The Yardbirds were an English rock band active in the 60s, known for having in their members at various times three of the most influential British guitarists of the era (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page).
With Eric Clapton having left the band due to what he saw as a radical move away from their blues roots, Jeff Beck had been brought in as lead guitarist for The Yardbirds in 1965, and he appeared on three songs from the US-only album For Your Love. Clapton was right, the band were moving away from the blues, but this paved the way for a series of fantastic pop singles and commercial success. The first was "Heart Full Of Soul", released in mid 1965, and the first to feature Beck. With its eastern-sounding guitar riff, it was a dark, exotic number, and made it to #2 in the UK (#9 in the US). This was followed by the similarly themed "Evil Hearted You", which was another UK hit at #3. Both songs were written by Graham Gouldman. In the US, an album called Having A Rave Up was released, with the two singles and their b-sides alongside live tracks which originally appeared on Five Live Yardbirds.
A third single, "Shapes Of Things", came out in 1966 and was another massive success (#3). They then released the album Yardbirds, which yielded another hit, "Over Under Sideways Down" (#10).
Later in 1966, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith left the band to work as a producer. Rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja was to switch to bass, but to fill in until he became proficient, session musician Jimmy Page agreed to help. Once Dreja started playing bass, Page shared lead guitar duties with Beck. Two songs resulted from the Beck-Page partnership, the first being the single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago". A daring and experimental number, it wasn't a hit like its predecessors, but was a fantastic psychedelic rock song (with Beck and Page on lead guitars, Dreja on rhythm and guest bassist John Paul Jones). The band also appeared in the movie Blow-Up, performing a heavy rendition of Tiny Bradshaw's "Train Kept A-Rollin'" which they re-titled "Stroll On" (with both Beck and Page). An earlier version (with the original title) had previously appeared on Having A Rave Up.
This compilation covers this fruitful period of the band's career, chronicling their move from blues to pop and psychedelia. It features four of the five singles ("Over Under Sideways Down" can be found on Yardbirds instead), with all their b-sides, plus "Stroll On" and a few other tracks. These include "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and a cover of "I'm A Man" from Having A Rave Up, and a cover of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" which was a single in the Netherlands and Germany.
By 1967 Beck had been fired (he went on to form The Jeff Beck Group), and Page took over as the band's sole guitarist, with Dreja on bass.
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