Personalities | The Yardbirds | Sixties | Rock
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1963–68, 1992–present)
The nurtured prowess of successive lead guitarists Eric Clapton (until 1965), Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page helped make The Yardbirds one of the most innovative rock groups of the 1960s. More discreetly influential, however, were more permanent members: Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar), Paul Samwell-Smith (bass) and Jim McCarty (drums), especially after 1965’s ‘For Your Love’ came within an ace of topping both the British and US charts, and began two years of hits that combined musical adventure and instant familiarity. In 1966, Samwell-Smith left, and Page agreed to play bass until Dreja was able to take over. Beck and Page then functioned as joint lead guitarists until the former’s departure in the middle of a harrowing US tour. With an increased stake in The Yardbirds’ fortunes, Page suggested the hiring of mainstream pop producer Mickie Most for the releases that preceded a final performance until McCarty and Dreja reformed the group in 1992.
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