I Knew I'd Want You

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"I Knew I'd Want You"
I Knew I'd Want You label.jpeg
Single by The Byrds
from the album Mr. Tambourine Man
A-side "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Released April 12, 1965 (1965-04-12)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded January 20, 1965
Studio Columbia, Hollywood, California
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:14
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Gene Clark
Producer(s) Terry Melcher

"I Knew I'd Want You" is a song written by Gene Clark that was first released by the folk rock band The Byrds as the B-side to their 1965 debut single, "Mr. Tambourine Man",[1] and later included on their debut album Mr. Tambourine Man.[2]

Lyrics and Music[edit]

"I Knew I'd Want You" is one of the earliest original songs written by one of the Byrds, dating back to 1964 when the band was known as the Jet Set.[3][4] It is a folk rock song taken at mid-tempo.[5] Clark sings the lead vocal.[3] Author Christopher Hjort describes it as "a minor-tinged 6/8 shuffle."[4] Author James Perone finds the sound similar to that of The Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," particularly through its use of a triple meter and acoustic instruments, noting that the Byrds song was released first and probably even recorded first.[6] Perone also feels that certain features, such as its minor key and the general melodic shape, anticipated the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin."[6] Music critic Johnny Rogan notes a nod to The Beatles in the use of the phrase "oh yeah" at the end of the refrain.[3] Rogan described the lyrics as being "romantic" and incorporating "hip parlance" such as the line "You'd have me on your trip..."[3]

Recording and release[edit]

"I Knew I'd Want You" was recorded on January 20, 1965, at the same sessions at which they recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man."[3][4] As with "Mr Tambourine Man," Roger McGuinn is the only member of the Byrds credited with playing an instrument on the song, playing his 12-string guitar.[3] The other musicians credited are members of the Wrecking Crew, including Larry Knechtel (bass guitar), Leon Russell (electric piano), Hal Blaine (drums), and Jerry Cole (guitar).[3] However, author James Perone believes that the bass guitar and rhythm guitar on "I Knew I'd Want You" sound like Byrd members Chris Hillman and David Crosby, respectively.[6] Hillman has stated in interview that neither he nor Crosby played on the song, noting that the contrast between the slicker, more polished sound of the session musicians on "I Knew I'd Want You" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" is quite noticeable compared to the rawer sound of the Byrds' own playing on the rest of the Mr. Tambourine Man album.[7] According to Byrds' manager Jim Dickson, the executives at Columbia Records felt it was too risky to release a poetic song like "Mr. Tambourine Man" as the A-side of the Byrds' first single and wanted "I Knew I'd Want You" to be the A-side instead, but at the insistence of producer Terry Melcher, "Mr. Tambourine Man" was ultimately released as the A-side.[3] The single, with "Mr. Tambourine Man" as the A-side, reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.[8]

Allmusic critic Matthew Greenwald calls "I Knew I'd Want You" a "highlight" of Mr. Tambourine Man and compares the song's ability "to convey feelings of both love and alienation" to songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.[5] In the 4th edition of The Rolling Stone Album Guide Rob Sheffield calls it one of "the most vital songs" on Mr. Tambourine Man.[9] Rogan considers the song to be impressive enough "to stand along some of the best Lennon/McCartney material of the period.[3] Rogan finds Clark's vocal to be "moving" although "a little mannered."[3] Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger considers it to be "lyrically less challenging, but equally powerful musically" compared to the Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Jackie DeShannon penned songs on Mr. Tambourine Man.[10]

Other appearances[edit]

"I Knew I'd Want You" was included on several Byrds' compilation albums. A new stereo remix was included on the 1987 archival album Never Before.[3] The song was also included in the 2006 box set There Is a Season.[11] An early, alternate version was included on the 1969 album Preflyte and the 1988 album In the Beginning.[5]

A version of "I Knew I'd Want You" recorded by songwriter Gene Clark was included on Echoes, the 1991 repackaging of his 1967 solo debut album Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers.[12] Thin White Rope covered the song for the CD version of the 1989 tribute album Time Between – A Tribute to The Byrds.[13] Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny describes the Thin White Rope version as a "high-wattage, heavy metal rendition."[13] Thin White Rope also released the song on their 1991 EP Squatter's Rights.[14]


  1. ^ Rogan, Johnny (2011). Requiem for the Timeless: Volume 1. London: Rogan House. p. 1043. ISBN 978-0-95295-408-8. 
  2. ^ Rogan, Johnny (2011). Requiem for the Timeless: Volume 1. London: Rogan House. pp. 1049–1050. ISBN 978-0-95295-408-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rogan, J. (1997). The Byrds: Timeless Flight revisited. Rogan House. pp. 15, 51, 61, 63–64, 86, 418, 481. ISBN 9780952954019. 
  4. ^ a b c Hjort, C. (2008). So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-by-Day 1965-1973. Jawbone. pp. 24, 29. ISBN 9781906002152. 
  5. ^ a b c Greenwald, M. "I Knew I'd Want You". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  6. ^ a b c Perone, J.E. (2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential and Important Creations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 62, 64. ISBN 9780313379079. 
  7. ^ Richie Unterberger. "Chris Hillman Interview". Richie Unterberger homepage. Laughing Squid. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Mr. Tambourine Man Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  9. ^ Sheffield, R. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, H., eds. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside. p. 126. ISBN 0743201698. 
  10. ^ Unterberger, R. "Mr. Tambourine Man". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  11. ^ Unterberger, R. "There Is a Season". Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  12. ^ Unterberger, R. "Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers". Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  13. ^ a b Ankeny, J. "Time Between – A Tribute to The Byrds". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  14. ^ Sendra, T. "Ruby Sea/Squatters Rights". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 

External links[edit]