David Crosby
David Crosby


Everybody has been burned before.
Everybody knows the pain.

Anyone in this place
Can tell you to your face
Why you shouldn't
Try to love someone.

Everybody knows it never works.
Everybody knows and me

I know that door
That shuts just before
You get to the dreams,
You see.


I know all too well
How to turn, how to run
How to hide behind
A bitter wall of blue.

But you die inside
If you choose to hide
So I guess instead
I'll love you.

I almost left Everybody's Been Burned out of Psychedelic Masterworks because, though it uses the same sort of sound as It Happens Each Day, that is, the use of oddly tuned 12 string guitar, on the other hand, the lyrics seem of another period with their coherent words of advice to lovers, sung with a jazz era cool. There's a lack of surrealism in the poetry. Perhaps Everybody's Been Burned echoed Neil Young's recent single with the Buffalo Springfield, titled Burned. I later learned from the Byrd Watcher web site that the song was written in 1962, and the lyrics reflect this in their "beat" negative argument against gaining wisdom from past experience. This is far from the world of enlightenment through chemistry. Still, a number of writers have cited this song as psychedelic.

It was the argument of Thomas M. Sylvestre, in a letter to the website Only Solitaire by George Starostin, that convinced me to include Everybody’s Been Burned in this narrative. His argument that Everybody's Been Burned was "jazz rock" before its emergence in pop music in 1968 with the first Blood Sweat and Tears album, Child is Father to the Man, allowed me to include this among the Psychedelic Masterworks for the same reason as sometimes the beginnings of "art rock" are allowed. Both sprang out of the psychedelic movement. Though conceived in another context, Everybody's Been Burned shows that the modes Crosby found by using unusual guitar tunings turned out to be a distinctive way to participate in the psychedelic aesthetic.

Jeff Meshel wrote on his website Song of the Week: “Crosby never wrote strong melody lines or finely crafted songs. His best work for his next band, Crosby Stills & Nash (Déjà Vu and especially Guinevere) are products of a psychedelic sensibility – floating, meandering, precious, delicate, shimmering, as unfettered and fragile as a soap bubble wafting in a marijuana cloud above a Tribal Gathering. Everybody’s Been Burned is more than a precursor of those gravity-defying gems. It has the weight of melody and lyric content and meaning and emotion and passion, and yet it still floats."