Y is for the Yardbirds (ABC Wednesday)

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

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 Yardbirds 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

Music Throwback Saturday: Shape of Things

This would be the iteration of the Yardbirds with Jeff Beck, after Eric Clapton left, and before Jimmy Page joined.

max frostBlame Chuck Miller for getting The Shape of Things in my head. For his K-Chuck Radio: More Forgotten 70’s Hits, half of which I’d never heard, I wondered which version of the title song the Headboys played. As it turns out, it a different iteration altogether, and now that I heard it, it was vaguely familiar.

One of my few singles purchases in the 1960s Continue reading “Music Throwback Saturday: Shape of Things”

Eric Clapton is 70

Despite the fact that it directly led to Clapton’s departure from the band, I’ve always liked this song.

Clapton2010CoverEven before singer-bassist Jack Bruce died in October 2014, guitarist Eric Clapton had nixed the idea of a Cream reunion with those two plus drummer Ginger Baker. In fact, he suggested that retiring from the road would be his 70th birthday present to himself, though he might record an occasional album.

No reunion was just as well. Over nine years ago, I received The Royal Albert Hall album, and while it was quite good, it could never measure up to my expectations.

Cream represented my first awareness of “Slowhand,” whose guitar prowess Continue reading “Eric Clapton is 70”