On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

The Byrds and Dylan teamed up for No. 1 hit 50 years ago

Share story

Fifty years ago today, "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds was the No. 1 song on the Billboard pop chart.

It was the first song written by Bob Dylan to make it to No. 1 — and it popularized the sound that eventually became known as folk-rock. 

It was the Byrds' first single for Columbia Records, which had been concerned about the band members' musical aptitude. Because of that, Roger McGuinn's 12-string guitar is the only instrument on the recording played by a member of the Byrds. The rest of the backing track was provided by The Wrecking Crew.

• More Morning Edition music