The Yardbirds - Songs


The Yardbirds are a highly acclaimed and pioneering veteran English rock band that became famous during the mid 1960s. With a distinctive sound that came from such guitar effects as fuzz-tone, feedback, and reverb as well as unique song arrangements that made use of invigorating rhythm changes and various classical and non-Western musical elements, The Yardbirds began as a blues rock band before branching out into psychedelic pop/rock, early hard rock, and other styles that anticipated punk, heavy metal, and progressive rock. A top British invasion act, The Yardbirds best known songs on both sides of the Atlantic include such era-defining classics as the baroque pop-infused "For Your Love" (1965), the bluesy "Heart Full Of Soul" (1965), the exotic and quirky "Over Under Sideways Down" (1966), and the epic anti-war anthem, "Shapes Of Things" (1966).

Formed in 1963 in London, the original lineup consisted of Anthony "Top" Topham (lead guitar), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar, bass), Paul Samwell-Smith (bass), Jim McCarty (drums), and lead singer Keith Relf (March 22, 1943 - May 12, 1976) who also served as the band's harmonica player. The Yardbirds burst onto the British musical scene in late 1963 when they replaced The Rolling Stones as the house band at the Crawdaddy Club, a then-leading music venue in nearby Richmond. The following year, they signed with Columbia and released their debut album, "Five Live Yardbirds" (1964), which includes their rendition of the blues standard, "Good Morning, School Girl," a minor hit on the U.K. charts and the band's first-ever charting song.

Over The Yardbirds' relatively short early history, there were many personnel changes, and three of rock music's greatest guitarists were a part of the lineup at various times. Topham was replaced in October 1963 by Eric Clapton who remained with the band through early 1965, and Jeff Beck then took over as lead guitarist. Jimmy Page joined as a bassist in mid 1966, replacing Samwell-Smith. Dreja then switched to bass and Page joined Beck on guitar. After Beck left in late 1966, The Yardbirds continued on as a foursome until mid 1968 upon the departure of Relf and McCarty. By late 1968, Page had formed The New Yardbirds with Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, later renamed Led Zeppelin.

The Yardbirds made their U.S. debut in 1965 with the Graham Gouldman-penned "For Your Love," a Top 10 hit followed later that year by another Gouldman-penned song that made the Top 10, "Heart Full Of Soul" (1965), and a remake of Bo Diddley's "I'm A Man" (1965). Their fame continued to take off in 1966 with the groundbreaking "Shapes Of Things," which became one of the band's greatest hits. Co-written by Yardbirds bandmembers Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, and Paul Samwell-Smith, "Shapes Of Things" is widely considered to be among rock's first psychedelic songs to become a top hit (along with The Byrds' "Eight Miles High"). This smash was followed by other bandmember-penned psychedelic pop/rock hits that include "Over Under Sideways Down" (1966) and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (1966). After several minor hits that include a cover of the Harry Nilsson-penned "Ten Little Indians" (1967), The Yardbirds' final charting song in the U.S. came in 1968 with "Goodnight Sweet Josephine."

After their split in 1968, The Yardbirds reformed many years later in 1992 as a quartet, with Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja as the only original members. The band has continued to record and perform to the present day, with many personnel changes over the years, and McCarty remains as the sole original member. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and they are included in Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" and VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock."



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The Yardbirds

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