Saturday Eye Candy: The Yardbirds


While the guitarists in the 1960s incarnations of The Yardbirds get the lion's share of historical recognition – easy to understand when one band helps launch the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page - but today we salute co-founder and original bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, who turns 67 today. A noteworthy music producer since he left the band in 1966, Samwell-Smith helped forge one of the most original, influential group sounds to emerge from the 1960s and played a key role in re-popularizing the blues with young people around the globe.

Though often a quite hard-edged group, The Yardbirds had a way with pop hooks, particularly this continuing radio staple.

Clapton was always pretty damn good, eh?

The Yardbirds were at the epicenter of pop culture in the '60s, which score them strange spotlights like this scene from Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up where they play "Stroll On."

In many ways, this band made the blues hip to folks who might have never encountered libidinous gems like "I'm A Man" without them.

A taste of Page in his first full flowering.

And we end with an indestructible bit of rock rightness. It is to be hoped that guitarists will continue to mine this one forever more.

[Published on: 5/8/10]

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