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The Yardbirds

Somewhat in the manner of Buffalo Springfield, but on the other side of the Atlantic, The Yardbirds were a legendary and short-lived band that went on to influence generations of hopeful young groups. And, as with Buffalo Springfield, The Yardbirds are known for the fact that so many of their members -- in this case guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck -- went on to superstardom in their subsequent careers. They evolved from a series of bands in the early-'60s London club scene and were, initially, strictly blues and R&B. Soon, however, they began experimenting with such exotic influences as Eastern music and Gregorian chant, as well as odd tempos and strange arrangements, as exemplified by their first big hit, "For Your Love," featuring Keith Relf's manic, yelping vocals against a banging, syncopated background of stops and starts. Clapton, who wanted to play the blues, hated the song and soon left, to be replaced by up-and-coming Beck. Beck pushed the envelope of distortion, sound effects and power chords even further; Page (who had recommended Beck for the gig in the first place) initially came on board as co-lead guitarist and stayed on after Beck departed. By 1968, creative differences had torn the band apart, leaving Page holding the bag for the band's contractual concert obligations. As a result, Page gathered assorted colleagues into a group that initially toured as the New Yardbirds, but went to greater renown by their later name -- Led Zeppelin.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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