Turn! Turn! Turn!  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season)", often abbreviated to "Turn! Turn! Turn!", is a song adapted entirely from the the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible (with the exception of the last line) and composed to music by Pete Seeger in the 1950s. Seeger waited until 1962 to record it, releasing the song on his album The Bitter and The Sweet on Columbia Records. The most successful recorded version of the song is the #1 hit single by pioneering folk-rock band The Byrds, released in October 1965.

Early folk versions

The song first appeared several months before the Seeger version, on an album by the folk group The Limeliters on RCA Records, Folk Matinee, under the title "To Everything There Is a Season". One of their backing musicians, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), would later work with folk singer Judy Collins, rearranging the song to suit her style, now entitled "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)", for her Elektra album of 1964, Judy Collins #3.

The Byrds recording

The most successful recorded version of the song is the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit single by McGuinn's pioneering folk-rock band The Byrds, released in October 1965 (b/w "She Don't Care About Time" Columbia 43424). In December, it became the title song to the group's second studio album. The group performed it in the 1966 concert film The Big T.N.T. Show.

Nearly three decades after the Byrds released the song as a single, the recording was featured prominently in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump.

The song was also featured in Jim Sheridan's 2002 film, In America, although it was not included on the official soundtrack.

After Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help from My Friends", the song was the first to play on the first episode of the television series The Wonder Years.

The Byrds' version distinguishes the song as the #1 pop hit with the oldest lyrics, dating back to the Book of Ecclesiastes. Many biblical scholars believe Ecclesiastes 1:1 implies King Solomon as the book's author; thus, if true, giving Solomon lyrical credit for a number one hit.

Other cover versions

The song has been covered by a number of other artists:

  • The Seekers recorded the song for their 1966 album Georgy Girl (also known as Come the Day)
  • Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin covered it as the b-side of 1968 hit "Those Were the Days". She later did a Welsh language version, titled "Tro, tro, tro".Template:Fact
  • Country music singer Dolly Parton recorded it in 1984 for her The Great Pretender album, and again in 2005 for Those Were the Days.
  • In 2000, David Pajo's post-rock band Papa M recorded an extended improvisation based on "Turn! Turn! Turn!," agreeing to continue playing their version of the song in a studio in Portland, Oregon until the tape ran out. Their first and only take, containing no lyrics, is 16 minutes and 22 seconds long, and appears their 2004 release Hole of Burning Alms.
  • Singer and pianist Nina Simone recorded two versions of the song, one of which was released on her album To Love Somebody (1969).
  • Canadian country music singer Jim Witter covered the song for his 2003 album Forgiveness.
  • Adrienne Camp (Adie) also recorded the song on September 26, 2006 for her album Don't Wait, released through BEC Recordings.
  • Bruce Springsteen, during his 2006 tour with the Seeger sessions band, covering Springsteen's release We Shall Overcome, played the song incidentally. Roger McGuinn subsequently appeared with Springsteen and the E Street Band at their Orlando show in 2008; McGuinn came onstage to perform a short set that included "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Mr. Tambourine Man".
  • Sister Janet Mead covered the song on her 1999 album A Time to Sing.
  • Dave Perkins did a cover of the song, a duet with Steve Taylor, on his 1987 album The Innocence.
  • Larry Norman covered the song on his album Copper Wires (1998)
  • Michael Knott covered the song on the Lifesavers' 1995 A Kiss Of Life album.
  • In 1999, the Japanese rock group Plastic Tree recorded the song with new lyrics written by the vocalist Ryutaro Arimura; the cover, titled Template:Nihongo, was recorded for the single Tremolo.
  • Andy Sturmer, lead singer and songwriter of Jellyfish recorded a cover of the song for an unknown project.
  • Christian Alternative singer Nina Llopis (using only her first name) included a version of the song on her 1991 solo debut album No Shadow of Turning.
  • Aoife Ní Fhearraigh covered it on her 2003 album Turning of the Tide.
  • The trio Wilson Phillips covered the song on their 2004 album California.
  • Singer and songwriter Amy Grant closed each show of her 20th Anniversary "Lead Me On" tour in 2008 with a cover of the song.
  • Scottish indie-pop group Belle and Sebastian frequently cover the song during live performances.
  • Chris de Burgh covered the song on his album Footsteps a compilation of folk and pop classics from the 50´s, 60´s and 70´s released in mainland Europe in November 2008 and due to be released in Canada and the UK in March 2009.
  • Canadian rock band Red Umbrella covered the song on their album Living and Surviving, released in 2008.
  • East German band Puhdys slipped some of the lyrics into their 1974 song "Wenn ein Mensch lebt": Jegliches hat seine Zeit, Steine sammeln - Steine zerstreun, Bäume Pflanzen - Bäume abhaun`,leben und sterben und Frieden und Streit.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Turn! Turn! Turn!" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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