From the first peals of Jim McGuinn's 12-string Rickenbacker, "Feel a Whole Lot Better" bears all the trademarks of the Byrds' trailblazing blend of folk and rock, but it also has the distinction of being the first tune written by a member of the band to make a dent in the marketplace. While the group's first two hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "All I Really Want to Do," had been penned by Bob Dylan, and their biggest single, "Turn! Turn! Turn!," was adapted from a passage in the book of Ecclesiastes by Pete Seeger, "Feel a Whole Lot Better" was written by Gene Clark, who would prove to be the strongest songwriter in the group during his short tenure with the band. The tune was originally released as the B-side to the single of "All I Really Want to Do," but eventually earned enough airplay to become a regional hit in its own right (though on the national charts, it narrowly missed the Billboard Top 100, peaking at 103). Not unlike some of the Dylan tunes the Byrds popularized, "Feel a Whole Lot Better" takes a sardonic view of romance, as Clark ponders breaking off his relationship with a woman who hasn't been entirely honest with him. But he also is willing to suggest that he's partly to blame as well, and Clarks's choice of words -- "I'll probably feel a whole lot better when you're gone" -- indicates that this break-up isn't a quick fix or an easy answer, giving a depth of subtext that was unusual for a pop group at the time. "Feel a Whole Lot Better" also boasts a graceful, rising melodic structure that certainly suits the Byrds' instrumental approach (particularly McGuinn's guitar), and Clark's lead vocal is solid and resonant, supporting the emotional intricacies of the lyrics without overplaying his hand (with the group's supporting harmonies sounding especially impressive here). Tom Petty was one artist who obviously learned more than a little from the Byrds' impressive early hits, and he offered up a faithful and enthusiastic cover of "Feel a Whole Lot Better" on his 1989 album Full Moon Fever.