Sung by and written by Gene Clark, I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better was the B-side of the second single (All I Really Wanna Do) the second Dylan track from The Byrd’s debut album, Mr Tambourine Man released in 1965. The title track had already been an international No.1 and although this second single only reached No.40 in the US, it made No.4 in the UK. Even though it wasn’t the A-side Columbia Records promoted the song by their hip new Folk Rock sensation, the song reaching No.103 in its own right in the US chart. It was a new sound and everyone was catching on, the next single, the title track from the band’s second album Turn, Turn, Turn was written by Pete Seeger and also topped the charts in the US reaching No.26 in the UK.
Electrifying Dylan songs was a novel idea and the band had a sound all of its own with Roger (then Jim) McGuinn’s Rickenbacker 12 string. But David Crosby’s vocal and guitar, Chris Hillman’s bass and Gene Clark’s songwriting and singing (with the addition of Michael Clarke on the drums) were key to a special musical chemistry that fitted perfectly with the breezy free love culture of the time.
It didn’t last long, first Gene Clark quit and then Crosby was fired, Crosby teaming up with The Hollies’ Graham Nash, and Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills for the next phase of counterculture mega-stardom in the shape of Crosby, Stills, Nash. Clarke never managed solo success despite many worthy albums, he died in 1991 of a heart attack after struggling with alcohol, he was just 46. Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993 aged 47. The Byrds continued with many different members, notably Country Rock legend Gram Parsons, releasing many great Folk Rock and Country Rock albums into the seventies with members involved in other acts such as The Flying Burrito Brothers and McGuinn, Clark and Hillman.
Last but not least, the track was produced by Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son). Melcher had been in a commercially successful acoustic duo with future Beach Boy, Bruce Johnston in the early sixties (Bruce And Terry). It was the severing of a possible musical relationship with Charles Manson that probably led to the Manson family murders in the house where Melcher and his girlfriend (Candice Bergen) had previously lived. From such beauty comes tragedies unbound.
There’s various different bad quality b/w TV performances of I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better as seen below so I have added the recorded version of the song from the album.