The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds were an early British rock band, noted for spawning the careers of several of rock music's most famous guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

Formed originally as the Metropolitan Blues Quartet in 1962–63 in London, the Yardbirds first achieved notice on the burgeoning British blues scene (or "rhythm and blues," as the British music press alluded to it) when they took over as the house band at the Crawdaddy Club in London—succeeding the Rolling Stones. With a repertoire drawn more from the Delta-soaked Chicago blues titans Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Elmore James than the more commercially-minded Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed influences of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds began to build a following of their own in London before very long. Their inexperience and their less-than-stellar musicianship was obvious but their commitment was just as powerful, as they hammered away at versions of such blues classics as "Smokestack Lightning," "Got Love If You Want It," "Here 'Tis," "Baby What's Wrong," "Good Morning Little School Girl," "Boom Boom," "I Wish You Would," "Done Somebody Wrong," and "Rollin' and Tumblin'."

They made their first significant lineup addition when singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, and drummer Jim McCarty, replaced original lead guitarist Anthony (Top) Topham with a very boyish-looking art student named Eric Clapton in late 1963. Clapton already knew what he was doing with his instrument; his solo turns, while far enough from the gripping little gems for which he became famous enough soon enough, already set him apart from most of his peers among the British blues clubbers. Between his sleek guitar playing and Keith Relf's improving harmonica style, the group could at least boast two attractive players that made listeners overlook their still-incomplete rhythmic attack. And, of critical importance, Crawdaddy Club impresario Giorgio Gomelsky—who had all but discovered the Rolling Stones but thought it beyond his range to become their manager—learned enough from his previous miss to become the Yardbirds' manager and, as it turned out, first producer.

Under Gomelsky's guidance, the Yardbirds got themselves signed to EMI's Columbia label in early 1964; they set a precedent of a sort when their first album turned out to be a live album, Five Live Yardbirds, recorded at the legendary Marquee Club in London. The group was well enough reputed that none other than blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson himself invited the group to tour England and Germany with him, a union that survives to this day on a live album memorable for Williamson's trouper-like adaptation of his deep troubador style of blues to the Yardbirds' raw, unpolished rock and roll version. ("Those English kids," Williamson said famously of the Yardbirds and other British blues groups like the Animals and the Stones, "want to play the blues so bad—and they play the blues so bad," though he had a personal affection for the Yardbirds' members and even thought of moving to England permanently, until the illness that resulted in his early 1965 death.)

The quintet went from there to cut several singles, including "I Wish You Would," but it was "For Your Love," a Graham Gouldman composition that was anything but the blues, which put the band to their highest chart position yet in England—and their first major hit in the United States, when it was released there in 1965. It also prompted Eric Clapton—at the time a no-holds-barred blues purist—to leave the group and join with John Mayall's Blues Breakers. The loss could have been devastating to the Yardbirds; Clapton had already shown the striking, stabbingly virtuosic style he would later expand and deepen with Mayall and unfurl as a full-fledged virtuoso statement with the improvisational Cream. Clapton recommended Jimmy Page, a studio guitarist he had known (and with whom he would soon cut a series of stirring blues guitar duets, including "Tribute to Elmore" and "Draggin' My Tail"), as his replacement, but Page—uncertain at the time about giving up his lucrative studio work—recommended in turn one Jeff Beck, whose fleet-fingered style and bent for experimentation pushed the Yardbirds to the direction from which they became widely credited for opening the door to "psychedelic" rock.

The Yardbirds in 1965 and 1966 issued a pair of albums in the U.S., slapped together somewhat haphazardly from their British recordings, For Your Love (which included a delightful early take of "Hang On, Sloopy"—they'd gotten hold of a demo of the song before the McCoys had their chartbusting crack at it a year later, and their patented doubletime "rave up" version is a treat) and Havin' A Rave Up With The Yardbirds, half of which came from Five Live Yardbirds.

Beck's tenure in the group, meanwhile, produced a number of memorable recordings, from single hits like "Heart Full of Soul," "I'm A Man," and "Shapes of Things" to the Yardbirds album (known more popularly as Roger the Engineer, and first issued in the U.S. in a bowdlerised version called Over Under Sideways Down), and established him as a top-rank guitarist whose experiments with fuzz tone, feedback, and distortion jolted British rock forward with a bold drop kick. In addition, the Yardbirds began serious experiments with things like adapting Gregorian chant ("Still I'm Sad," "Turn Into Earth," Hot House of Omagarashid," "Farewell," "Ever Since The World Began") and various European folk styles into their blues and rock rooted music, and this gained them a new reputation among the hipster underground even as their commercial appeal had begun already to wane.

It was prior to the sessions that produced Yardbirds that Paul Samwell-Smith decided to quit the group for touring purposes and move behind the boards to co-produce them with new manager, Simon Napier-Bell. Jimmy Page re-entered the picture here, playing bass until rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja could become comfortable with that instrument, and then teaming with Beck for tantalising twin-guitar attacks that proved short-enough lived: Beck either quit or was fired from the group in mid-1966, and the Yardbirds continued as a quartet for the remainder of their career. (Almost the only pronounced examples of what the Beck-Page tandem could have been came on a single, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," and their half-crazed version of "The Train Kept A-Rollin'," an even crazier rendition of which turned up in the Antonioni film Blow-Up as "Stroll On".) Page was just as bent toward experimentation as Beck, particularly his striking technique of scraping a violin or cello bow across his guitar strings to induce a round of odd and surreal sounds, and his dextrous use of a wah-wah pedal. He also proved an adept fingerstyle guitarist, the shimmering "White Summer," an Indian-influence instrumental composition, joining his full-out hard rock grinder, "I'm Confused" as curlicues to the Yardbirds' unexpectedly forthcoming transmutation.

Increasing chart indifference, record company pressure (their British home label pressed hitmaking producer Mickie Most upon them in a failed bid to re-ignite their commercial success), and drug-related problems meant that by 1967 the Yardbirds' days were numbered. Or were they? After the failure of their final album (the badly-produced Little Games) and their reduction to small venues for touring, the group agreed to split in early 1968.

But Jimmy Page, left with both the rights to the band's name and a touring commitment yet fulfilled in Europe, was compelled to put a new lineup together to make that commitment. Billed as the New Yardbirds, they made the tour, found themselves clicking together decently enough, and then repaired home to England to produce, in a very short time, a very new album by a somewhat different group, although much of the sound derived from Page's sonic experiments (and a baby brother composition to his earlier "White Summer" called "Black Mountain Side"—not to mention a polished rewrite of "I'm Confused," called "Dazed and Confused") with the last edition of the Yardbirds: Led Zeppelin.

The remaining Yardbirds didn't exactly go gently into that good grey night. Paul Samwell-Smith, who had gone on to fame as Cat Stevens' producer in 1970, helped vocalist Relf and drummer McCarty organise a new group devoted to experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms—Renaissance.

Keith Relf resurfaced in the late 1970s with a new quartet, Armageddon, a hybrid of hard, thrusting rock and folk that included former Renaissance mate Louis Cenammo. They recorded one promising album before Relf was killed in an electrocution accident in his home. Meanwhile, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith (who had remained Cat Stevens' producer to the day Stevens converted to Islam and withdrew from pop music entirely), and Chris Dreja offered a nucleus in the 1980s for a short-enough lived but fun-enough kind of Yardbirds semi-reunion called Box of Frogs, which occasionally included Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page plus various friends with whom they'd all recorded over the years.

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. All six living musicians who had been part of the group's heyday—including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, who had never (contrary to numerous misidentifications over the years) played in the group together (the confusion may have stemmed from a 1971 Epic Records anthology, Yardbirds Featuring Performances By: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, a set which fell out of print and became a very expensive collectors' item for many years)—appeared at the ceremony. "I suppose," Jeff Beck cracked at the ceremony, "I should say thank you, but they fired me—so fuck 'em!"

In 2003, a new album, Birdland, was released under the Yardbirds name by a lineup including Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, and new members Gypie Mayo (lead guitar, backing vocals), John Idan (bass, lead vocals) and Alan Glen (harmonica, backing vocals). Jeff Beck reunites with his former bandmates on one track.


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Jeff Beck reunites with his former bandmates on one track. Today's skateboarders not only differ greatly from those only 10 years ago in terms of tricks and consistency, but also style, which is a very important aspect in the way skateboarders are marketed by skateboarding companies. In 2003, a new album, Birdland, was released under the Yardbirds name by a lineup including Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, and new members Gypie Mayo (lead guitar, backing vocals), John Idan (bass, lead vocals) and Alan Glen (harmonica, backing vocals). Throwing themselves down large stairs and handrails only ups the ante in the modern skateboarding world. "I suppose," Jeff Beck cracked at the ceremony, "I should say thank you, but they fired me—so fuck 'em!". All this from an object that was never designed to lock into grinds, flip in the air or do the tricks performed by today's skateboarders. All six living musicians who had been part of the group's heyday—including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, who had never (contrary to numerous misidentifications over the years) played in the group together (the confusion may have stemmed from a 1971 Epic Records anthology, Yardbirds Featuring Performances By: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, a set which fell out of print and became a very expensive collectors' item for many years)—appeared at the ceremony. Many styles today are a mimic of Tom Penny, who is a pioneer and in the early 1990s was the first skater to catch his flip tricks in mid air.

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Recently his signature trick, the "900," was performed by an Italian skater named Georgio Zattoni and a Brazillian skater by the name of Sandro Dias. Also, Danny Way is considered by some to be the most innovative and daring skater, flying across the "DC Megaramps", and planning on jumping both the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith (who had remained Cat Stevens' producer to the day Stevens converted to Islam and withdrew from pop music entirely), and Chris Dreja offered a nucleus in the 1980s for a short-enough lived but fun-enough kind of Yardbirds semi-reunion called Box of Frogs, which occasionally included Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page plus various friends with whom they'd all recorded over the years. In the vert world, some are surpassing the skills of Tony Hawk. They recorded one promising album before Relf was killed in an electrocution accident in his home. Hawk has recently appeared in the MTV music video awards. Keith Relf resurfaced in the late 1970s with a new quartet, Armageddon, a hybrid of hard, thrusting rock and folk that included former Renaissance mate Louis Cenammo. Examples include Tony Hawk (who has a series of video games in his name), Bob Burnquist, Rodney Mullen, Mike Vallely, Steve Caballero, Bam Margera and Josh Kalis (who has appeared in numerous television advertisements for DC Shoes).

Paul Samwell-Smith, who had gone on to fame as Cat Stevens' producer in 1970, helped vocalist Relf and drummer McCarty organise a new group devoted to experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms—Renaissance. Very skillful skateboarders often become famous through sponsorship and endorsements. The remaining Yardbirds didn't exactly go gently into that good grey night. The development of these complex tricks went from the street to the vertical tops of the half pipes (and other terrains). Billed as the New Yardbirds, they made the tour, found themselves clicking together decently enough, and then repaired home to England to produce, in a very short time, a very new album by a somewhat different group, although much of the sound derived from Page's sonic experiments (and a baby brother composition to his earlier "White Summer" called "Black Mountain Side"—not to mention a polished rewrite of "I'm Confused," called "Dazed and Confused") with the last edition of the Yardbirds: Led Zeppelin. On the way the board can twist and flip, as can the rider, then to be united before hitting ground. But Jimmy Page, left with both the rights to the band's name and a touring commitment yet fulfilled in Europe, was compelled to put a new lineup together to make that commitment. No longer is the trick to fly from one place to another.

Or were they? After the failure of their final album (the badly-produced Little Games) and their reduction to small venues for touring, the group agreed to split in early 1968. The trick was reinvented by Rodney Mullen in the 80's, being transferred to the horizontal plane and used as a trick for freestyle skating (a style of skating popular in the 70's and 80's based on stationary maneuvers). Increasing chart indifference, record company pressure (their British home label pressed hitmaking producer Mickie Most upon them in a failed bid to re-ignite their commercial success), and drug-related problems meant that by 1967 the Yardbirds' days were numbered. It involves using your feet to press against the board in various complicated combinations, depending on the trick to be performed. He also proved an adept fingerstyle guitarist, the shimmering "White Summer," an Indian-influence instrumental composition, joining his full-out hard rock grinder, "I'm Confused" as curlicues to the Yardbirds' unexpectedly forthcoming transmutation. To ollie is to fly off the ground (flat or a wall) with the board, but without holding onto the board and then landing back on the board. (Almost the only pronounced examples of what the Beck-Page tandem could have been came on a single, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," and their half-crazed version of "The Train Kept A-Rollin'," an even crazier rendition of which turned up in the Antonioni film Blow-Up as "Stroll On".) Page was just as bent toward experimentation as Beck, particularly his striking technique of scraping a violin or cello bow across his guitar strings to induce a round of odd and surreal sounds, and his dextrous use of a wah-wah pedal. riding on only the front wheels (nose manual), spinning like an ice skater on the back wheels (a 360), high jumping over a bar, long jumping from one board to another (often over fearless teenagers lying on their backs), slalom, etc.) Around 1978 or so, street riding became transformed by the invention of the ollie or no hands aerial, the first modern skateboarding trick, by Alan "Ollie" Gelfand.

Jimmy Page re-entered the picture here, playing bass until rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja could become comfortable with that instrument, and then teaming with Beck for tantalising twin-guitar attacks that proved short-enough lived: Beck either quit or was fired from the group in mid-1966, and the Yardbirds continued as a quartet for the remainder of their career. Skating was originally basically two-dimensional tricks (e.g. It was prior to the sessions that produced Yardbirds that Paul Samwell-Smith decided to quit the group for touring purposes and move behind the boards to co-produce them with new manager, Simon Napier-Bell. With the evolution of skateboard parks (or skateparks) and ramp riding, the skateboard began to change. In addition, the Yardbirds began serious experiments with things like adapting Gregorian chant ("Still I'm Sad," "Turn Into Earth," Hot House of Omagarashid," "Farewell," "Ever Since The World Began") and various European folk styles into their blues and rock rooted music, and this gained them a new reputation among the hipster underground even as their commercial appeal had begun already to wane. see: Skateboarding trick for detailed description of trick skating maneuvers. in a bowdlerised version called Over Under Sideways Down), and established him as a top-rank guitarist whose experiments with fuzz tone, feedback, and distortion jolted British rock forward with a bold drop kick. The decks are still almost always maple plywood but interest in high technology materials has increased slightly after the cost of manufacturing them has dropped.

Beck's tenure in the group, meanwhile, produced a number of memorable recordings, from single hits like "Heart Full of Soul," "I'm A Man," and "Shapes of Things" to the Yardbirds album (known more popularly as Roger the Engineer, and first issued in the U.S. In the early 1990's, the wheels were only marginally larger than the bearings they encased to make complicated flip tricks easier but that fad died in 1994 and wheels currently are around 50 to 58mm in diameter. The Yardbirds in 1965 and 1966 issued a pair of albums in the U.S., slapped together somewhat haphazardly from their British recordings, For Your Love (which included a delightful early take of "Hang On, Sloopy"—they'd gotten hold of a demo of the song before the McCoys had their chartbusting crack at it a year later, and their patented doubletime "rave up" version is a treat) and Havin' A Rave Up With The Yardbirds, half of which came from Five Live Yardbirds. The wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards will rotate more easily during flip tricks. Clapton recommended Jimmy Page, a studio guitarist he had known (and with whom he would soon cut a series of stirring blues guitar duets, including "Tribute to Elmore" and "Draggin' My Tail"), as his replacement, but Page—uncertain at the time about giving up his lucrative studio work—recommended in turn one Jeff Beck, whose fleet-fingered style and bent for experimentation pushed the Yardbirds to the direction from which they became widely credited for opening the door to "psychedelic" rock. The wheels have an extremely hard durometer so that they will slide better during grind and slide tricks. The loss could have been devastating to the Yardbirds; Clapton had already shown the striking, stabbingly virtuosic style he would later expand and deepen with Mayall and unfurl as a full-fledged virtuoso statement with the improvisational Cream. The boards are all about 7.75" wide and 31.5" long.

It also prompted Eric Clapton—at the time a no-holds-barred blues purist—to leave the group and join with John Mayall's Blues Breakers. The size and shape of the fourth and current generation of skateboards is dominated by one trick: the ollie. The quintet went from there to cut several singles, including "I Wish You Would," but it was "For Your Love," a Graham Gouldman composition that was anything but the blues, which put the band to their highest chart position yet in England—and their first major hit in the United States, when it was released there in 1965. The third skateboarding generation was killed by the global economical recession in the early 90's. ("Those English kids," Williamson said famously of the Yardbirds and other British blues groups like the Animals and the Stones, "want to play the blues so bad—and they play the blues so bad," though he had a personal affection for the Yardbirds' members and even thought of moving to England permanently, until the illness that resulted in his early 1965 death.). Manufacturers preferred maple plywood over more exotic composite materials almost exclusively. The group was well enough reputed that none other than blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson himself invited the group to tour England and Germany with him, a union that survives to this day on a live album memorable for Williamson's trouper-like adaptation of his deep troubador style of blues to the Yardbirds' raw, unpolished rock and roll version. With vert skating being dominant decks were initially very wide with large and wide wheels, though as time progressed and skateparks became fewer in number, street skating was gaining popularity, causing a change in both deck shape and wheel size.

Under Gomelsky's guidance, the Yardbirds got themselves signed to EMI's Columbia label in early 1964; they set a precedent of a sort when their first album turned out to be a live album, Five Live Yardbirds, recorded at the legendary Marquee Club in London. The invention of the ollie made it possible for skaters to perform huge airs off vertical ramps. And, of critical importance, Crawdaddy Club impresario Giorgio Gomelsky—who had all but discovered the Rolling Stones but thought it beyond his range to become their manager—learned enough from his previous miss to become the Yardbirds' manager and, as it turned out, first producer. The focus was initially on halfpipe and vert ramp skateboarding. Between his sleek guitar playing and Keith Relf's improving harmonica style, the group could at least boast two attractive players that made listeners overlook their still-incomplete rhythmic attack. The third skateboard generation, from early eighties to early nineties, was started by skateboard companies that actively promoted their sport. They made their first significant lineup addition when singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, and drummer Jim McCarty, replaced original lead guitarist Anthony (Top) Topham with a very boyish-looking art student named Eric Clapton in late 1963. Clapton already knew what he was doing with his instrument; his solo turns, while far enough from the gripping little gems for which he became famous enough soon enough, already set him apart from most of his peers among the British blues clubbers. In the end of 1980, skateboarding had died again.

Their inexperience and their less-than-stellar musicianship was obvious but their commitment was just as powerful, as they hammered away at versions of such blues classics as "Smokestack Lightning," "Got Love If You Want It," "Here 'Tis," "Baby What's Wrong," "Good Morning Little School Girl," "Boom Boom," "I Wish You Would," "Done Somebody Wrong," and "Rollin' and Tumblin'.". Many skateparks went out of business and the parks were torn down or bulldozed. With a repertoire drawn more from the Delta-soaked Chicago blues titans Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Elmore James than the more commercially-minded Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed influences of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds began to build a following of their own in London before very long. This caused liability concerns and increased insurance costs to skatepark owners. Formed originally as the Metropolitan Blues Quartet in 1962–63 in London, the Yardbirds first achieved notice on the burgeoning British blues scene (or "rhythm and blues," as the British music press alluded to it) when they took over as the house band at the Crawdaddy Club in London—succeeding the Rolling Stones. Skateboarders, most notably the Z-Boys, started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty in the 1976 California drought. With increased control skateboarders could skate faster and perform more dangerous tricks. The Yardbirds were an early British rock band, noted for spawning the careers of several of rock music's most famous guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. The skateboarders took advantage of the improved handling of their skateboards and started inventing new tricks.

Manufacturers started to experiment with more exotic composites, like fiberglass and aluminium but the common skateboards were made of maple plywood. As the equipment became more maneuverable the decks started to get wider, reaching widths of 10 inches and over in the end, thus giving the skateboarder even more control. With the growing interest companies started to invest more in product development and many companies started to manufacture trucks especially designed for skateboarding. The improvement in traction and performance was so immense that popularity of skateboarding started to rise rapidly again.

In 1970 Frank Nasworthy started to develop a skateboard wheel made of urethane. Many skateboard manufacturers went out of business because of losing money on cancelled orders for the Christmas holiday season. This development caused the first skateboarding fad to die completely in the fall of 1965. This made skateboarding inherently a dangerous sport and after a few years many cities banned skateboarding because of liability concerns.

They had poor traction and would come to a dead stop when rolling over even small pebbles. These boards used wheels made of clay. The boards were from 6 to 7 inches wide. At the time there was a rapidly growing interest in skateboarding (sometimes referred to as sidewalk surfing) and soon many other similar products emerged.

Before this skateboards were home made pieces of wooden planks with roller skates attached to the bottom. The first commercial skateboard was the Roller Derby Skateboard that was introduced in 1959. Surfers are adapting skateboarding tricks into surfing, and the result is evolution in both sports. While surfing influenced skateboarding in it's early days, now the reverse is also true.

Skateboarding has its origins in surfing, and was originally called "sidewalk surfing". Improvements in skateboarding equipment have spurred advancement in skateboarding techniques and new techniques have required new equipment. The history of skateboarding goes hand in hand with the history of the skateboard. Skateboarding has been thought of by many as part of the extreme sports family, which also includes (but not restricted to) snowboarding, BMX, and surfing.

Like roller skating, skateboarding is often done for recreation and as a sport, but, more often than ice skating, it is a method of transportation. Someone who skateboards is a skater (or skateboarder or most fully skateboard rider), though the shortest term may also refer to someone ice skating or roller skating. Skateboarding is the act of rolling on or interacting with a skateboard. Danny Way.

Mike Vallely. Tony Trujillo. Jamie Thomas. Ed Templeton.

Aaron Suski. Elissa Steamer. Arto Saari. Kanten Russell.

Geoff Rowley. Andrew Reynolds. Stacy Peralta. Tom Penny.

Chad Muska. Rodney Mullen. Guy Mariano. Bam Margera.

Jason Lee. Bucky Lasek. Eric Koston. Heath Kirchart.

Tony Hawk. Mark Gonzales. Rune Glifberg. Kareem Campbell.

Steve Caballero. Bob Burnquist. Stephen Berra. Mark Appleyard.

Tony Alva. Jay Adams.

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