The Byrds on the Smothers Brothers: Goin’ Back


Today is the birthday of the great Brill Building songwriter Carole King (b. 1942). Most people know (either or both) her spectacular solo success in the early 1970s…or her equally impressive success as a songwriter for girl groups in the early 1960s with her husband Jerry Goffin. What sometimes falls through the cracks is Goffin-King’s mid to late sixties success penning tunes for major rock groups like The Animals, The Monkees, and The Byrds.

I include this tune because it’s been on my “virtual turntable” for many months now. “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” (1968) is an amazing album, with subtle joys that can continue to emerge after many repeated plays. “Goin’ Back” (written by Goffin and King) is a good example of that. The first time I heard the song I thought it was dull and a bit of a come down, especially since it follows the extremely kinetic opening track “Artificial Energy”. But the more you play it, the more its beauties reveal themselves. Some of that’s due to the Byrds’ arrangement, some to the writing of Goffin and King. This admittedly sip synced clip is from The Smother Brothers Hour in 1968.

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