Pete Seeger is more of a song collector than a songwriter, and his occasional compositions usually are steeped in folk tradition even when they are not actually adapted from other sources. Sometime in the 1950s, Seeger took several verses from The Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes (chapter 3, verses 1-8), adapted them slightly, added the folky refrain "Turn, turn, turn," and set them to a simple melody he later self-deprecatingly compared to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." He sent the resulting song to his publisher and no doubt performed it now and then, but he didn't record it until July 1962, at the Bitter End nightclub in New York City -- the performance was released by Columbia Records that November as the LP The Bitter and the Sweet. Even before then, however, it had been released by the Limeliters on their album Folk Matinee under the title "To Everything There Is a Season (Turn! Turn! Turn!)." The Limeliters' backup guitarist was Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, who remembered the song a little over a year later when he was backing Judy Collins at the sessions for her third album, Judy Collins #3 (1964) and made a lovely arrangement of the song that altered the melody slightly at the words "turn, turn, turn," to make the tone more upbeat, and gave the song a lilting rhythm. A year after that, McGuinn was in the Byrds, the seminal folk-rock group who had topped the charts in the summer of 1965 with Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," but then stumbled with its follow-up, Dylan's "All I Really Want to Do," which barely made the Top 40 due to a competing version by Cher. As the group cast about for a third single, McGuinn suggested "Turn! Turn! Turn!," which had a lyrical message that couldn't have been more timely as the Vietnam War continued to heat up. (Seeger had added to the Biblical phrase "a time for peace" the words "I swear it's not too late.") McGuinn adapted his Judy Collins arrangement with a modified samba rhythm, played his guitar part on his 12-string Rickenbacker, and added the Byrds' harmonies; the result was magical. (Even Seeger, no great fan of rock & roll, liked it.) "Turn! Turn! Turn!" shot up the charts, becoming the Byrds' second number one and the biggest hit of their career by December 1965. Already a folk standard by then, the song was recorded by many other performers in the wake of the Byrds' version, but the hit recording tended to depress the proliferation of other covers over the long term (as well as obscure the earlier versions), so that, while "Turn! Turn! Turn!" remains a familiar song, it is closely linked with McGuinn's masterful arrangement and the Byrds' unforgettable recording.