1966 – The Yardbirds land in New York to kick off their first American tour

The Yardbirds

1966 – The Yardbirds land in New York to kick off their first American tour. Jeff Beck leaves after playing two dates, leaving Jimmy Page to take over the lead guitar slot.

The Yardbirds are an English rock band, noted for starting the careers of three of rock’s most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. A blues-based band whose sound evolved into experimental rock, they had a string of hits including “For Your Love”, “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” and “Heart Full Of Soul”. They were a crucial link between British R&B and psychedelia.

The Yardbirds were pioneers in almost every guitar innovation of the ’60s: fuzz tone, feedback, distortion, backwards echo, improved amplification. They were one of the first to put an emphasis on complex lead guitar parts and experimentation.

The bulk of the band’s conceptual ideas, as well as their songwriting, came from the quartet of singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja, and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith, all of whom co-wrote the Yardbirds’ original hits and constituted the core of the group. The band’s musical foundation would also lay the groundwork for the formation of the 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin.

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