#29 The Byrds: Turn! Turn! Turn! 1965
1965 seems like a while ago, even for me but I recall the music of the American Folk Rock group The Byrds as if it were yesterday. Their songs, Hey, Mr Tambourine Man, Eight Miles High, I’ll Feel a Whole Better and Chimes of Freedom are just a few that stick with me. They are as wonderful today as ever. One of the things I really like about the music of the 60s was its happiness which is so contagious.
The song I want to talk about today, Turn! Turn! Turn! sung by The Byrds and released in 1965 is the oldest written song to ever make it to #1 in the US charts. In the late 1950s Pete Seeger rearranged and set to music the words of Ecclesiastes 3: v1-8. The book of Ecclesiastes is ascribed to King Solomon, who is regarded as the wisest and richest man who ever lived. Scholars believe Ecclesiastes was written around the 10th century BC.
Seeger’s lyrics are taken almost word for word from the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. He has added the phrase Turn! Turn! Turn! and the closing line: “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” Pete Seeger was an activist for social change at the time when America’s involvement in the Vietnam war was on their doorstep. This line about peace is highly relevant in our present day world and circumstances.
Turn! Turn! Turn! is a beautiful song. It has been covered by about a dozen different artists, including Australia’s Seekers, but for me The Byrds version is the best. And the lyrics cannot be beaten, wisdom for all time! I hope you will enjoy the clip.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Blessings.