Gene Clark / The Byrds – Americana 101


June 16, 2014 by 45spin

20140616-180218-64938112.jpgGene Clark as some would argue after the rise and fall of the Byrds was the heart and soul of the band in their early years. Just as Gram Parsons put his stamp on the group during the “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”era Byrds. Gene Clark’s influence brought the band beyond being a just another American band trying to ride the wave of the British Invasion to top 40 radio.

His creative output was responsible for most of their original songs such as “Set You Free This Time,” “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better,” “I’m Feelin’ Higher,” “Eight Miles High” “She Don’t Care About Time” and many others. As the rest of the band was focusing on covers of Bob Dylan songs, it was Gene Clark’s creative output that would define the early Byrds sound to the world.

I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better was the the B-side to “All I Really Want To Do” a Bob Dylan cover which was the second single released by the band. Featuring Gene Clark on lead vocal, Roger McGuinn’s jangling Richenbacker Guitar and a gorgeous three part harmony that would become a hallmark of the bands sound. This song would help bridge the gap between folk and rock & roll and was one of early successes in defining what would become the West Coast country rock sound of the seventies.

Like a lot of Gene Clark’s songs this one was about a failed relationship he was having at the time. However in a twist of irony instead of feeling the pain of loss at the end of the relationship he saw it as a way to get some relief. Funny how a bad relationship will do that to you.


The reasons why, oh, I can say
I have to let you go, babe, and right away
After what you did, I can’t stay on
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone

Baby, for a long time you had me believe
That your love was all mine and that’s the way it would be
But I didn’t know that you were putting me on
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone
Oh, when you’re gone

Now I’ve got to say that it’s not like before
And I’m not going to play your games anymore
After what you did, I can’t stay on
And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone
Oh, when you’re gone
Oh, when you’re gone
Oh, when you’re gone

13 thoughts on “Gene Clark / The Byrds – Americana 101

  1. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. A classic. GC under regarded though now begins to get his due as superb artist. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (give it a spin!).

  2. crimsonowl63 says:

    I always liked the Byrds, but didn’t know anything about the band really. I always learn something new on your blog and find something new to listen to. Thanks for another good post,

  3. 1537 says:

    I really like the twist on this one too.

  4. J. says:

    Great song. Great artist, too.

  5. Marie says:

    I agree with the other comments – about time for Gene Clark, and the Byrds in general, to get the attention and accolades they deserve. Great post.

    • I love break up songs with a twist like that, and always loved this song. It is funny how the end of something that really isn’t working and not good for you can feel that way.

      Nice post! I love when you write about songs and band/artist history.

  6. rockdoc999 says:

    Rob – you always astonish with your scholarship. I am a huge Byrds fan since visiting LA in 1965 when the band was playing the Whisky a Go Go. However, at that time I was under 21 and couldn’t get in. I came home to England with two LPs “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Sonny & Cher’s “Look ar Us”. I always thought that Jim (later Roger) McGuinn was the songwriter. Now I know better. My all time favourite Byrds album is “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” – a masterpiece that I would have to take to a desert island to keep me sane.

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