[[caption-width-right:344:The Yardbirds in 1966. From left to right: Jeff Beck, Jim [=McCarty=], Chris Dreja, [[Music/LedZeppelin Jimmy Page]] and Keith Relf.]]

A [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishInvasion British Invasion]] band active in the 1960s British blues scene alongside Music/TheAnimals, Music/TheSmallFaces and Music/TheRollingStones. '''The Yardbirds''' were best known for their hard-edged BluesRock sound, which influenced future HardRock and early HeavyMetal performers and for serving as the starting point for several guitar players who became famous in their own right; Music/EricClapton, Jeff Beck and [[Music/LedZeppelin Jimmy Page]].

The original line-up consisted of Anthony "Top" Topham, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja, [=Jim McCarty=] and Keith Relf. Topham had to leave due to studies, and was replaced by Eric Clapton. Clapton eventually left to join John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers shortly before the completion of the group's first studio album, which he felt was too much of a departure from their blues roots, and was replaced by Jeff Beck, who led the group in a distinctly [[PsychedelicRock psychedelic]] direction. After Samwell-Smith quit to become a producer, Jimmy Page joined (with Dreja switching over to bass) and for a very brief period, Beck and Page played co-lead guitars. While there are few recordings of the two playing together, this configuration turned out to be highly influential.

Near the end of 1966, Jeff Beck was fired and Jimmy Page effectively took over as the leader of the group. They soldiered on until they disintegrated in 1968. Undaunted, Page decided to organize The New Yardbirds, recruiting [[Music/LedZeppelin Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham]] to fulfil an obligation to play at several European tour dates. Page and company decided to record an album after the completion of the tour. Chris Dreja issued a cease and desist order that stated Page could only use the name for those tour dates. Inspired by a snarky comment from [[Music/TheWho Keith Moon and John Entwistle]] (that the band would go over like a lead balloon), the group changed their name to [[Music/LedZeppelin Led Zeppelin]].

Keith Relf died from accidental electrocution in 1976. In TheNineties, Chris Dreja and Jim [=McCarty=] reformed the Yardbirds with several new musicians. (Indeed, [=McCarty=] has been [[RevolvingDoorBand the only stable member]] of ''any'' version of the group, bar [[Music/LedZeppelin The New Yardbirds]]). This edition of the band released one studio album and several live albums. Dreja had to leave the Yardbirds in 2013 after suffering from several strokes, and he was replaced by founding member "Top" Topham. [=McCarty=], Topham and others continued to tour as the Yardbirds until the end of 2014, when [=McCarty=] announced the break-up of The Yardbirds.

!!Principal Members (1963-1968) (Founding members in '''bold'''):

* Jeff Beck - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass (1965-1966)
* [[Music/LedZeppelin John Bonham]] - drums (1968, died 1980)
* [[Music/EricClapton Eric Clapton]] - guitar, backing and lead vocals (1963-1965)
* '''Chris Dreja''' - guitar, bass, piano, vocals (1963-1968)
* [[Music/LedZeppelin John Paul Jones]] - bass (1968)
* '''Jim [=McCarty=]''' - drums, vocals, percussion (1963-1968)
* [[Music/LedZeppelin Jimmy Page]] - guitar, bass (1966-1968)
* [[Music/LedZeppelin Robert Plant]] - lead vocals, harmonica (1968)
* '''Keith Relf''' - lead vocals, harmonica, maracas, guitar, percussion (1963-1968, died 1976)
* '''Paul Samwell-Smith''' - bass, backing and lead vocals (1963-1966)
* '''Anthony "Top" Topham''' - guitar (1963)

!!Principal Members (1982-1983, 1992-2014) (Founding members in '''bold'''):

* Joe Allanson - bass (1982)
* Rod Demick - bass, harmonica, vocals (1992-1993)
* Jerry Donahue - guitar (2004-2005)
* '''Chris Dreja''' - guitar, vocals (1982-1983, 1992-2013)
* Mark Feltham - lead vocals, harmonica (1982-1983)
* Laurie Garman - harmonica (1994-1996)
* Alan Glen - harmonica, percussion (1996-2003, 2008-2009)
* John Idan - lead vocals, guitar, bass (1992-2009)
* Ben King - guitar (2005-2014)
* John Knightsbridge - guitar, vocals (1982-1983)
* Ray Majors - guitar, vocals (1994-1995)
* Gypie Mayo - guitar, vocals (1995-2004, died 2013)
* '''Jim [=McCarty=]''' - drums, percussion, vocals (1982-1983, 1992-2014)
* Billy Boy Miskimmin - harmonica, percussion (2003-2008)
* Andy Mitchell - lead vocals, harmonica (2009-2014)
* '''Paul Samwell-Smith''' - bass (1983)
* David Smale - bass (2009-2014)
* '''Anthony "Top" Topham''' - guitar, vocals (2013-2014)

!!Studio Discography:

* 1965 - ''For Your Love''
* 1965 - ''Having A Rave Up''
* 1966 - ''The Yardbirds'', better known as ''Roger The Engineer''. Or ''Over, Under, Sideways, Down'' in some territories.
* 1967 - ''Little Games''
* 2003 - ''Birdland''

!!Live Discography:

* 1964 - ''Five Live Yardbirds''
* 1966 - ''Sonny Boy Williamson And The Yardbirds'' [[note]]Duet with Sonny Boy Williamson[[/note]]
* 1971 - ''Live Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page''
* 1984 - ''London 1963 The First Recordings!''
* 1997 - ''BBC Sessions''
* 1999 - ''Reunion Jam''
* 2003 - ''Live! Blueswailing July '64''
* 2006 - ''Reunion Jam Vol. II''
* 2007 - ''Live At B.B. King Blues Club''
* 2013 - ''Making Tracks''

!! For Your Tropes:

* AuthorExistenceFailure: Keith Relf left the world in 1976 after electrocuting himself with a badly maintained guitar.
* BluesRock: One of the earliest exponents of the style, along with Music/TheRollingStones and Music/TheAnimals.
* BreakupBreakout: Clapton, Beck and Page.
* CoverVersion: Most of their material, especially when they started off, was covers of blues, rock and roll and rockabilly songs, played a bit faster and heavier than the originals. Except for ''Roger The Engineer'', heavy touring and limited studio time left the band mostly at the mercy of covers and songs written by outside musicians like Graham Gouldman.
* CutAndPasteTranslation: Every album of theirs released stateside until ''Roger the Engineer''.
* MoodWhiplash: "Ever Since The World Began" starts as a scary, doom-laden monotone chant about the evils of {{greed}}, and then suddenly becomes a light pop song with a call-and-response section... [[LyricalDissonance about the evils of greed.]]
* PsychedelicRock:
** They went in this direction to an extent after Jeff Beck joined the group. It's best illustrated on ''Roger The Engineer''.
** In fact, their song "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (one of few with both Page and Beck) was recently voted the number one UK Psychedelic Song in some poll.
* {{Revival}}: Dreja and [=McCarty=]'s reformation of the group, which is also an example of TheBandMinusTheFace.
* RevolvingDoorBand: Throughout the Yardbirds' history, Dreja and [=McCarty=] were the only consistent members until Dreja retired in 2013.
* SarcasticTitle: The ProtestSong "Mr. You're A Better Man Than I".
* SelfTitledAlbum: Almost with ''Five Live Yardbirds''; ''Roger The Engineer'' depending on where and when it was released.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Music/LedZeppelin, who were originally called The New Yardbirds.
* WestminsterChimes: Quoted in "Jeff's Boogie".