My Blog List

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


We have arrived at the letter "Y" in the "A" to "Z" Blog Challenge. This exercise in writing commitment has been kind of fun for me. I have learned some things along the way as I hope you have.

I present for your consideration today THE YARDBIRDS. The Yardbirds were formed in southwest London in May 1963. From the outset the band has experienced frequent personnel changes. 
The original members consisted of Keith Relf, Vocals/Harmonica, Paul Samwell Smith, Bass Guitar/Backing vocals, Chris Dreja, Rhythm Guitar/Bass Guitar, Jim McCarty, Drums/Vocal, and Tom Topham, Lead Guitar. Both Keith and Paul were members of the Metropolitan Blues Quartet before joining the remaining founding members of the Yardbirds. The band took it's name from the slang name for hobo's who would hang around railroad yards and a reference to jazz saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. 
The yardbirds is credited with beginning the careers of three of Rock and Roll's greatest and most respected guitar players, Jimmie Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. In Rolling Stones list of the top 100 guitarists Clapton is ranked 2nd, Page is ranked 3rd and Beck is ranked 5th.
In October 1963 Topham left the band and was replaced by Eric Clapton. It was after Clapton joined the band when the band broke through and signed with EMI Columbia. They recorded three singles that received air play, the most successful was "For Your Love" that sold over a million copies, going gold.
Clapton became frustrated with the "three minute" song format. He was interested in more than commercial success and abruptly left the band in March 1965. He recommended a session guitarist, Jimmy Page, to replace him. Jimmy was concerned about his health and liked the regular paycheck of his session gig so he turned down the offer but recommended Jeff Beck who did agree to replace Clapton. Beck played his first gig with the Yardbirds two days after Clapton left.
In June 1966 Samwell Smith left the group to become a record producer. Jimmy Page joined the band as it's bass guitar player until Dreja became proficient enough to take over from Page. Page and Beck played tandem lead guitar. Unfortunately there are no known recordings of the Beck-Page tandem lead guitars in action.
In October 1966 Beck was fired from the band for not showing up for gigs, his hot temper and his perfectionism. The band continued on as a quartet with Page handling the lead guitar duties alone.
The band continued until July 1968 when the band broke up. The news release said that Page wanted to pursue solo recording work. It wasn't too long after this break up that Page joined up with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones and formed Led Zeppelin. You may have heard of them!
The Yardbirds, particularly Beck and Page, are credited with introducing guitar effects like feedback fuzztone effects, wah-wah pedals, and using a cello bow across the strings of a guitar. These innovations are the beginning of the explosion of guitar effects that have occurred since.
Page, Clapton and Beck continue to entertain audiences with their guitar mastery to this day.  The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.   

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reminding me of The Yardbirds!! So many classic bands have gone off my radar. You have brought them back!