Harvey Gerst had a peripheral role in the Byrds' career as a co-writer of two of their early songs. In 1964 the band, still known as the Jet Set, recorded a song he wrote with Jim (later Roger) McGuinn and Gene Clark, "Please Let Me Love You," and one he wrote with McGuinn only, "Don't Be Long." These early but likable folk-rock tunes were issued as a flop single by Elektra, which changed their name to the Beefeaters for the purposes of that 45 only. Gerst probably generated some unexpected royalties, however, when the band revived "Don't Be Long," retitled it "It Won't Be Wrong," gave it a more electric and forceful folk-rock treatment, and put it on the second Byrds album, Turn! Turn! Turn! It was also a small hit single in early 1966.
Gerst was a friend of McGuinn's who knew him from the Troubadour, the club at which the future Byrds met each other and crystallized their vision. He later joined the 13-piece folk group the Men, and had an ancillary role in the career of the eclectic late-sixties Southern Californian rock group Sweetwater, with whom he was involved as guitarist and road manager, although he wasn't an official member.