A number of authors, including Ian MacDonald, Richie Unterberger, and Bud Scoppa, have commented on the Byrds influence on the Beatles' late 1965 album Rubber Soul, most notably on the songs "Nowhere Man" and "If I Needed Someone", the latter of which utilizes a guitar riff similar to that in the Byrds' cover of "The Bells of Rhymney".
For their third Columbia single, the Byrds initially intended to release a cover of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (it was even premiered on the California radio station KRLA), but instead they decided to record "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)", a Pete Seeger composition with lyrics adapted almost entirely from the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song was brought to the group by McGuinn, who had previously arranged it in a chamber-folk style while working on folksinger Judy Collins' 1963 album, Judy Collins 3. The Byrds' cover of "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)" was issued on October 1, 1965 and became the band's second U.S. number 1 single, as well as the title track for their second album. The single represented the high-water mark of folk rock as a chart trend and has been described by music historian Richie Unterberger as "folk rock's highest possible grace note." In addition, music critic William Ruhlmann has written that the song's lyrical message of peace and tolerance struck a nerve with the American record buying public as the Vietnam War continued to escalate.