Triad (The Byrds song)

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Song by The Byrds
from the album Never Before
Released December 1, 1987
Recorded August 16 & 17, 1967[1]
Studio Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA
Genre Rock
Length 3:29
Label Re-Flyte, Murray Hill
Songwriter(s) David Crosby
Producer(s) 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
Songwriter(s) David Crosby
Producer(s) 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
Songwriter(s) David Crosby
Producer(s) David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young

"Triad" is a song written by singer-songwriter David Crosby in 1967 about a ménage à trois,[2] a subject that Byrds biographer Johnny Rogan has noted was perfectly in keeping with the "free love" hippie philosophies of the day.[3]

Composition and recording[edit]

"Triad" 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.[4] The song's lyrics were largely inspired by the sexual freedom that Crosby enjoyed at his home in Beverly Glen in Los Angeles.[3] 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".[3]

Although the Byrds 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.[5][6] According to Crosby, bandmates Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman felt that its subject matter was too controversial, with McGuinn allegedly deriding the song as a "freak-out orgy tune."[3] 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."[3]

There had been growing animosity between Crosby and the rest of the band throughout 1967, which, coupled with the discord over "Triad", contributed to McGuinn and Hillman's decision to fire him from the band in October of that year.[3][7]


Following his departure from the Byrds, Crosby gave the song to the band Jefferson Airplane,[8] who included a recording of it on their 1968 album, Crown of Creation.[9][10] This version also appears on Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick's compilation album The Best of Grace Slick.

A live recording of "Triad" performed by Crosby himself was later included on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1971 album, 4 Way Street.[11]

The Byrds recording of the song remained unreleased for twenty years until the 1987 archival album Never Before was issued.[2] It also appears on 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.[12]

Cover versions[edit]

Actress and singer Sally Kellerman recorded the song in 1973 and released it as a single.[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]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "The Notorious Byrd Brothers". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited (2nd ed.). Rogan House. pp. 228–233. ISBN 0-9529540-1-X. 
  4. ^ Fricke, David. (1997). The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1997 CD liner notes). 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Triad review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 41 – The Acid Test: Psychedelics and a sub-culture emerge in San Francisco. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Crown of Creation review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  11. ^ 4 Way Street review at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  12. ^ "Triad – The Byrds' version". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Time Between – A Tribute To The Byrds". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 

External links[edit]