Monday, March 9, 2015

Turn, Turn Turn

Question: What is the first rock song ever written and who was it's author?
Answer: Turn, Turn, Turn and the lyrics are attributed to King Solomon, son of David.

Folksinger Pete Seeger actually wrote the tune for this memorable song which in 1965 entered the pop mainstream by way of The Byrds. The lyrics were essentially a re-arrangement of the opening lines of chapter 3 from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. When first released it was called "To Everything There Is A Season."

Seeger's song was recorded in 1962. The only line added to Solomon's poem was, "I swear it's not too late." Oh yes, and the words turn, turn, turn.

Even though we actually had a couple early Pete Seeger 45s, I was not aware of Pete Seeger as the origin of the song. The Byrds, who were bringing some of Dylan's songs into the wider public, put the song on America's playlists. But like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "All I Really Want To Do" I initially thought this was another Dylan tune, which shows how much I knew of both the Bible and Dylan at age 13.

Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and company pioneered a folk rock style of music, influenced both by the folk scene and the British Invasion. This hybrid sound, with McGuinn's jingly-jangly 12-sting, produced a string of hits that made their music distinctive.

Here's a nice folk version of the song by Judy Collins, also a part of this circle.

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Here's an early recording of Pete Seeger.

And finally, The Byrds.

It's time... 

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