In the mid '60s British blues/pop band The Yardbirds were one of the first acts to take popular music in an experimental adventurous direction. Their playlist included blues, melodic pop, eastern influenced compositions, and extended instrumental rave-ups at a time when these styles had not yet formed a significant core of what would become progressive FM radio programming.
Although they had their share of charting records like 'For Your Love,' 'Heart Full of Soul,' 'Over Under Sideways Down' and 'Shapes of Things,' the band may well be best known for having had three of the most acclaimed lead guitarists in rock pass through its ranks in Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
In 1968 The Yardbirds disbanded leading to the creation of Jimmy Page's next project: Led Zeppelin, while lead singer Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty went on to found the original incarnation of Renaissance.
The group was formed in the suburbs of London in 1963. The original line-up was Relf-vocals and harmonica, McCarty- drums, Paul Samwell- Smith-bass, Chris Dreja- guitar, and Anthony 'Top' Topham- lead guitar. In September of that year they became the house band at The Crawdaddy Club in Richmond after The Rolling Stones vacated that slot.
In October '63 Topham left the band and was replaced by Eric Clapton.
Keith Relf passed away in 1976.
The Yardbirds reformed in the early '90s with original members Dreja and McCarty on board. They were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. The lead guitar spot has come full circle with Topham recently rejoining the group after 50 years.
The band has just announced UK tour dates for 2014.
For more info: http://www.theyardbirds.com/