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3.14-IT HAPPENS EACH DAY (Byrds)

Byrds

LISTEN

Like a silent ray of sunlight
Catching in my eye,
Like a bird, a seagull
Coasting on my sky

         It happens each day
         You're away
         From here.

A bunch of threads are missing
From this tapestry.
I remember kissing.
Do you remember me?

         [Chorus]

Like a disembodied spirit
Watching over me,
Like a sister sailing ship
Dead against the sea

         [Chorus]

[Coda]


Previously, the Byrds songs that David Crosby had a hand in were droning, imitating the sitar and dulcimer. For a while he was pursuing something of the same Eastern modality as George Harrison and Jeff Beck. But with this and Everybody's Been Burned, David Crosby, in his contributions to Younger Than Yesterday, seems to have found a sound, based on tuning his twelve string guitar in different modes, that would serve him not only in the psychedelic period, but become one of the dominant interpretations of rock music following psychedelia, with the great success of the group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and also the similar work of Joni Mitchell. That It Happens Each Day has a melody line in a minor key that seems to fall through flats makes it distinctly nostalgic and decidedly psychedelic.

The yearning that psychedelic songs express is often without a sexual element (down to the lack of sex specificity), which invites abstraction. The song consists of four similes in two verses with a confession of being unwound or fragmented after an experience, as if there was a romantic moment under the influence of drugs which is barely remembered. (LSD is not used as an aphrodesiac in this collection of Psychedelic Masterworks, except—possibly—LSD may be stimulating the reverie in the Jefferson Airplane’s In Time, found on their 9/68 Crown of Creation album.) The memory of the experience sounds like it's registered as a fleeting but beautiful change in how the singer sees things. It seems like an impression that lingers over the singer like a blessing. The final simile however is difficult: David Crosby was very fond of sailing and derived many of the metaphors of his subsequent songs from seafaring. And I can understand sister sailing ship as some sort of twin (perhaps this intimates the sex of the partner; but sailing ships are traditionally female). I cannot, however, fathom Dead against the sea, which evokes The Flying Dutchman. Is it fatalism that he will never have the experience again? Does the sea represent the vastness of existence upon which this tiny momentous event occurred?

There is some dispute still about the identity of the accompanying lead guitarist in this cut. Some say Roger McGuinn, others Chris Hillman, and still others Stephen Stills. It sounds a lot like Stills to me. It Happens Each Day was not released in the original Younger Than Yesterday, though recorded during those sessions. It was included as one of the bonus tracks when Younger Than Yesterday was re-released in 1996.

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