Album covers analysed: The Byrds

Published: 28th May, 2009

The Byrds, Ballad of Easy Rider

the-byrds

There is nothing in the world more deeply satisfying than a visual metaphor. Students use them all the time, because Banksy uses them, and Banksy is, like, a genius or something. Seriously, man, he uses graffiti to really express himself. He uses it for social commentary and that. Yeah, I’m going to buy a book of Banksy pictures. Then I might get a T-shirt with I’m Banksy emblazoned on it, because no one is one hundered per cent sure who Banksy actually is. God Banksy‘s cool. He’s not even really called Banksy. It’s like his street name. Banksy. Anyway, enough about Banksy, and onto another visual metaphor. One created before the great Banksy was even conceived. It’s from the sleeve of Ballad of Easy Rider by The Byrds, released at a time when rural America was having to come to terms with the mobs of greasy long haired hippies making love on their barn floors. In a small square in the middle of the cover is a picture of a cowboy – the symbol of Hillbilly America – only in this case, he’s riding a motorbike, not a horse. A motorbike. The message is clear. The times, they are changing. Or, indeed, a-changing. Horses are out, man. Here’s a cut from the record…

Josh Burt
About the author:
Josh has been a writer and journalist for the best part of twenty years and has written for modern staples like FHM and Cosmopolitan and The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. He has also written a small handful of so-so books that you can still buy.

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