Y is for the Yardbirds

I was surprised to discover that The Yardbirds apparently still exist as a band in 2017, albeit with only one founding member, drummer Jim McCarty.

As the Rolling Stone bio indicates, they “may not have been as famous as their British Invasion contemporaries…, but the pioneering blues-based combo introduced three of the most famous and influential guitarists of the rock era: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.”

The original band was Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica); Anthony “Top” Topham and Chris Dreja (guitars), Paul “Sam” Samwell-Smith (bass), and McCarthy. Clapton joined the band in October 1963, replacing Topham, who was only 16 and forced to quit by his parents. But “Slowhand” left the group in March 1965 when they got less bluesy and more pop-driven; eventually he helped form Cream.

Clapton was replaced by Beck, through October 1966. Page joined in June 1966 until the last throes of the Yardbirds in July 1968. He then formed the New Yardbirds in October 1968, which evolved into Led Zeppelin.

Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja reformed the group in 1992 with John Idan handling bass and lead vocals. Since then, the group has operated off and on with various band permutations, including, for a time, original guitarist Topham.

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, with members Keith Relf, Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

All references to chart action refers to the Billboard (US) Hot 100 pop charts.

Listen to:

Good Morning, School Girl (1964, Sonny Boy” Williamson cover) here or here
I Ain’t Got You (1965) here or here
I Wish You Would (1965, early single) here or here

For Your Love (#6 in 1965, written by Graham Gouldman; recording of this song drove Clapton out of the band) here or here
Heart Full Of Soul (#9 in 1965, Gouldman) here or here
I’m A Man (#17 in 1965) here
Train Kept A Rollin’ (1965) here or here
You’re a Better Man Than I (1965) here or here

Shape of Things (#11 in 1966, written by the band) here or here
Over Under Sideways Down (#13 in 1966, written by the band) here or here
Happening Ten Years Time Ago (#30 in 1966, written by the band) here or here

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

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