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The Yardbirds Article in
"Rolling Stone's Encyclopedia of Rock"

Copyright Information

Formed 1963, London, England...(They are all from England)
The original group:
Keith Relf (b. Mar 22 1943 London; d. May 14 1967 England) voc. and harmonica
Chris Dreja (b. Nov 11 1946 London) guitar
Jim McCarty (b. July 25 1943 Liverpool) drums
Paul Samwell-Smith (b. May 8 1943 England) bass
Anthony "Top" Topham (b. England) guitar
Outline of the group's history:
1963: -Topham, +Eric Clapton (b. Mar 30 1945 Ripley) lead guitar
1965: For Your Love (Epic)
(-Clapton, +Jeff Beck (b. June 24 1944 Surrey) guitar
Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds
1966: Over Under Sideways Down
The Yardbirds with Sonny Boy Williamson (Mercury)

-Samwell Smith, +Jimmy Page (b. Jan 9 1944 Middlesex)
(Page): bass, later: guitar, Dreja switches to bass
1967: Little Games (Epic)
The Yardbird's Greatest Hits
1968: Live Yardbirds!
Group broke up
1970: The Yardbirds/Featuring Performances by
Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page

1971: Live Yarbirds
1986: Greatest Hits vol. 1 (1964-1966) (Rhino)
1988: Five Live Yardbirds (1964 UK; reissued on Rhino)
1991: Vol. 1: Smokestack Lightning (Sony)
Vol. 2: Blues, Backtracks and Shapes of Things
1992: Little Games, Sessions and More (EMI)

The Actual Article

The Yardbirds virtually wrote the book on guitar-oriented blues-based rock. They were a crucial link between mid-60s British R&B and late-60s psychedelia, setting the groundwork for heavy metal. This seminal band spawned three major guitar heroes -- Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck -- who, with the Yardbirds, pioneered almost every technical guitar innovation of the era, including feedback and fuzz tone.
The Yarbirds formed in June 1963 with Keith Reif, Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, Jim McCartny, and guitarist, Anthony "Top" Topham, who was replaced in October by Eric Clapton. Originally called the Most Blueswailing Yarbirds, the fivesome initially played all strict blues covers of Chess/Checker/Vee-Jay material. They began to attract a large cult audience, especially when they took over the Rolling Stone's residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. They soon toured Europe with American bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson; a joint LP under both of their names was issued in 1966. (It was rereleased in 1975).
The band's first "solo" album in America was For Your Love in Aug. 1965, yeilding the hit title track written by Graham Gouldman, later of 10cc. (In the U.K., their first LP was titled Five Live Yardbirds and was out in 1964; Rhino reissued it stateside in 1988. The band's British records had different lineups of songs, album titles, and release dates than the U.S. versions). The Yardbirds' second U.S. LP, Having a Rave Up, featured Clapton on only four cuts. He quit in 1965 because he objected to the band's increased {{Sell Out}} pop-commercial direction, namely "For Your Love." In order to stick with the purist blues, he joined John Mayall's band. His replacement was Jeff Beck, and the band soon enjoyed two more hits by Gouldman--"Heart Full of Soul," with it's prepsychedelic guitar fuzz licks, and "Evil Hearted You," which charted in the U.K. only. In 1966 the band had two more hits--"Shapes of Things" and "Over Under Sideways Down"--but then Samwell-Smith, who had coproduced the band's records, bowed out to become a producer full-time. He has since produced artists including Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, and Beverly Craven.
His replacement on bass was Jimmy Page, who moved to lead guitar as soon as lead guitarist Dreja learned bass. For a brief time beginning in the summer of 1966, Page and Beck were co-lead guitarists. (Page was earlier asked to be Claton's replacement but declined, recommending Beck instead). This lineup lasted only until November. They can be seen in the rock-club sequence in Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blow Up, wherein they perform "Stroll On" (actually a reworking of the Johnny Burnette Trio's "Train Kept A-Rollin") [I have this mp3, click "Stroll On."] Beck had been missing many shows because of illness, and at the end of the year he suffered a full breakdown and left.
The band foundered from there. As a quartet they put out one LP in 1967 called Little Games, produced by Mickie Most, but it was filled with old demos and substandard leftover tracks. It came out only in the US. More singles were released, but they didn't go far, and in July 1968 the band finally broke up. Relf and MacCarty formed a fok duo called Together, followed by the classical rock Renaissance, and later the heavy Armageddon, none of which was very successful. Relf died of an electric shock at home on May 14, 1976. Dreja became a photographer and shot the album-sleeve photos for the first album by Led Zeppelin, the band Jimmy Page formed first as the New Yarbirds to meet this group's remaining contractual obligations. Several repackagings of yardbirds tracks were released through the Eighties and Ninneties. In 1971 the Live Yardbirds LP (recorded at New York's Anderson Theater on March 30, 1968) was issued, without the band's consent, and they quickly demanded its removal from the market. It has since then become a highly valuable, oft-bootlegged collector's item.
In 1963, McCartny, Dreja, and Samwell-Smith reunited to play the Marquee, and soon formed Box of Frogs with lead vocalist John Fiddler. That band released two albums, one of which, Box of Frogs, was available domestically. IN 1989 McCartny joined several other British Sixties pop-group members in the British Invasion All-Stars. Most recently he has also been successful recording New Age music as a part of Stairway.

The Yardbirds have been sighted!
1998. The Long Beach Blues Festival, the three remaining band members got back together with some singer or something. I've got an RealAudio file of this, check it out!
Chris Dreja at the LongBeach Blues Festival '98

Wanna know more about Eric Clapton?
Then Click Here

Wanna see some other Yardbirds pages?
Then Click Here!

The --Official-- Yardbirds site