The Yardbirds Biography
Although the British rock & roll scene of the 1960s introduced bands that were more popular and longer-lived than the Yardbirds, only a few can equal their lasting influence. The Yardbirds, who existed only from 1963 to 1968, were pivotal in the evolution of rock & roll from its foundations in rhythm and blues to its expansion into psychedelia and heavy metal. Three of rock’s most talented guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, were at the heart of the band’s distinct sound.
The Yardbirds emerged from the same London rhythm and blues club environment that gave birth to the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s. Keith Relf on vocals, Chris Dreja on rhythm guitar, Jim McCarty on drums, Paul Samwell-Smith on bass, and Anthony “Top” Topham on lead guitar comprised the initial lineup. By the end of 1963, Eric Clapton had replaced Topham (who had returned to school), and the Yardbirds were gaining a loyal following both in London and on the southern Home Counties club circuit.
Five Live Yardbirds, the band’s first album released in England in 1964, featuring performances at the Marquee Club. Despite the fact that the Yardbirds’ legendary live performances did not translate into economic success for the record, the Yardbirds’ reputation grew. They toured Europe with legendary blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson, whose songs they frequently covered. An album from that trip was issued on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965, but Williamson received top billing, while the Yardbirds remained hitless.
The fivesome finally made it to the charts later that year with the powerful single “For Your Love,” but the song caused internal conflict within the band. “For Your Love,” written specifically for the Yardbirds by Graham Gouldman, subsequently of 10cc, signified a break from the group’s focus on blues. “For Your Love” peaked at number three on the UK singles chart and number six in the US.
Their second US single, with the Yardbirds, was released in late 1965 and peaked at number 53. Four of the tracks on Rave Up were recorded before to Clapton’s departure, with Beck on lead guitar on the others. The album, which was firmly anchored in blues-based rock, generated another hit single written by Gouldman, “Heart Full of Soul,” which reached Number Two in the United Kingdom and Number Nine in the United States.
The Yardbirds had established themselves as an outstanding rock band by this point, but discord caused another change; in June 1966, Samwell-Smith quit to devote his whole focus to record production.
While the Yardbirds continued to play to sold-out crowds, 1967 saw no hit singles in the United States. Little Games, their album that year, was largely material that the band reportedly never meant to release (in fact, they successfully stopped the publication of Little Games in the United Kingdom); it was greeted negatively by both critics and the general public. However, that same year saw the release of The Yardbirds’ Greatest Hits, the band’s first and only Top 40 album.
The Yardbirds attempted to re-enter the US singles chart in 1968, but were unsuccessful. By this point, several members of the band had decided to split up. After two solo singles, Beck quit and created the Jeff Beck Group with vocalist Rod Stewart and guitarist Ron Wood. Relf and McCarty performed as a folk duo called Together before joining Renaissance, which maintained some of the Yardbirds’ experimenting with diverse musical styles. Relf died in 1976 as a result of an electric shock he received while playing guitar at home.
And, while the Yardbirds did not gain mass appeal in the United States during the British Invasion, their admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 attests to the continuing impact that their composition and musicianship has had on the nature of rock.
The Yardbirds Discography
|The Yardbirds Greatest Hits|
|Over Under Sideways Down|
|Yardbirds a.k.a. Roger the Engineer|
|Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds|
|Heart Full of Soul|
|For Your Love|
|Five Live Yardbirds|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was The Yardbirds First Album?
The Yardbirds’ first album was Five Live Yardbirds, released in 1964. The album includes live versions of popular songs like “For Your Love” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, as well as a cover of the Willie Dixon classic “I Ain’t Got You”.
Who Was The Original Lead Singer Of The Yardbirds?
Jeff Beck. He was the original lead singer of the Yardbirds, but he left the band in 1968. The Yardbirds were a British rock band that was formed in 1963. They are best known for their hits “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.
How Many Albums Did The Yardbirds Make?
The Yardbirds released five studio albums during their initial run from 1963 to 1968. The band’s first album, Five Live Yardbirds, was recorded live and released in 1964.
What Is The Yardbirds’S Best Song?
The Yardbirds’s most popular songs include “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” and “Shapes of Things.
Who Are The Original Members Of The Yardbirds?
The Yardbirds are a British rock band that had a string of hits in the 1960s, including “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul” and “Over Under Sideways Down”. The band is notable for featuring several influential guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.