Triad (The Byrds song)

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Song by The Byrds from the album Never Before
Released December 1, 1987
Recorded August 14–18, 1967, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Rock
Length 3:29
Label Re-Flyte, Murray Hill
Writer David Crosby
Producer Gary Usher
Song by Jefferson Airplane from the album Crown of Creation
Released September 1968
Recorded May 1968
Genre Rock
Length 4:55
Label RCA
Writer David Crosby
Producer Al Schmitt
Song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from the album 4 Way Street
Released April 7, 1971
Recorded June 2–July 5, 1970, New York, Chicago & Los Angeles
(exact date and venue unknown)
Genre Rock
Length 5:07
Label Atlantic
Writer David Crosby
Producer David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young

"Triad" is a song written by David Crosby in 1967 about a ménage à trois, a subject perfectly in keeping with the "free love" hippie philosophies of the day.[1][2] The song was written while Crosby was a member of the rock band The Byrds, who were at that time recording their fifth studio album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers.[3] Although the band did record "Triad" and perform it live during a September 1967 engagement at the Whisky a Go Go, it was not included on The Notorious Byrd Brothers album.[4][5] According to Crosby, this was due to lead guitarist Roger McGuinn and bass player Chris Hillman feeling that its subject-matter was too controversial, with McGuinn in particular allegedly deriding the song as a "freak-out orgy tune."[2] However, this has since been denied by Hillman who has stated "I don't think it was a moral decision. The song just didn't work that well. David was drifting and bored and wanted to do something else, and that song just added fuel to the fire."[2]

There had been growing animosity between Crosby and the rest of the band throughout 1967, with events finally coming to a head during the recording sessions for The Notorious Byrd Brothers.[6] These tensions had arisen as a result of several factors, including Crosby's displeasure over the band's wish to record the GoffinKing composition "Goin' Back", his fraternization with fellow L.A. musicians, and his controversial remarks to the audience during The Byrds' performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.[2][7][8] Ultimately, these factors, along with the discord surrounding "Triad", contributed to McGuinn and Hillman's decision to fire Crosby from the band during October 1967.[2] Crosby eventually gave the song to Jefferson Airplane,[9] who recorded it on their 1968 album, Crown of Creation.[10][11] A live recording of "Triad" was later included on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1971 album, 4 Way Street.[12]

The song's lyrics were largely inspired by the hedonism and sexual freedom that Crosby enjoyed at his home in Beverly Glen in Los Angeles during 1967.[2] However, the song also features allusions to author Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, with references to "sister lovers" and "water brothers".[2] "Triad", as recorded by The Byrds, remained unreleased for twenty years but was finally issued on the 1987 archival album, Never Before.[1] The song also appears on the The Byrds box set from 1990, as a bonus track on the 1997 Columbia/Legacy reissue of The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and on the 2006 There Is a Season box set.[13]

The Icicle Works recorded "Triad" as a medley with another Byrds' song, "Chestnut Mare", on the 1989 Byrds' tribute album Time Between – A Tribute to The Byrds.[14] The song was also covered by Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico in 2008.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "The Notorious Byrd Brothers". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited (2nd ed.). Rogan House. pp. 228–233. ISBN 0-9529540-1-X. 
  3. ^ Fricke, David. (1997). The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1997 CD liner notes). 
  4. ^ Hjort, Christopher (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 145. ISBN 1-906002-15-0. 
  5. ^ "Triad review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  6. ^ Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 117. ISBN 1-906002-15-0. 
  7. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1997). The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1997 CD liner notes). 
  8. ^ Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. pp. 134–136. ISBN 1-906002-15-0. 
  9. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 41 - The Acid Test: Psychedelics and a sub-culture emerge in San Francisco. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  10. ^ Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. p. 143. ISBN 1-906002-15-0. 
  11. ^ "Crown of Creation review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  12. ^ 4 Way Street review at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  13. ^ "Triad - The Byrds' version". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  14. ^ "Time Between - A Tribute To The Byrds". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 

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