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It Won't Be Wrong


It Won't Be Wrong

"It Won't Be Wrong"
A-side "Set You Free This Time"
Released February 18, 1966
Format 7" single
Recorded September 10, September 14 – September 16, 1965, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Folk rock, pop
Length 1:58
Label CBS
Writer(s) Jim McGuinn, Harvey Gerst
Producer Terry Melcher
The Byrds singles chronology

"Set You Free This Time"
"It Won't Be Wrong"
"Eight Miles High"

"It Won't Be Wrong" is a song by the American folk rock band The Byrds, which appeared as the second track on their 1965 album, Turn! Turn! Turn![1] It was written in 1964 by band member Jim McGuinn and his friend, Harvey Gerst, an acquaintance from McGuinn's days as a folk singer at The Troubadour folk club in West Hollywood, California.[2][3] The song had originally appeared under the alternate title of "Don't Be Long" on the B-side of a single that The Byrds had released on Elektra Records in October 1964, under the pseudonym The Beefeaters.[4][5] By the time that the song was re-recorded in September 1965, during the recording sessions for The Byrds' second Columbia Records' album, its title had been changed to "It Won't Be Wrong".[5][6]

Lyrically, the song is a relatively simplistic appeal for a lover to submit to the singer's romantic advances.[7] Musically, however, the guitar riff following each verse foreshadows the raga experimentation of the band's later songs "Eight Miles High" and "Why", both of which would be recorded within three months of "It Won't Be Wrong".[6][8] The Byrds' biographer, Johnny Rogan, has described the difference between the earlier Beefeaters' recording of the song and The Byrds' Columbia version as remarkable.[9] Rogan went on to note "The lackluster Beefeaters' version was replaced by the driving beat of a Byrds rock classic, complete with strident guitars and improved harmonies, that transformed the sentiments of the song from an ineffectual statement to a passionate plea."[9] Both the band and their producer Terry Melcher also felt that the version included on the Turn! Turn! Turn! album was far more accomplished and exciting than the earlier recording of the song.[9]

After its appearance on the Turn! Turn! Turn! album, "It Won't Be Wrong" was selected as the B-side for The Byrds' "Set You Free This Time" single in January 1966.[1] However, after initially poor sales of that single, Columbia Records in America began promoting the B-side instead, resulting in "It Won't Be Wrong" charting at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100.[10][11] In the United Kingdom, "Set You Free This Time" was released as a single on February 11, 1966, but after the NME described the B-side as the best track on the single, it was re-released on February 18, 1966 with "It Won't Be Wrong" as the A-side.[1][12][1] This re-issuing of essentially the same single (albeit with its A-side and B-side transposed) twice within the space of two weeks, caused confusion among Radio DJs over which of the two songs they should play and contributed to the single's failure to chart in the UK.[12]

The Byrds performed the song on the U.S. television programs Where The Action Is and Shivaree during 1966 but there's little evidence to suggest that the song was played regularly during the band's 1960s and 1970s live concerts.[13][14][15] However, the song was performed by a reformed line-up of The Byrds featuring Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman in January 1989.[15]

In addition to its appearance on The Byrds' second album, "It Won't Be Wrong" also appears on several Byrds' compilations, including The Original Singles: 1965–1967, Volume 1, The Very Best of The Byrds, The Byrds, The Essential Byrds, There Is a Season and the expanded and remastered edition of The Byrds' Greatest Hits.[16] The original Elektra Records version of the song (titled "Don't Be Long") can be found on the albums In the Beginning, Byrd Parts and The Preflyte Sessions, as well as on the There Is a Season box set.[17][18][19][20]


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