The Yardbirds Biography

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The Yardbirds-photo
The Yardbirds were one of the important bands in the 1960s London blues / pop / rock scene.

Early repertoire consisted of blues covers by the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

Numerous personnel changes mean there isn't a definitive Yardbirds line-up. However, Keith Relf (vocals), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar, later bass), Jim McCarty (drums) and Paul Samwell-Smith (bass, until mid-66) formed the stable part of the band, initially with Top Topham on lead guitar.

Their first album, "Five Live Yardbirds" was recorded with Eric Clapton on lead guitar at London's Marquee Club.

Clapton left, not pleased with the pop direction of the band, just before the single "For Your Love" brought the Yardbirds fame both throughout the UK and internationally.

The second LP, known today as "Roger the Engineer" but originally as "The Yardbirds", featured Jeff Beck, the lead guitarist who was a member during their most successful period.

"Little Games", the third album, was not released in the United Kingdom, as popularity declined.

And the final LP was barely released at all, being a live set which pointed the way to Led Zeppelin, formed by Beck's replacement on lead, Jimmy Page. This album is currently only available on bootlegs.
A succession of not only lead guitarists, but also managers and producers, mean that their LP and CD discography is rather disjointed.
Since splitting in 1968, Topham, Clapton, Beck, Page, Relf and McCarty have enjoyed varying levels of recording success. Relf died in 1976 after being electrocuted at home. Samwell-Smith became a music industry producer (after some production experience with The Yardbirds), and Dreja a photographer.

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Beat Club '66, Bielefeld, Germany, November 6th 2010 | Reviewer: Dave Wakelam | 11/9/10

The last time I saw the band live was in Singapore in 1967, when they toured with The Walker Brothers. They were just venturing into psychedelia, and I was knocked out. Imagine my delight, when as an elderly civil servant I get the chance to see them again. Once again, I was knocked out as the band went down a storm with a mixed age group German audience. I know the band has had eminent musicians in its line up in the past, but the young guys certainly held their own and the renditions of the wide repertoire were stunning. Even my wife was impressed! If you haven't seen the band live before - do it!



I'm a Man | Reviewer: Timothy | 3/31/05

That song is absolutely brilliant the guitar riff is outsdtanding to say the least.That song really opened up the way songs were meant to be written.Sweet,Short,accurate and Straight to the point it's up there with other classics like Days by The Kinks and many more........



Well ahead of their time | Reviewer: MacGillivray | 1/4/05

The Yardbirds were the band for Blues/ Rock in the early sixties. Best with Beck on Guitar, but the call from record producers to play "mop tops" was always pressing.
I'm a Man (Live) and Happenings Ten Years Time Ago are two of my favourites.




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