Take One: The Byrds – 1965 Single B Side – ‘She Don’t Care About Time’

by | Sep 26, 2018 | 0 comments

Spinning on the turntable today in the ‘rock room’ is the
flip side to the famed 1965 7’ Byrds’ single ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’. Composed by
Gene Clark, the cut, ‘She Don’t Care About Time’ is not only one of Clark’s finest
compositions and best renowned songs; but also an influential and important
part of the entire pop/rock mid-1960’s discography. 
Released on October 29, 1965 the single ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’
b/w ‘She Don’t Care About Time followed the staggering success of the Byrds
‘folk-rock’ cover of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’. While in the groups early stages
they concentrated mainly on Dylan covers and re-imagining’s of traditional folk
numbers, Gene Clark, the band’s primary songwriter, focused on developing his
own melodic and lyrical skills. Clark would leave behind the accessibility of
other people’s songs and would dive headfirst into exploring his own emotions
and dreams through melodic and metered poetry.
 In what would
eventually become a bone of contention effecting the dynamics of the group,
Clark’s  songwriting skills offered him more money and greater attention than other
principals in the band. In an ironic twist of fate Jim (Roger) McGuinn, David
Crosby and Chris Hillman would later earn greater recognition for being members
of the Byrds than Gene would being the principal songwriter in their formatve days.
While Clark’s stint in the band would be brief he was the perpetuating force in
the group during their most influential and popular era.
‘She Don’t Care About Time’ would not appear on the LP Turn, Turn, Turn and would only be
available on the ‘B’ side of the aforementioned ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ single.  Although later appearing on a number of
greatest hits compilations; in what would seem to be typical of his musical
career, one of Clark’s finest early moments of a composer would be nestled on
the flip side of a Byrds’ single.
Instrumentally the song was influenced by the Beatles and
after its release it in turn influenced the Beatles back. While both groups
competed in the charts, as artists and musicians their influence was shared
even across the expanse of the Atlantic. 

‘She Don’t Care About Time’ begins with the recognizable and
glistening ring of McGuinn’s Rickenbacker guitar. As Michael Clarke’s drums
enter one is instantly reminded of the Beatles 1965 single ‘Ticket to Ride’.
The sparkling picking and the start/stop tom-tom oriented drum groove definitely
share a similar musical aesthetic to the Beatles track.  The song would also in return later be cited
by George Harrison as an impetus and influence for his own 1965 song, ‘If I
Needed Someone’ which likewise contained soaring and seamless three part
harmonies.

The similarities between the two tracks end there though as
Clark’s lyrics equal and in the ‘rock room’s modest opinion even surpasses the
Byrds’ lyrical contemporaries of the time including the Beatles. Clark’s lyrics
evoke a woman comprised of dreams and perfection. Figuratively, the woman does
not need to heed time as she is timeless.
As McGuinn’s aforementioned picked intro is dispersed with,
Crosby cuts rhythm strokes across the lick. The drums then rumble in with the
appearance of the stunning signature Byrd three part harmonies. The vocal
melody is the dolloped on top of the sturdy pop backing comprised of Clarke’s uniquely
tumbling drums and the muted pluck of Hillman’s bass. Crosby and McGuinn express
themselves  deeply through their
respective riffs. The contrast lays in-between the central melody and band
instrumentation, combining to express the deep originality of the cut. He track
is a pop song with an ear worm melody balanced somewhere between the band’s folk
beginnings, psychedelic zed minds and fertile musical beginnings.
Clark’s poetic sensibilities are the star of the song. His
deft portrail of complex emotions distills a deeper meaning from his lyrical
construct. The subject of the song is spectral, the perfect partner, or woman,
or in the ‘rock room’s’ opinion the mysterious muse. Clark knows that she or it
waits without regret. Time means nothing for a mystery or for a love as deep as
the ages. The simple depth of the lyrics and rich artfulness is second only to
Dylan in this era.
Mid song McGuinn takes a short quivering solo that quotes
Bach while offering a mystical respite before heading back into the verse; as
the song has no true chorus. Packed into a two and a half minute flip side, ‘She
Don’t Care About Time’ sums up the early Byrds and the mid-1960’s folk rock aesthetic,
all the while expressing something fresh, yet staying perfectly within its own
time. The song has aged well and is well regarded by the band with both Clark and Hillman recording ‘cover’ versions in both 1972 and 2017 respectively.
Clark’s flight with the Byrds would be turbulent, but
stunning in its ascent and brevity. Unfortunately success would
shake the young band to its foundation and haunt Clark’s future days as an
artist and musician. His songs when examined in hindsight are always ahead of
the curve and foreshadowing the next move to come in whichever genre he saw fit
to explore.  But
the early sides cut when the Byrds were both individually and collaboratively
peaking contain a historic alchemy that would never be matched by any of the group’s
original principals.

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