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Yardbirds
United Kingdom

Years: 1963 - 1968; 1982 - 1983; 1992 – present
Styles: Blues Rock, Garage Rock, Mod Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Rhythm and Blues

Founder

Keith Relf - Acoustic guitar , Harmonica, Percussion, Tambourine, Vocals (in band: 1963 - 1968)
Paul Samwell-Smith - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1963 – 1966; 1983)
Chris Dreja - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Maracas, Percussion, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1963 – 1968; 1982 – 1983; 1992 – 2013)
Jim McCarty - Backing vocals, Drums, Percussion, Triangle (in band: 1963 – 1968; 1982 – 1983; 1992 – present)
Anthony "Top" Topham - Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1963; 2013 - 2015)

Members

Denny Ball - Bass Guitar
Eric Clapton - Lead guitar, Vocals (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Jeff Beck - Lead guitar, Violin, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1966)
Jimmy Page - Bass Guitar, Lead guitar (in band: 1965 - 1968)
Joe Allanson - Bass Guitar (in band: 1982)
John Knightsbridge - Backing vocals, Lead guitar (in band: 1982 - 1983)
Mark Feltham - Harmonica, Lead vocal (in band: 1982 - 1983)
Rod Demick - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Harmonica (in band: 1992 - 1993)
John Idan - Bass Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1992 - present)
Ray Majors - Backing vocals, Lead guitar (in band: 1994 - 1995)
Laurie Garman - Harmonica (in band: 1994 - 1996)
Gypie Mayo - Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1996 - 2005)
Alan Glen - Harmonica, Percussion (in band: 1996 – 2003; 2008 – 2009)
Billy Boy Miskimmin - Harmonica, Percussion (in band: 2003 - 2008)
Jerry Donahue - Lead guitar (in band: 2004 - 2005)
Ben King - Backing vocals, Lead guitar (in band: 2005 - 2015)
David Smale - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 2009 - 2010)
Andy Mitchell - Acoustic guitar , Harmonica, Lead vocal (in band: 2009 - 2015)
Earl Slick - Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 2015 - present)
Myke Scavone - Backing vocals, Harmonica, Lead guitar, Percussion (in band: 2015 - present)
Kenny Aaronson - Bass Guitar (in band: 2015 - present)

Biography

RockBoar.com Picture     The Yardbirds formed in June 1963, with Keith Relf on vocals and harmonica, Chris Dreja on guitar, Jim McCarty on drums, Paul Samwell-Smith on bass and Anthony “Top” Topham on guitar. That October, Topham was replaced by Eric Clapton. The group was originally called the Most Blueswailing Yardbirds, and their repertoire consisted entirely of blues cover songs. Their following increased when they replaced the Rolling Stones as the house band at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, Surrey, England.[1]

   Crawdaddy Club impresario Giorgio Gomelsky became the Yardbirds' manager and first record producer. Under Gomelsky's guidance the Yardbirds signed to EMI's Columbia label in February 1964. Their first album was the "live", "Five Live Yardbirds", recorded at the legendary Marquee Club in London. Blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II invited the group to tour Britain and Germany with him, a union that later engendered another live album.[2]

     The Clapton line-up cut two singles, "I Wish You Would" and "Good Morning, School Girl", before the band scored its first major hit with the next, "For Your Love", a Graham Gouldman composition. It sold over one million copies and went Gold. But Clapton was a blues purist whose vision extended far beyond three-minute singles. Frustrated by the commercial approach, he abruptly left the group on March 25, 1965, the day that "For Your Love" was released to the public.[2]

      The group’s first solo album, “For Your Love”, was released in the U.S. in August 1965. The title track reached Number Six on the U.S. charts.

     Back to 1965, this album seemed like a real mess, which was understandable, because “For Your Love” wasn’t a “real” album, in the sense that the Yardbirds ever assembled an LP of that name or content. Rather, it was the response of their American label, Epic Records, to the band’s achieving a number six single with the title track, with manager Giorgio Gomelsky selected the cuts. The quasi-progressive “For Your Love” dominated by guest artist Brian Auger’s harpsichord, is juxtaposed with hard-rocking blues-based numbers, almost all of which featured departed lead guitarist Eric Clapton with current lead guitarist Jeff Beck on just three tracks.[3

     Beck's explorations of fuzz tone, feedback and distortion fit well into the increasingly raw style of British beat music, and the Yardbirds began to experiment with eclectic arrangements reminiscent of Gregorian chants and various European and Asian styles ("Still I'm Sad", "Turn into Earth", "Hot House of Omagarashid", "Farewell", "Ever Since the World Began"). Beck was voted No. 1 lead guitarist of 1966 in the British music magazine “Beat Instrumental”.[2]

      The band embarked on their first U.S. tour in late August 1965. A pair of albums were put together for the U.S. market; “For Your Love” (which included an early take of "My Girl Sloopy"), and “Having a Rave Up”, half of which came from “Five Live Yardbirds”. [2]

      In it’s original U.S. vinyl release, this album, comprised of several singles and B-sides plus excerpts off of “Five Live Youngbirds”, was one of the best LPs of entire British invasion, ranked on a par with the greatest mid-1960s  work of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; it was also just a stop away from being a best-of the Yardbirds as well. The contents have reappeared numerous times in many different configurations, but no collection has ever outdone sheer compactness and high quality of “Having a Rave Up”. On major problem since the 1960s, as with all of the Yarbirds material owned by Charly Records, has been the sound-for years, Charly only had substandard master materials to offer. That situation improved significantly in the mid-to late 1990s, and Repertoire RecorRockBoar.com Pictureds is working from sources that are; the cleanest and most impressive   to have surfaced on these tracks during the CD era; one suspects that there might still be room for improvement, but not nearly as much as was previously the case-a quick comparison of tracks between this and the content of “Train Kept A-Rollin’ reveals somewhat superior sound here.[3]

      In the summer of 1966, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith quit the band to focus on record production. He went on to produce such artists as Carly Simon, Cat Stevens and Jethro Tull. His replacement was Jimmy Page. After Page’s arrival, rhythm guitarist Dreja switched to bass, and Page and Beck both played lead guitar. This lineup can be seen in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “Blow Up”. The Yardbirds performed “Stroll On,” a re-working of “Train Kept a-Rollin’”.[1]

     As a Yardbird, Beck had been missing many shows due to health problems, and he wound up leaving the band in November 1966. The Yardbirds carried on as a quartet, and in 1967 they released another LP, “Little Games”. Additional singles were released, but they didn’t do well. Finally, on July 7, 1968, the group played its final show at the Luton College of Technology in Bedfordshire, England. After that, the Yardbirds disbanded. Relf and McCarty formed a folk duo called Together, which was followed by Renaissance and, later, Armageddon.[1]

      The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Nearly all the original surviving musicians who had been part of the group's heyday, including Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, appeared at the ceremony (original lead guitarist Top Topham was not included). Eric Clapton, whose Hall of Fame induction was the first of three, was unable to attend because of his obligations while recording and working on a show for the MTV Unplugged series. Accepting the induction on behalf of the late Keith Relf were his wife April and son Danny.[2]


1. Source: https://rockhall.com/inductees/the-yardbirds/bio/
2. This biography is from Wikipedia, the free collaborative encyclopedia. Used under licence and subject to disclaimers.
3. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 1253-1254 - Bruce Eder


    Albums

    For Your Love (Jun 13, 1965)
    Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds (Nov 15, 1965)
    Yardbirds (Jul 15, 1966)
    Little Games (Jul 10, 1967)
    Birdland (Apr 22, 2003)

    Singles & EPs

    I Wish You Would (May 1, 1964)
    Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Oct 30, 1964)
    For Your Love (Mar 5, 1965)
    Heart Full Of Soul (Jun 4, 1965)
    Five Yardbirds (Aug 6, 1965)
    Evil Hearted You (Oct 1, 1965)
    I'm A Man (Nov, 1965)
    Shapes Of Things (Feb 25, 1966)
    Over Under Sideways Down (May, 1966)
    Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Oct 7, 1966)
    Happenings Ten Years Time Ago / The Nazz Are Blue (Nov, 1966)
    Little Games / Puzzles (Apr, 1967)
    Ha Ha Said The Clown (Jul, 1967)
    Ten Little Indians (Oct, 1967)
    Goodnight Sweet Josephine (Mar, 1968)

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