During a podcast I conducted last week with Denny Somach — the author of “Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World” — emphasized the importance of The Yardbirds on the development of rock. It’s pretty clear and well put in the liner notes to The Yardbird’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1. The notes were written by Parke Puterbaugh and can be found at the home page of the band’s website:
By now, everyone knows the Yardbirds legend, if not their music; the band graduated three of the great Ph.D.s of rock guitar: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. They created hard rock out of standard twelve-bar blues, doubling the tempos and whacking the amps up to ten. On the British club scene, the Yardbirds, the Animals, and the Rolling Stones ruled the stages. The Yardbirds expanded the range of the electric guitar, experimenting with feedback, sustain, and fuzztone. They also coined and popularized the rave-up, a kind of free-for-all where you jam long and hard, not as soloists, but in a tandem, until you reach an epiphany about 10 or 20 or 30 minutes later, a shuddering climax of decibels and pure energy, and then—back into the song for one more boom-boom chorus. The Yardbirds were the bridge between the tributary white R&B of early-sixties London and the pastures of fuzz-toned psychedelia and power-chorded heavy metal plowed much later in the decade and throughout the seventies. Yes, the Yardbirds laid the groundwork for Rock Guitar As We Know It.
Mojo posted an interview with Jimmy Page yesterday:
THE DISSOLUTION OF UK BLUES boom demigods The Yardbirds in July 1968 rocked their most recent recruit, Jimmy Page, but spurred him on to greater heights with the group he was about to put together: The New Yardbirds, aka Led Zeppelin.
“They just didn’t want to be in The Yardbirds any more, which was hard to understand because I thought what we were doing was amazing. I told them I’d do whatever they wanted. They loved that song Happy Together, by The Turtles, and told me that was the direction they wanted to go in, and my jaw dropped.” (Continue Reading…)
Here is more from Wikipedia:
The Yardbirds are an English rock band that had a string of hits in the mid-1960s, including “For Your Love“, “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Heart Full of Soul“. The group is notable for having started the careers of three of rock’s most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton,Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, all of whom were in the top five of Rolling Stone’s 100 Top Guitarists list (Clapton at No. 2, Page at No. 3 and Beck at No. 5). 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. Pat Pemberton, writing for Spinner, holds that the Yardbirds were “the most impressive guitar band in rock music”. After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, their lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin. v (Continue Reading…)