The Byrds" i Come and also Stand at Every Door is a hypnotic and also haunting song, told native the ideology of a child incinerated at Hiroshima

There"s no intro, just a chiming chord and straight into the vocal: "I come and also stand at every door, however no one hears my silent tread. I knock and also yet remain unseen, for ns am dead, for i am dead." It"s the recognisable Byrds sound, that Rickenbacker whine, but the tempo is slow, deliberate, through Michael Clarke"s north – therefore alive and also mobile elsewhere – dragging behind the beat, like a funeral march.

On vinyl, i Come and Stand in ~ Every Door is inserted at the end of the an initial side that the Byrds" 3rd album, 5th Dimension: complying with three fast, at sight intense, proto-psychedelic tunes (Mr Spaceman, I check out You, What"s Happening?!?!), that could almost be a drag – and then roger McGuinn"s patient, paper-thin voice sucks you right in.

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Musically, it"s one long, lilting drone, taken from a timeless folk melody called an excellent Selchie that Shule Skerry (recorded by Judy Collins top top her second album). The lyrics are adjusted from a city by the celebrated Turkist poet Nazim Hikmet – talked from the viewpoint of a seven-year-old kid incinerated at Hiroshima: "I"m seven now as ns was then/When kids die they do not grow."

I Come and Stand at Every Door was videotaped in might 1966. Throughout the vault year, pop had begun to go deeper and also darker. Bob Dylan"s ascent to mass popular kick-started the protest eight of late 1965: among the plaints both consequential and trivial to be anti-nuclear rants prefer Barry McGuire"s night of Destruction and Tim Rose"s come away Melinda.

The Byrds were more thoughtful. Many thanks to your manager, Jim Dickson, and also their very own experiences, they had actually direct accessibility to the hardcore beat/folk tradition. They had all grown up through the work of the blacklisted Pete Seeger, who adaptations informed the Byrds" execution of The Bells that Rhymney and also Turn rotate Turn, and also whose translate into of Hikmet"s city they supplied on this song.

The third verse take away you into the heart of the holocaust: "My hair was scorched by swirling flame/My eyes flourished dim, my eyes prospered blind/Death came and also turned my bones come dust/And that was scattered by the wind." over there is no solo, no break, just the relentless, measured, quiet voice: "I ask for nothing for myself/For ns am dead, for i am dead."

No pop song had gone so far, nor pitched it so right. The documentary feel provides it of a piece with Peter Watkins"s at the same time BBC film, The War game (shot in 1965, reserved for transmission in august 1966), which simply aimed to present the effect of a one megaton atom bomb hitting the city of Rochester. Banned by the BBC together "too horrifying", it was not presented until 1985.

Nuclear tools haunted 60s popular music culture. Transparent the 50s, there had actually been H-Bomb exam – weapons through the power of multiple Hiroshimas – and also the civilization had almost come to an all-out atom war during the only of Pigs face-off in October 1961. Transparent the late 50 and also early 60s CND was a massive youth motion in the UK. 

This ever-present hazard – the huge Fear that the period – fostered a kind of fixed existentialism. As Jeff Nuttall wrote in his brilliant survey of the 60s underground, Bomb Culture: "The human being who had actually not yet reached puberty at the time of the bomb to be incapable of conceiving the life v a future." The only certain thing in this human being was what Nuttall called "the crackling certainty that Now".

People look back at the extraordinary explode of music in the 60s v their very own prejudices. They forget that it to be rooted in a consciousness that felt the civilization could vaporise in one instant. In the same way, the beginning of advertisement youth society – heralded by the development of "the teenager" in so late 1944/early 1945 – corresponded with the end of the second world war and the terrible events in Japan.

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I Come and also Stand at Every Door reinforces this basic connection. Yet there is a resolution, part light in ~ the end of the horror. As the track moves to its climax, a harmony voice comes in: "All that ns ask is the for peace/You fight today, friend fight today/So that the children of this world/May live and also grow and laugh and also play." The sense of catharsis is palpable.

The Byrds put this masterpiece the tension and also release right into the US height 30 when its parental album Fifth dimension entered the charts in September 1966. With nuclear weapons ago in the news, this haunting, nearly forgotten, song still strikes a chord.