes a wide range of contemporary electronic music designed for a wide range of uses, including foreground listening, some forms of dancing, and background music for other activities; however, unlike electronic dance music, it is not specifically made for dancing...

, featuring the Moog modular synthesizer
Moog synthesizer
Moog synthesizer may refer to any number of analog synthesizers designed by Dr. Robert Moog or manufactured by Moog Music, and is commonly used as a generic term for older-generation analog music synthesizers. The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled...

.

But with a U.S. college tour to promote The Notorious Byrd Brothers looming, a more immediate concern was the recruitment of new band members. David Crosby
David Crosby
David Van Cortlandt Crosby is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of three bands: The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash , and CPR...

 and Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke (musician)
Michael Clarke , was an American musician, best known as the drummer for the 1960s rock group The Byrds from 1964 to 1967. He died in 1993, at age 47, from liver failure, a direct result of more than three decades of heavy alcohol consumption.-Biography:Clarke was born Michael James Dick in...

 had departed the band in late 1967, leaving Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn
James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records...

 as de facto leader of The Byrds, along with Chris Hillman
Chris Hillman
Christopher Hillman was one of the original members of The Byrds which in 1965 included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, and Michael Clarke....

, the only other remaining member of the band. To address this problem, McGuinn hired Hillman's cousin, Kevin Kelley
Kevin Kelley (musician)
Kevin Daniel Kelley was an American drummer, best known for his work with the rock bands The Byrds and the Rising Sons. Kelley also played drums for Fever Tree, although it is unknown whether he was an official member of the group or not...

 (formerly a member of the Rising Sons
Rising Sons
Rising Sons was a Los Angeles, California-based band founded in 1964. The original lineup was Ry Cooder , Taj Mahal , Gary Marker , Jesse Lee Kincaid and Ed Cassidy...

), as the band's new drummer, and it was this three-piece line-up, with McGuinn on guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

 and Hillman on bass
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

, that embarked on the early 1968 college tour. It soon became apparent, however, that The Byrds were having difficulty in performing their studio material live as a trio
Trio (music)
Trio is generally used in any of the following ways:* A group of three musicians playing the same or different musical instrument.* The performance of a piece of music by three people.* The contrasting section of a piece in ternary form...

, and so it was decided that a fourth member was required. McGuinn, with an eye still on his envisaged American music concept album, felt that a pianist with a jazz background would be ideal for the group.

A candidate was found by Larry Spector, the band's business manager, in the shape of 21-year-old Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

. Parsons, a marginal figure in the L.A. music scene, had been acquainted with Hillman since 1967 and he auditioned for the band as a piano player in February 1968. His faux-jazz piano playing and genial personality at audition was enough to impress both McGuinn and Hillman; so Parsons was recruited as the fourth member of the band, although he quickly switched to playing guitar instead of piano. Although Parsons and Kelley were considered full members of The Byrds, they both received a salary from McGuinn and Hillman, and did not sign with Columbia Records when The Byrds' recording contract was renewed on February 29, 1968.
Unbeknownst to McGuinn or Hillman, Parsons had his own musical agenda in which he planned to marry his love of traditional country music (which he saw as being the purest form of American music) with youth culture's passion for rock. He had already successfully attempted this fusion as a member of the little known International Submarine Band
International submarine band
The International Submarine Band was formed by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons while a theology student at Harvard University and John Nuese, a guitar player for local rock group, The Trolls. Nuese is largely credited with having persuaded Parsons to pursue the country-rock sound he would later...

, on the album Safe at Home
Safe at Home
Safe at Home was the 1968 album by The International Submarine Band, led by the 21-year-old Gram Parsons. Featuring four of Parsons' originals surrounded by six covers of classic country and rock and roll music, it helped to forge the country rock movement of the late 1960s and early...

, but Parsons' new status as a Byrd offered him an international stage from which to launch his bid to reclaim country music for his generation.

Following his recruitment, Parsons began to lure Hillman away from McGuinn's proposed concept album idea and towards a blend of what Parsons would later term "Cosmic American Music". In essence, this was a hybrid of various roots music
Americana (music)
Americana is an amalgam of roots musics formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and other external influential styles...

 forms, primarily oriented towards honky tonk
Honky tonk
A honky-tonk is a type of bar that provides musical entertainment to its patrons...

 country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 but also encompassing American folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 and contemporary rock. Hillman, who had come from a musical background firmly rooted in bluegrass, had himself successfully persuaded The Byrds to incorporate country influences into their music in the past, beginning with the song "Satisfied Mind
A Satisfied Mind
A Satisfied Mind is a compilation of 9 of the 12 songs from the 1962 Capitol album Big Bluegrass Special plus "A Satisfied Mind" which was previously released as flipside of Glen Campbell's 1966 Capitol single "Can’t You See I’m Trying"....

" on their 1965 album, Turn! Turn! Turn!
Turn! Turn! Turn! (album)
Turn! Turn! Turn! is the second album by the folk rock band The Byrds and was released in December 1965 on Columbia Records . Like its predecessor, Mr. Tambourine Man, the album epitomized the folk rock genre and continued the band's successful mix of vocal harmony and jangly twelve-string...

Many of Hillman's songs on the Younger Than Yesterday
Younger Than Yesterday
Younger Than Yesterday is the fourth album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in February 1967 on Columbia Records . The album saw the band continuing to integrate elements of psychedelic rock into their music, a process they had begun on their previous LP...

and The Notorious Byrd Brothers albums also had a pronounced country feel to them, with several featuring Clarence White
Clarence White
Clarence White was a guitar player for Nashville West, The Byrds, Muleskinner, and the Kentucky Colonels. His parents were Acadians from New Brunswick, Canada...

 (a renowned bluegrass guitar player and session musician) on lead guitar
Lead guitar
Lead guitar is a guitar part which plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure...

, rather than McGuinn. During time spent singing old country songs with Parsons, Hillman became convinced that Parsons' concept of a country-oriented version of The Byrds could work.

Parsons' passion for his country-rock vision was so contagious that he even convinced McGuinn to abandon his plans for The Byrds' next album and follow Parsons' lead in recording a country-rock album. Parsons also persuaded McGuinn and Hillman to record the album in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, as Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 had done for his Blonde On Blonde
Blonde on Blonde
Blonde on Blonde is American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's seventh studio album, released in May or June 1966 on Columbia Records and produced by Bob Johnston. Recording sessions commenced in New York in October 1965, with a plethora of backing musicians, including members of Dylan's live backing...

and John Wesley Harding
John Wesley Harding (album)
John Wesley Harding is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's eighth studio album, released by Columbia Records in December 1967.Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan's return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock music...

albums. Although McGuinn had some reservations about the band's new direction, he decided that such a move could expand the already declining audience of the group. After long-time Byrds' producer
Record producer
A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

 Gary Usher
Gary Usher
Gary Usher was an American surf rock musician, songwriter, and record producer.-Biography:Usher's early life was spent in Grafton, Massachusetts. He attended Norcross Grammar School with his sister, Sandra, who was in the same class and was likely his twin. Gary was kiddingly called "Chicken Feed"...

, who had little interest in producing McGuinn's proposed concept album, indicated a preference for the country concept, McGuinn finally acquiesced. On March 9, 1968, the band decamped to Columbia's recording facility in Nashville, with Clarence White in tow, to begin recording sessions for Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

Recording (March–May 1968)


Between March 9 and March 15, 1968, the band, accompanied by several prominent session musicians, recorded multiple take
Take
A take is a single continuous recorded performance. The term is used in film and music to denote and track the stages of production.-Film:In cinematography, a take refers to each filmed "version" of a particular shot or "setup"...

s of eight songs at Columbia Records' recording studios in the Music Row
Music Row
Music Row is an area just to the southwest of Downtown Nashville, Tennessee that is home to hundreds of businesses related to the country music, gospel music, and Contemporary Christian music industries...

 area of Nashville. Recording sessions for the album continued from April 4 through May 27, 1968 at Columbia Studios in Hollywood
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood is a famous district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema...

, with a further seven songs recorded during these sessions and finishing touches applied to many of the tracks recorded in Nashville.
The songs that The Byrds recorded for the album included "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident. A recording of Dylan performing the song was first officially released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest...

" and "Nothing Was Delivered", two country-influenced Dylan covers
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 from his then-unreleased Basement Tapes
The Basement Tapes
The Basement Tapes is a 1975 studio album by Bob Dylan and The Band. The songs featuring Dylan's vocals were recorded in 1967, eight years before the album's release, at houses in and around Woodstock, New York, where Dylan and the Band lived...

sessions. Despite the change in musical style that the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album represented for The Byrds, the inclusion of two Dylan covers provided a link with their previous folk-rock incarnation, when Dylan's material had been a mainstay of their repertoire. The Byrds also recorded a trio of classic country songs for the album: the traditional "I Am a Pilgrim", which had been popularized by Merle Travis
Merle Travis
Merle Robert Travis was an American country and western singer, songwriter, and musician born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His lyrics often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons", "Re-Enlistment Blues" and "Dark as a Dungeon"...

 in the late-1940s; the Cindy Walker
Cindy Walker
Cindy Walker was a prolific American songwriter, as well as a country music singer and dancer. As a songwriter Walker was responsible for a large number of popular and enduring songs recorded by many different artists. She adopted a craftsman-like approach to her songwriting, often tailoring...

-penned "Blue Canadian Rockies", which had been sung by Gene Autry
Gene Autry
Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

 in the 1952 film of the same name; and "The Christian Life", which was the antithesis of a traditional rock song with its gentle lyrics
Lyrics
Lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of...

 extolling the simple pleasures of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 as a lifestyle.

The band supplemented these older country standards
Standard (music)
In music, a standard is a tune or song of established popularity.-See also:* Blues standard* Jazz standard* Pop standard* Great American Songbook-Further reading:* Greatest Rock Standards, published by Hal Leonard ISBN 0793588391...

 and Dylan covers with a couple of contemporary country songs: Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist, fiddler, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies,...

's maudlin convict's lament, "Life in Prison"; and Luke McDaniel
Luke McDaniel
Luke McDaniel , who also recorded under the stage name Jeff Daniels, was an American country and rockabilly music singer and songwriter.-Biography:...

's "You're Still On My Mind", a sorrowful tale of a heartbroken drunkard failing to find solace at the bottom of a bottle. Additionally, The Byrds gave William Bell's
William Bell (singer)
William Bell is an American soul singer and songwriter, and one of the architects of the Stax-Volt sound. As a performer, he is probably best known for 1961's "You Don't Miss Your Water" ; 1968's "Private Number" ; and 1976's "Tryin' To Love Two", Bell's only US top 40 hit, which also hit #1 on the...

 Stax
Stax Records
Stax Records is an American record label, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee.Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the name Stax Records was adopted in 1961. The label was a major factor in the creation of the Southern soul and Memphis soul music styles, also releasing gospel, funk, jazz, and...

 hit, "You Don't Miss Your Water
You Don't Miss Your Water
"You Don't Miss Your Water" is a soul song and the debut single written and recorded by American singer William Bell. It was released by Stax Records in 1961...

", a country flavored make-over, highlighted by the band's trademark crystal clear harmonies
Vocal harmony
Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music in which a consonant note or notes are sung at the same time as a main melody in a predominantly homophonic texture. Vocal harmonies are used in many subgenres of European art music, including Classical choral music and opera and in the popular styles from...

 and contributions from JayDee Maness and Earl P. Ball, on pedal steel guitar
Pedal steel guitar
The pedal steel guitar is a type of electric guitar that uses a metal bar to "fret" or shorten the length of the strings, rather than fingers on strings as with a conventional guitar. Unlike other types of steel guitar, it also uses pedals and knee levers to affect the pitch, hence the name "pedal"...

 and honky-tonk piano respectively. With its fusion of country and soul, "You Don't Miss Your Water" was a perfect example of what Parsons would later define, with his self-coined phrase, as "Cosmic American Music".
Lacking any country songs of his own, McGuinn delved into his pre-Byrds folk song repertoire instead, contributing Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his...

's "Pretty Boy Floyd", a romanticized portrayal of the real-life folk hero
Folk hero
A folk hero is a type of hero, real, fictional, or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by...

 and outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

. The March 12, 1968 recording session that produced "Pretty Boy Floyd" saw McGuinn attempting to play the song's banjo
Banjo
In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

 accompaniment, but feeling dissatisfied with his efforts he finally ceded the part to session player John Hartford
John Hartford
John Cowan Hartford was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore...

. The Byrds also recorded a Kelley original, "All I Have Are Memories", Tim Hardin
Tim Hardin
James Timothy "Tim" Hardin was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and Robert Plant, and "Reason to Believe", covered by many, including Rod Stewart, as well...

's "You Got a Reputation", and the traditional
Traditional music
Traditional music is the term increasingly used for folk music that is not contemporary folk music. More on this is at the terminology section of the World music article...

 song, "Pretty Polly
Pretty Polly (ballad)
"Pretty Polly", "The Gosport Tragedy" or "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter" is a traditional English-language folk song found in the British Isles, Canada, and the Appalachian region of North America, among other places....

", but none of these songs were selected for the final Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

Parsons also brought three of his songs to the recording sessions: "Lazy Days", "One Hundred Years from Now" and "Hickory Wind
Hickory Wind
"Hickory Wind" is a song written by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and former International Submarine Band member Bob Buchanan. The song was written on a train ride the pair took from Florida to Los Angeles in early 1968, and first appeared on The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Despite...

", the latter of which had been written by Parsons and former International Submarine Band member, Bob Buchanan, during an early 1968 train ride from Florida to Los Angeles. "One Hundred Years from Now" has a quicker tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 than most of the material on Sweetheart of the Rodeo and functions as a speculation on current human vanities and how they might be viewed by successive generations. The Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" , "Roll Over Beethoven" , "Rock and Roll Music" and "Johnny B...

 influenced "Lazy Days" was not included in the final album, but was re-recorded by Parsons and Hillman's later band, The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers was an early country rock band, best known for its influential debut album,The Gilded Palace of Sin . Although the group is most often mentioned in connection with country rock legends Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, the group underwent many personnel changes.-Original...

, for their 1970 album, Burrito Deluxe
Burrito Deluxe
Burrito Deluxe is the second album by the country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in 1970. In between The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe, the band underwent some personnel changes. Bassist Chris Ethridge left the band out of frustration at the band's lack of success...

.

Nashville reaction and touring



Upon completion of the Music Row recording sessions, the band ended their stay in Nashville with an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM...

at Ryman Auditorium
Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is a 2,362-seat live performance venue, located at 115 5th Avenue North, in Nashville, Tennessee and is best known as the historic home of the Grand Ole Opry....

 (introduced by future "outlaw" country star Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser is an American country music artist. Active since the 1950s, he has recorded both as a solo artist and with his brothers Chuck and Jim in the trio Tompall & the Glaser Brothers...

), on March 15, 1968. The band was greeted with derision by the conservative audience because they were the first group of hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 "longhairs" to play at the venerable country music establishment. In fact, The Byrds had all had their hair cut shorter than they normally wore it, specifically for their appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, but this did nothing to appease their detractors in the audience. The Byrds opened with a rendition of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home
Sing Me Back Home (song)
"Sing Me Back Home" is a 1967 single written and recorded by Merle Haggard. "Sing Me Back Home" would be Merle Haggard's third number one. The single spent two weeks at number one and a total of seventeen weeks on the country chart...

", which was met with derisive heckling, booing, and mocking calls of "tweet, tweet" from the hostile Opry audience. Any hope of salvaging the performance was immediately destroyed when Parsons, rather than singing a song announced by Glaser, launched into a rendition of "Hickory Wind" dedicated to his grandmother. The deviation from protocol stunned Opry regulars such as Roy Acuff
Roy Acuff
Roy Claxton Acuff was an American country music singer, fiddler, and promoter. Known as the King of Country Music, Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and "hoedown" format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally successful.Acuff...

 and embarrassed Glaser, ensuring that The Byrds would never be invited back to play on the show.

Nearly as disastrous was the group's appearance on the WSM
WSM (AM)
WSM is the callsign of a 50,000 watt AM radio station located in Nashville, Tennessee. Operating at 650 kHz, its clear channel signal can reach much of North America and various countries, especially late at night...

 program of legendary Nashville DJ
Disc jockey
A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, "disc" referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium.There are several types of disc jockeys...

, Ralph Emery
Ralph Emery
Walter Ralph Emery is a country music disc jockey and television host from Nashville, Tennessee. He gained national fame hosting the syndicated television music series, Pop! Goes the Country, from 1974 to 1980 and the nightly Nashville Network television program, Nashville Now, from 1983 to 1993...

, who mocked his guests throughout the interview and initially refused to play an acetate
Acetate disc
An acetate disc, also known as a test acetate, dubplate , lacquer , transcription disc or instantaneous disc...

 of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere". Eventually playing the record, he dismissed it over the air and in the presence of the band as being mediocre. Clearly upset by their treatment, Parsons and McGuinn would make Emery the subject of their song, "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man", which was written by the pair in London in May 1968. The song appeared on The Byrds' next album, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde is the seventh album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in March 1969 on Columbia Records . The album saw the band juxtaposing simple country rock material with harder-edged psychedelia, giving the album a stylistic split-personality that was alluded to in...

, although this recording did not feature Parsons because he had left the band by this time.

After returning from Nashville, the band played a handful of concert
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s throughout the Los Angeles area with the addition of pedal steel guitar
Pedal steel guitar
The pedal steel guitar is a type of electric guitar that uses a metal bar to "fret" or shorten the length of the strings, rather than fingers on strings as with a conventional guitar. Unlike other types of steel guitar, it also uses pedals and knee levers to affect the pitch, hence the name "pedal"...

ist JayDee Maness, who had played on several tracks on the album. Throughout April 1968, McGuinn came under considerable pressure from Parsons to recruit Maness as a full member of The Byrds, so that the band's new country material would sound authentic in concert, but McGuinn resisted, although Maness has stated in interview that he declined the invitation anyway. Having failed to recruit Maness as a permanent member of the band, Parsons next recommended another pedal steel guitar player, Sneaky Pete Kleinow
Sneaky Pete Kleinow
Peter E. "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow was an American country-rock musician, songwriter, and a motion picture special effects artist...

, but once again, McGuinn held firm. Parsons' attempts to recruit new members and dictate the band's musical direction caused a power struggle within the band, with McGuinn finding his position as band leader challenged by Parsons, who was also pushing for a higher salary. At one point Parsons even demanded that the album be billed as Gram Parsons and The Byrds, a demand that was ignored by McGuinn and Hillman.

In May 1968 the band embarked on a short European tour and while in England for concerts at the Middle Earth Club
Middle Earth Club
Middle Earth was an influential hippie club in London, UK in the mid to late 1960s, following on from the UFO Club after it was closed down due to police pressure and the imprisonment of its founder John 'Hoppy' Hopkins....

 and Blaises, The Byrds met with Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger
Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger is an English musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and a founding member of The Rolling Stones....

 and Keith Richards
Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an English musician, songwriter, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine said Richards had created "rock's greatest single body of riffs", and placed him as the "10th greatest guitarist of all time." Fourteen songs written by Richards and songwriting...

 who both expressed concern over The Byrds' intention to tour South Africa during the summer. McGuinn remained undaunted regarding these concerns over the country's apartheid policies, however, having already received the blessing of South African singer Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba , nicknamed Mama Africa, was a Grammy Award winning South African singer and civil rights activist....

, and convinced the rest of The Byrds that a trip to South Africa would be an interesting experience. This meeting between The Byrds and the two Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 would play an important part in Parsons departure from the band two months later.

Post-production


Upon the group's return to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, post-production work on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album was disrupted when Parsons' appearance on the album was contested by Lee Hazlewood
Lee Hazlewood
Lee Hazlewood , born Barton Lee Hazlewood was an American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer, most widely known for his work with guitarist Duane Eddy during the late 1950s and singer Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s.Hazlewood had a distinctive baritone voice that added an ominous...

, who contended that the singer was still under contract to his LHI record label
LHI Records
LHI Records was an American record label founded by Lee Hazlewood. LHI stood for 'Lee Hazlewood Industries'. The label was first distributed by Decca Records then by ABC Records...

. While the legal problems were being resolved, McGuinn replaced three of Parsons' lead vocals with his own singing, a move that still infuriated Parsons as late as 1973, when he told Cameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe
Cameron Bruce Crowe is an American screenwriter and film director. Before moving into the film industry, Crowe was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, for which he still frequently writes....

 in an interview that McGuinn "erased it and did the vocals himself and fucked it up." However, Parsons was still featured singing lead vocals on the songs "Hickory Wind", "You're Still on My Mind", and "Life in Prison". There has been speculation that McGuinn's decision to re-record Parsons' lead vocals himself was not entirely motivated by the threat of legal action, but by a desire to decrease Parsons' presence on the album. According to producer Gary Usher:
The three songs that had their lead vocals replaced by McGuinn were "The Christian Life", "You Don't Miss Your Water", and "One Hundred Years from Now", with the last featuring McGuinn and Hillman sharing vocals on the final album version. However, Parsons' lead vocals weren't completely eradicated from these songs and can still be faintly heard, despite having either McGuinn or Hillman's voice overdubbed
Overdubbing
Overdubbing is a technique used by recording studios to add a supplementary recorded sound to a previously recorded performance....

 on them. The master recordings of these three songs, with their original Parsons' vocals restored to full prominence, were finally issued as part of The Byrds box set in 1990. These same master recordings, featuring Parsons' lead vocals, were also included as bonus tracks on disc one of the 2003 Legacy Edition of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

With the legal problems surrounding Parsons' appearance on the album resolved, The Byrds returned to England for an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 on July 7, 1968. Following the concert, Parsons announced that he would not be accompanying the band on their imminent tour of South Africa in protest over the country's policies of apartheid (a policy that did not cease until 1994). Both McGuinn and Hillman doubted the sincerity of Parsons' protest, believing instead that Parsons had used the apartheid issue as a convenient excuse to leave the band and stay in England to hang out with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Consequently, by the time Sweetheart of the Rodeo was released in August 1968, Parsons had been an ex-member of The Byrds for almost eight weeks. Following the South African tour, McGuinn and Hillman replaced Parsons with longtime Byrd-in-waiting Clarence White, and Kevin Kelley was dismissed from the band soon after. In total, the McGuinn, Hillman, Parsons, and Kelley line-up of The Byrds had lasted a mere five months.

Release and reception



Sweetheart of the Rodeo was released on August 30, 1968, in the United States (catalogue item CS 6970) and September 27, 1968, in the UK (catalogue item 63353). Columbia Records launched an accompanying print advertising campaign proclaiming "This Country's for the Byrds" and featuring the tag line "Their message is all country...their sound is all Byrds." The album is notable for being the first Byrds LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

 to be issued exclusively in stereo
Stereophonic sound
The term Stereophonic, commonly called stereo, sound refers to any method of sound reproduction in which an attempt is made to create an illusion of directionality and audible perspective...

 in the United States, although the album was released in mono
Monaural
Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction is single-channel. Typically there is only one microphone, one loudspeaker, or channels are fed from a common signal path...

 and stereo variations in the United Kingdom. The album reached #77 on the Billboard Top LPs
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 chart, during a chart stay of ten weeks, but failed to chart in the United Kingdom. The lead single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 from the album was a cover
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 of Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident. A recording of Dylan performing the song was first officially released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest...

", which was released on April 2, 1968, climbing to #75 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

 and #45 in the UK charts
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

. A second single from the album, "I Am a Pilgrim", was released on September 2, 1968, but failed to chart.

Despite receiving generally favourable reviews from the critics, the country-rock style of Sweetheart of the Rodeo was such a radical departure from the band's previous sound that large sections of the group's counter-culture
Counterculture of the 1960s
The counterculture of the 1960s refers to a cultural movement that mainly developed in the United States and spread throughout much of the western world between 1960 and 1973. The movement gained momentum during the U.S. government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam...

 following were alienated by its contents, resulting in the lowest sales of any Byrds album up to that point. Barry Gifford
Barry Gifford
Barry Gifford is an American author, poet, and screenwriter known for his distinctive mix of American landscapes and film noir- and Beat Generation-influenced literary madness....

, in the August 1968 edition of Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine, said of the album: "The new Byrds do not sound like Buck Owens & his Buckaroos. They aren't that good. The material they've chosen to record, or rather, the way they perform the material, is simple, relaxed and folky. It's not pretentious, it's pretty. The musician-ship is excellent." Gifford added that "The Byrds have made an interesting album. It's really very uninvolved and not a difficult record to listen to. It ought to make the "Easy-Listening" charts. "Bringing it all back home" has never been an easy thing to do."

Rolling Stone also praised the album in its September 1968 issue, with Jon Landau
Jon Landau
Jon Landau is an American music critic, manager and record producer, most known for his association in all three capacities with Bruce Springsteen.He is currently the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....

 writing "The Byrds, in doing country as country, show just how powerful and relevant unadorned country music is to the music of today." Landau added "they leave just enough rock in the drums to let you know that they can still play rock & roll." Noted rock critic, Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau is an American essayist, music journalist, and self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics".One of the earliest professional rock critics, Christgau is known for his terse capsule reviews, published since 1969 in his Consumer Guide columns...

, described Sweetheart of the Rodeo in a 1969 article for The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

as "a bittersweet tribute to country music." However, contemporary reviews of the album were not universally positive, with an anonymous Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

review from late 1968 deriding the album as "Not typical Byrds music, which is rather a pity." Similarly, Robert Shelton, writing in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

in November 1968, commented that "The latest Byrds album adheres to most of the 'rules of the game' about country sound, and yet, sad to say, to this old fan of The Byrds, the album is a distinguished bore."

In more recent years, Allmusic critic Mark Deming noted in his review of the album that "no major band had gone so deep into the sound and feeling of classic country (without parody or condescension) as the Byrds did on Sweetheart; at a time when most rock fans viewed country as a musical "L'il Abner
Li'l Abner
Li'l Abner is a satirical American comic strip that appeared in many newspapers in the United States, Canada and Europe, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the impoverished town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. Written and drawn by Al Capp , the strip ran for 43 years, from August 13, 1934 through...

" routine, the Byrds dared to declare that C&W could be hip, cool, and heartfelt." Alexander Lloyd Linhardt, reviewing the album for Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media
Pitchfork Media, usually known simply as Pitchfork or P4k, is a Chicago-based daily Internet publication established in 1995 that is devoted to music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews. Its focus is on underground and independent music, especially indie rock...

, described it as "a blindingly rusty gait through parched weariness and dusted reverie. It's not the natural sound of Death Valley or Utah, but rather, a false portrait by people who wished it was, which makes it even more melancholy and charismatic." Journalist Matthew Weiner commented in his review for Stylus
Stylus Magazine
Stylus Magazine was an online music and film magazine launched in 2002. It featured long-form music journalism, four daily music reviews, movie reviews, a number of different podcasts, an MP3 blog, and a text blog....

that "Thirty-five years after it startled Byrds fans everywhere with its Podunk
Podunk
In American English, Podunk, podunk, or Podunk Hollow denotes or describes a place of small size or "in the middle of nowhere", and is often used in the upper case as a placeholder name in a context of dismissing significance or importance....

 proclivities, Sweetheart remains a particularly fascinating example of two musical ships passing in the night, documenting both Parsons’ transformation into a visionary country-rock auteur and a pop band’s remarkable sense of artistic risk."

The Byrds' biographer, Johnny Rogan, noted that the album "stood alone as a work almost completely divorced from the prevailing rock culture. Its themes, mood and instrumentation looked back to another era at a time when the rest of America was still recovering from the recent assassinations of Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

 and Robert Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

." Ultimately, The Byrds' experimentation with the country genre on Sweetheart of the Rodeo was slightly ahead of its time, to the detriment of the band's commercial fortunes, as the international success of country-rock flavoured bands like The Eagles, America
America (band)
America is an English-American folk rock band that originally included members Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek. The three members were barely out of their teens when they became a musical sensation during 1972, scoring #1 hits and winning a Grammy for best new musical artist...

 and Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show was an American pop, country and soft rock band, formed around Union City, New Jersey in 1967 as The Chocolate Papers. They enjoyed considerable commercial success in the 1970s with hit singles including "Sylvia's Mother", "The Cover of the Rolling Stone", "A Little Bit...

 during the 1970s demonstrated.

Legacy


Released at a time when The Byrds' surprising immersion in the world of country music coincided with their declining commercial appeal, Sweetheart of the Rodeo was certainly an uncommercial proposition at the time of its release. However, the album has proved to be a landmark, serving not only as a blueprint for Parsons' and Hillman's The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers was an early country rock band, best known for its influential debut album,The Gilded Palace of Sin . Although the group is most often mentioned in connection with country rock legends Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, the group underwent many personnel changes.-Original...

, but also for the entire nascent 1970s Los Angeles country-rock movement. The album was also influential on the outlaw country
Outlaw country
Outlaw country is a subgenre of country music, most popular during the late 1960s and the 1970s , sometimes referred to as the outlaw movement or simply outlaw music...

 and new traditionalist
Neotraditional country
Neotraditional country, also known as "new traditional" country, is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a 'traditional' country vocal style. Neotraditional country artists often dress in the fashions of the country music scene of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s...

 movements, as well as the so-called alternative country
Alternative country
Alternative country is a loosely defined sub-genre of country music, which includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream or pop country music...

 genre of the 1990s and 2000s. Among fans of The Byrds, however, opinion is often sharply divided regarding the merits of the album, with some seeing it as a natural continuation of the group's innovations, and others mourning the loss of the band's trademark Rickenbacker
Rickenbacker
Rickenbacker International Corporation, also known as Rickenbacker, is an electric and bass guitar manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California...

 guitar jangle and psychedelic
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

 experimentation. Nonetheless, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is widely considered to be The Byrds' last truly influential album.

Although it was not the first country-rock album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo was the first album widely labeled as country-rock to be released by an internationally successful rock act, pre-dating the release of Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's ninth studio album, released by Columbia Records in April 1969.The album marked a dramatic departure for Dylan, previously known for his groundbreaking, poetic folk music and rock and roll...

by over six months. The first bona fide country-rock album is often cited as being Safe at Home by Parsons' previous group, The International Submarine Band. However, the genre's antecedents can be traced back to the Rockabilly
Rockabilly
Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating to the early 1950s.The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style's development...

 music of the 1950s, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

' covers of Carl Perkins
Carl Perkins
Carl Lee Perkins was an American rockabilly musician who recorded most notably at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, beginning during 1954...

 and Buck Owens
Buck Owens
Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. , better known as Buck Owens, was an American singer and guitarist who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band, the Buckaroos...

' material on Beatles For Sale
Beatles for Sale
Beatles for Sale is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Beatles, released in late 1964 and produced by George Martin for Parlophone. The album marked a minor turning point in the evolution of Lennon and McCartney as lyricists, John Lennon particularly now showing interest in...

and Help!
Help! (album)
Help! is the title of the fifth British and ninth American album by The Beatles, and the soundtrack from their film of the same name. Produced by George Martin for EMI's Parlophone Records, it contains fourteen songs in its original British form, of which seven appeared in the film...

, as well as the stripped down arrangement
Arrangement
The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

s of Dylan's John Wesley Harding album and The Byrds' own forays into country music on their pre-Sweetheart albums. The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

's debut album, Music from Big Pink
Music from Big Pink
Music from Big Pink is the 1968 debut album by rock band The Band. It features the well-known song, "The Weight". The music was composed partly in 'Big Pink', a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, in upstate New York...

, released in July 1968, was also influential on the genre but it was Sweetheart of the Rodeo that saw an established rock band playing pure country music for the first time.

In 2003, the album was ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is the title of a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005.Related news articles:...

, and Stylus Magazine named it their 175th favorite album of all time in the same year.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo went on to inspire the name of the 1980s country duo, Sweethearts of the Rodeo
Sweethearts of the Rodeo
Sweethearts of the Rodeo is an American country music duo composed of sisters Janis Oliver and Kristine Oliver . The duo recorded for Columbia Records between 1986 and 1991, releasing four albums and twelve singles for the label. In the 1990s, they also recorded two albums for Sugar Hill Records...

, who paid tribute to The Byrds' album with the sleeve
Record sleeve
A record sleeve is the outer covering of a vinyl recording. The sleeve is technically the paper covering that is closest in contact to the surface of the recording, as in "dust sleeve", "liner" and "album liner". The term has come to be synonymous with "record jacket" and "album jacket", which is...

 of their 1990 album, Buffalo Zone
Buffalo Zone
Buffalo Zone is an album by the female country music duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo, released in 1990 by Columbia Records. The album's cover was an obvious homage to The Byrds' 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, from which the duo derived their name. The album was not as successful as their first...

.

Track listing

# Title Writer Lead vocals Guest musicians/band contributions beyond usual instruments Time
Side 1
1. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident. A recording of Dylan performing the song was first officially released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest...

"
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

McGuinn Lloyd Green
Lloyd Green
Lloyd Green is an American steel guitarist. Green is most notable for his session work, having played on records with artists such as Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Lynn Anderson, Don Williams, Paul McCartney, Charley Pride and many others.-Early life:Lloyd Green was born on October 4, 1937 in Leaf,...

 (pedal steel guitar), Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

 (organ)
2:33
2. "I Am a Pilgrim" traditional
Traditional music
Traditional music is the term increasingly used for folk music that is not contemporary folk music. More on this is at the terminology section of the World music article...

, arranged Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn
James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records...

, Chris Hillman
Chris Hillman
Christopher Hillman was one of the original members of The Byrds which in 1965 included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, and Michael Clarke....

Hillman John Hartford
John Hartford
John Cowan Hartford was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore...

 (fiddle), Roy Husky (double bass), Roger McGuinn (banjo), Chris Hillman (acoustic guitar)
3:39
3. "The Christian Life" Charles Louvin, Ira Louvin
Louvin Brothers
The Louvin Brothers were an American country music duo composed of brothers Ira Lonnie Loudermilk and Charlie Elzer Loudermilk , better known as Ira and Charlie Louvin. They helped popularize close harmony, a genre of country music.-History:The brothers adopted the name Louvin Brothers in the...

McGuinn JayDee Maness (pedal steel guitar), Clarence White
Clarence White
Clarence White was a guitar player for Nashville West, The Byrds, Muleskinner, and the Kentucky Colonels. His parents were Acadians from New Brunswick, Canada...

 (electric guitar)
2:30
4. "You Don't Miss Your Water
You Don't Miss Your Water
"You Don't Miss Your Water" is a soul song and the debut single written and recorded by American singer William Bell. It was released by Stax Records in 1961...

"
William Bell
William Bell (singer)
William Bell is an American soul singer and songwriter, and one of the architects of the Stax-Volt sound. As a performer, he is probably best known for 1961's "You Don't Miss Your Water" ; 1968's "Private Number" ; and 1976's "Tryin' To Love Two", Bell's only US top 40 hit, which also hit #1 on the...

McGuinn Earl P. Ball (piano), JayDee Maness (pedal steel guitar) 3:48
5. "You're Still on My Mind" Luke McDaniel
Luke McDaniel
Luke McDaniel , who also recorded under the stage name Jeff Daniels, was an American country and rockabilly music singer and songwriter.-Biography:...

Parsons Earl P. Ball (piano), JayDee Maness (pedal steel guitar) 2:25
6. "Pretty Boy Floyd" Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his...

McGuinn Roy Husky (double bass), John Hartford (acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle), Chris Hillman (mandolin) 2:34
Side 2
1. "Hickory Wind
Hickory Wind
"Hickory Wind" is a song written by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and former International Submarine Band member Bob Buchanan. The song was written on a train ride the pair took from Florida to Los Angeles in early 1968, and first appeared on The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Despite...

"
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

, Bob Buchanan
Parsons John Hartford (fiddle), Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar), Roger McGuinn (banjo), Gram Parsons (piano) 3:31
2. "One Hundred Years from Now" Gram Parsons McGuinn, Hillman Barry Goldberg
Barry Goldberg
Barry Goldberg is a blues and rock keyboardist, songwriter and record producer.-Career:As a teenager in Chicago, Goldberg sat in with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, and Howlin' Wolf. He played keyboards in the band supporting Bob Dylan during his 1965 'electrified' appearance at the Newport Folk Festival...

 (piano), Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar), Clarence White (electric guitar)
2:40
3. "Blue Canadian Rockies" Cindy Walker
Cindy Walker
Cindy Walker was a prolific American songwriter, as well as a country music singer and dancer. As a songwriter Walker was responsible for a large number of popular and enduring songs recorded by many different artists. She adopted a craftsman-like approach to her songwriting, often tailoring...

Hillman Clarence White (electric guitar), Gram Parsons (piano) 2:02
4. "Life in Prison" Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist, fiddler, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies,...

, Jelly Sanders
Parsons Earl P. Ball (piano), JayDee Maness (pedal steel guitar) 2:46
5. "Nothing Was Delivered" Bob Dylan McGuinn Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar), Gram Parsons (piano, organ) 3:24

Singles

  1. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" b/w "Artificial Energy" (Columbia 44499) April 2, 1968 (US #75, UK #45)
  2. "I Am a Pilgrim" b/w "Pretty Boy Floyd" (Columbia 44643) September 2, 1968

Personnel


Sources as follows:
The Byrds:
  • Roger McGuinn
    Roger McGuinn
    James Roger McGuinn is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds' records...

     - acoustic guitar
    Acoustic guitar
    An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

    , banjo
    Banjo
    In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

    , vocals
    Singing
    Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm. One who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music known as songs that can be sung either with or without accompaniment by musical instruments...

  • Chris Hillman
    Chris Hillman
    Christopher Hillman was one of the original members of The Byrds which in 1965 included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, and Michael Clarke....

     - electric bass
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , mandolin
    Mandolin
    A mandolin is a musical instrument in the lute family . It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single...

    , acoustic guitar, vocals
  • Gram Parsons
    Gram Parsons
    Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

     - acoustic guitar, piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

    , organ
    Organ (music)
    The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

    , vocals
  • Kevin Kelley
    Kevin Kelley (musician)
    Kevin Daniel Kelley was an American drummer, best known for his work with the rock bands The Byrds and the Rising Sons. Kelley also played drums for Fever Tree, although it is unknown whether he was an official member of the group or not...

     - drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....



Additional Personnel:
  • Lloyd Green
    Lloyd Green
    Lloyd Green is an American steel guitarist. Green is most notable for his session work, having played on records with artists such as Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Lynn Anderson, Don Williams, Paul McCartney, Charley Pride and many others.-Early life:Lloyd Green was born on October 4, 1937 in Leaf,...

    , JayDee Maness - pedal steel guitar
    Pedal steel guitar
    The pedal steel guitar is a type of electric guitar that uses a metal bar to "fret" or shorten the length of the strings, rather than fingers on strings as with a conventional guitar. Unlike other types of steel guitar, it also uses pedals and knee levers to affect the pitch, hence the name "pedal"...

  • Clarence White
    Clarence White
    Clarence White was a guitar player for Nashville West, The Byrds, Muleskinner, and the Kentucky Colonels. His parents were Acadians from New Brunswick, Canada...

     - electric guitar
    Electric guitar
    An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

  • John Hartford
    John Hartford
    John Cowan Hartford was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore...

     - banjo, fiddle
    Fiddle
    The term fiddle may refer to any bowed string musical instrument, most often the violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music...

    , acoustic guitar
  • Roy Husky - double bass
    Double bass
    The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

  • Earl P. Ball, Barry Goldberg
    Barry Goldberg
    Barry Goldberg is a blues and rock keyboardist, songwriter and record producer.-Career:As a teenager in Chicago, Goldberg sat in with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, and Howlin' Wolf. He played keyboards in the band supporting Bob Dylan during his 1965 'electrified' appearance at the Newport Folk Festival...

     - piano


Production
  • Gary Usher
    Gary Usher
    Gary Usher was an American surf rock musician, songwriter, and record producer.-Biography:Usher's early life was spent in Grafton, Massachusetts. He attended Norcross Grammar School with his sister, Sandra, who was in the same class and was likely his twin. Gary was kiddingly called "Chicken Feed"...

     - production
  • Roy Halee
    Roy Halee
    Roy Halee is an American record producer and engineer, best known for working with Simon and Garfunkel.Halee grew up on Long Island, New York. His father, also named Roy Halee, provided the singing voice for Mighty Mouse in late 1940s Terrytoons cartoons, as well as the voices of Heckle and Jeckle...

     - engineering
    Audio engineering
    An audio engineer, also called audio technician, audio technologist or sound technician, is a specialist in a skilled trade that deals with the use of machinery and equipment for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sounds. The field draws on many artistic and vocational areas, including...

  • Charlie Bragg - engineering
  • Adam Block - project direction
  • Jo Mora
    Jo Mora
    Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora was an Uruguayan-born American cartoonist, illustrator and cowboy, who lived with the Hopi and wrote extensively about his experiences in California. He was an artist-historian, sculptor, painter, photographer, illustrator, muralist and author...

     - cover art
    Cover art
    Cover art is the illustration or photograph on the outside of a published product such as a book , magazine, comic book, video game , DVD, CD, videotape, or music album. The art has a primarily commercial function, i.e...



Release history


Sweetheart of the Rodeo was remastered at 20-bit
Bit
A bit is the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications; it is the amount of information stored by a digital device or other physical system that exists in one of two possible distinct states...

 resolution as part of the Columbia/Legacy
Legacy Recordings
Legacy Recordings is Sony Music Entertainment's catalog division. It was founded in 1990 by CBS Records under the leadership of Jerry Shulman, Richard Bauer, Gary Pacheco and Amy Herot to handle reissues of recordings from the vast catalogues of Columbia Records, Epic Records and associated...

 Byrds series and reissued in an expanded form on March 25, 1997. The eight bonus tracks featured on this reissue include the outtake
Outtake
An outtake is a portion of a work that is removed in the editing process and not included in the work's final, publicly released version. In the digital era, significant outtakes have been appended to CD and DVD reissues of many albums and films as bonus tracks or features, in film often, but not...

s "You Got a Reputation", "Lazy Days", and "Pretty Polly", as well as four previously unreleased rehearsal take
Take
A take is a single continuous recorded performance. The term is used in film and music to denote and track the stages of production.-Film:In cinematography, a take refers to each filmed "version" of a particular shot or "setup"...

s and an instrumental
Instrumental
An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics or singing, although it might include some non-articulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments....

 backing track for "All I Have Are Memories". A hidden track
Hidden track
In the field of recorded music, a hidden track is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener...

 on the CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 features a 1968 Columbia Records radio advertisement for the album.

On September 2, 2003, a 2 CD
Double album
A double album is an audio album which spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically records and compact discs....

 Legacy Edition of Sweetheart of the Rodeo was released by Columbia/Legacy. This version of the album features additional outtakes, rehearsal versions, and the master takes of the songs that had their Parsons' lead vocals replaced, presented here with their Parsons' vocals intact. Most of the alternate versions and rehearsal takes on disc two of the Legacy Edition feature Parsons singing songs that were later released with vocals by McGuinn on the original album. Also included on the Legacy Edition is an outtake from the album sessions called "All I Have Are Memories", written and sung by drummer Kevin Kelley. In addition, the Legacy Edition of Sweetheart of the Rodeo includes six tracks performed by the International Submarine Band
International submarine band
The International Submarine Band was formed by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons while a theology student at Harvard University and John Nuese, a guitar player for local rock group, The Trolls. Nuese is largely credited with having persuaded Parsons to pursue the country-rock sound he would later...

 (Parsons' previous group).

In 2007, Sundazed Records
Sundazed Records
Sundazed Records is a record label based in Coxsackie, in the Catskills of New York. It specializes in obscure and rare recordings from the 1950s to the 1970s.Label founders Bob Irwin and his wife Mary started the label in 1989...

 released a 7" single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 featuring previously unreleased alternate versions of "Lazy Days" and "You Got a Reputation" (titled "Reputation" on this release) that date from The Byrds' March 1968 recording sessions in Nashville. As of 20, these two alternate versions have not been issued on CD.
Date Label Format Country Catalog Notes
August 30, 1968 Columbia
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

US CS 6970 Original stereo release.
September 27, 1968 CBS
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

LP UK 63353 Original mono
Monaural
Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction is single-channel. Typically there is only one microphone, one loudspeaker, or channels are fed from a common signal path...

 release.
S 63353 Original stereo release.
1973 Embassy
Embassy Records
Embassy Records was originally a UK budget record label that produced cover versions of current hit songs that were sold exclusively in Woolworths shops at a cheaper price than the original recordings. As such, Embassy can be seen as the UK equivalent of U.S. labels such as Hit and Bell Records...

LP UK EMB 31124
1976 CBS LP UK S 22040 Double album stereo reissue with The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the fifth album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in January 1968 on Columbia Records . Musically, the album represents the pinnacle of The Byrds' psychedelic experimentation, with the band blending together elements of folk rock, psychedelic rock,...

.
1982 Columbia LP US SBP 237803
1987 Edsel
Demon Music Group
Demon Records is a United Kingdom record label founded in 1980 by former United Artists A&R executive Andrew Lauder and Jake Riviera who had previously started Stiff Records...

LP UK ED 234
1987 Edsel CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

UK EDCD 234 Original CD release.
1990 Columbia CD US CK 9670
1993 Columbia CD UK COL 468178
March 25, 1997 Columbia/Legacy
Legacy Recordings
Legacy Recordings is Sony Music Entertainment's catalog division. It was founded in 1990 by CBS Records under the leadership of Jerry Shulman, Richard Bauer, Gary Pacheco and Amy Herot to handle reissues of recordings from the vast catalogues of Columbia Records, Epic Records and associated...

CD US CK 65150 Reissue containing eight bonus tracks and the remastered stereo album.
UK COL 486752
1999 Simply Vinyl LP UK SVLP 057 Reissue of the remastered stereo album.
August 2003 Sony
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

CD Japan MHCP-70 Reissue containing eight bonus tracks and the remastered album in a replica LP sleeve.
September 2, 2003 Columbia/Legacy CD US C2K 87189 Double CD reissue containing twenty-eight bonus tracks and the remastered stereo album.
UK COL 510921
2008 Sundazed LP US LP 5215
February 10, 2009 Sony/Columbia CD US 743323 2 CD
Double album
A double album is an audio album which spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically records and compact discs....

 reissue with Mr. Tambourine Man
Mr. Tambourine Man (album)
Mr. Tambourine Man is the debut album by the American folk rock band The Byrds and was released in June 1965 on Columbia Records . The album, along with the single of the same name, established the band as an internationally successful rock act and was also influential in originating the musical...

, containing eight bonus tracks and the remastered stereo album.

1997 reissue bonus tracks


The final song on the 1997 reissue ("All I Have Are Memories") ends at 2:48; at 3:48 begins the hidden track
Hidden track
In the field of recorded music, a hidden track is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener...

 "Radio Spot: Sweetheart of the Radio Album"

2003 Legacy Edition bonus tracks


The 2003 CD reissue contains alternative versions of songs with Parsons singing lead, along with recordings by Parsons' pre-Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

 group, The International Submarine Band
International submarine band
The International Submarine Band was formed by country rock pioneer Gram Parsons while a theology student at Harvard University and John Nuese, a guitar player for local rock group, The Trolls. Nuese is largely credited with having persuaded Parsons to pursue the country-rock sound he would later...

 (tracks 1-6 on disc two).