Welcome back to another episode of our popular running series Truck Driver Songs. Here, we look back at songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s that sing the praises of the truck driver and the lifestyle they choose to live. This week is an easy going ballad from the 70s by a band that set lots of standards in the world of rock.
Most anyone who grew up in the 70s and 80s have no trouble remembering some of The Byrds’ more radio-friendly pop tunes. They were only together for 7 years total, but in that time they were able to change the sound of rock towards something more constructed, with finer sensibilities and some very haunting melodies.
Without a doubt, their biggest radio hit was the instantly recognizable guitar chorale of “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The song was literally one of the defining moments of the psychedelic 60s, and signaled a shift toward something music critics were dubbing “folk rock.” Although The Byrds were one of the pioneering forces of the style, they unfortunately would sink further into the ether while other bands like Crosby, Still & Nash, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas & The Papas would earn much more credit, and all the big payoffs that went with it. Only much later did music historians and players place The Byrds in reverence for their contributions.
In 1970, the band was struggling through it’s fourth lineup of players in so many years. The Byrds then consisted of Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Gene Parsons and Skip Battin. Gram and Hillman went on to form the also influential outlaw country rock band The Flying Burrito Brothers, which have also been featured in our Truck Driver Songs series. Parsons – a notorious control freak, was having creative differences with McGuinn, as Parsons wanted to shift away from the psychedelic style that put them on the map, and move toward a style more centered on country music. He got his wish for a short while, although by 1968, McGuinn reached his limit and released Parsons, replacing him with Clarence White, who would see the band to its conclusion in 1973.