Song of the Week – Lady Friend, The Byrds

Ignored             Obscured              Restored

There is a terrific song by The Byrds, that even many staunch fans don’t know about.  That’s because it was only released as a single and stalled at #82 on the Billboard Hot 100.  But don’t let its lack of exposure and commercial success fool you into thinking it is a stinker, because it is anything but!

The song is “Lady Friend”, penned by David Crosby.  In fact, it is the only Crosby composition that made it onto a Byrds’ A-side.  Its “failure” was deeply disappointing to Crosby and may have been a factor in his leaving the band.  That, and the fact that the group wasn’t very receptive to the subject matter of the songs he was writing including “Triad” which was about a ménage à trois.

In a post for the blog Under the Radar, Beachwood Sparks’ Brent Rademaker describes “Lady Friend” fondly:

Two minutes and thirty seconds is all it takes to sweep you off the sand and pull you out with the tide and gently return you to shore on the crest of a chiming guitar and sweet harmony tidal wave.  It’s a love song and those are the best ones, right?  A song about losing the one you love and ultimately finding love with yourself.  The imagery used is that of love coming in waves, “Here it comes again it looks just like the last wave I drowned in…Here it comes and I’m so far from shore…”  As a surfer those lyrics were just perfect!  You get Roger McGuinn’s 12-string in all its glory.  You get treated to about ten Crozs harmonizing with each other as David didn’t care for the harmonies the band had done and over-dubbed himself for most of the harmonies. 

It has a very cool arrangement too.  Pay attention to the breakdown after the second chorus.  A descending guitar figure, blaring horns, then the full band and vocal “ba-da-das” rise to a crescendo.

This is another cool record that deserves to be on your playlist.

Enjoy… until next week.

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