The Yardbirds – Greatest Hits


Artist: The Yardbirds
Title: Greatest Hits
Released: 1966
Label: Epic
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Keith Relf – lead vocals, harmonica, guitar,Chris Dreja – rhythm guitar, bass, percussion, Paul Samwell-Smith – bass, vocals, Eric Clapton – lead guitar, vocals,
Jeff Beck – lead guitar, vocals, Jimmy Page – lead guitar, bass, Anthony “Top” Topham – lead and rhythm guitars
Producer: Simon Napier-Bell

From Wikipedia:The Yardbirds are an English rock band formed in London in 1963 that had a string of hits during the mid-1960s, including “For Your Love”, “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Heart Full of Soul”. The group launched the careers of guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, A blues-based band that broadened its range into pop and rock, the Yardbirds had a hand in many electric guitar innovations of the mid-1960s, such as feedback, “fuzztone” distortion and improved amplification. After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin, while vocalist/harmonica player Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty formed the symphonic rock group Renaissance.
The bulk of the band’s most successful self-written songs came from Relf, McCarty and bassist and producer Paul Samwell-Smith, who, with rhythm guitarist and bassist Chris Dreja, constituted the core of the group.

The Eric Clapton era:
Original lead guitarist Topham left and was replaced by Eric Clapton in October 1963.The Clapton line-up cut two singles, “I Wish You Would” and “Good Morning, School Girl”, before the band scored its first major hit with the next, “For Your Love”, a Graham Gouldman composition. It sold over one million copies and went Gold. But Clapton was a blues purist whose vision extended far beyond three-minute singles.

The Jeff Beck Era:
Frustrated by the commercial approach, he abruptly left the group on March 25, 1965, the day that “For Your Love” was released to the public. Soon Clapton joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, but not before he recommended Jimmy Page, a prominent young studio session guitarist, as his replacement. Unwilling to give up his lucrative gig and worried about his health, Page in turn recommended his friend Jeff Beck. Beck played his first gig with the Yardbirds only two days after Clapton’s departure.

Beck’s explorations of fuzz tone, feedback and distortion fit well into the increasingly raw style of British beat music, and the Yardbirds began to experiment with eclectic arrangements reminiscent of Gregorian chants and various European and Asian styles The Beck-era group produced a number of memorable recordings including the hit singles “Heart Full of Soul”, “Evil Hearted You”, a cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” (U.S. only), “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down”, and the Yardbirds album (known popularly as Roger the Engineer and first issued in the U.S. in an abridged version called Over Under Sideways Down).

The Jimmy Page era:
In June 1966, shortly after the sessions that produced Yardbirds, Samwell-Smith decided to leave the group and work as a record producer. Jimmy Page agreed to play bass until rhythm guitarist Dreja could rehearse on it. A Beck–Page lead guitar tandem, however, is heard on the counterculture-era psychedelic rock highlight “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” (with future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones instead of Dreja). It was backed in the U.K. with “Psycho Daisies”, with Beck on lead and Page on bass; the U.S. B-side, “The Nazz Are Blue”, features a rare lead vocal by Beck.

The Beck–Page era Yardbirds also recorded “Stroll On”, a reworking of “Train Kept A-Rollin'” recorded for the Michelangelo Antonioni film Blowup, though Relf changed the lyrics and title to avoid seeking permission from the copyright holder. “Stroll On” features a twin lead-guitar break by Beck and Page.The Beck–Page lineup recorded little else in the studio and no live recordings of the dual-lead guitar lineup have surfaced (save a scratchy cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”). The Beck–Page Yardbirds recorded a commercial for a milkshake product “Great Shakes” using the opening riff of “Over Under Sideways Down.”
There was also one recording made by Beck and Page with John Paul Jones on bass, Keith Moon on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano—”Beck’s Bolero”, a piece inspired by Ravel’s “Bolero”, credited to Page (Beck also claims to have written the song).
After a tour stop in Texas in late October 1966 Beck was sacked both for being a consistent no-show and difficulties caused by his perfectionism and explosive temper. The band continued as a quartet thereafter, with Page as sole lead guitarist; he subsequently introduced playing the instrument with a cello bow (suggested to him by session musician David McCallum, Sr.) and the use of a wah-wah pedal in addition to his fuzzbox.

For more info, look here:
Here’s the official website too:

Side One:
Shapes Of Things – This features Jeff Beck on guitar.
Still I’m Sad – Not my favorite, but the vocals are interesting. This also features Jeff Beck
New York City Blues – Obviously a blues tune, but I’m not sure if it was Beck or Clapton featured on this. The vocals don’t really have that blues sound, but the guitar work makes up for that and carries the song. This was also recorded a little hot so there is some distortion from that.
For Your Love – This one features Clapton. A sixties beatnik style carries the verses while a time change and harmonies occur on the chorus.
Over, Under, Sideways, Down – This features Jeff Beck and is a favorite Yardbirds song of mine.

Side Two:
I’m A Man – Written by Ellis McDaniel, this has a blues feel to it (and has been covered by a number of artists). The recording on this was also done a little hot.
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago – This one features Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and John Paul Jones. It has a psycjedelic sound to it with innovative guitar work, but it was also recorded a bit hot.
Heart Full Of Soul – This  also featured Jeff Beck and was a hit. I like the acoustic guitar work in this.
Smokestack Lightning – This is a live track and the longest on this LP. Kind of a blues jam number and not a bad recording for when it was made.
I’m Not Talking- The drums are forward in this tune and it too was recorded a bit hot.

The sound quality of this LP is OK considering when these songs were made. The sound on the record overall is a little bit harsh, but not bad, it’s ok, plenty of low-end too.

Over Under Sideways Down:

Sound: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars