[[caption-width-right:350: The classic line-up of The Yardbirds, from left to right: Chris Dreja, Jim [=Mc=]Carty, Keith Relf, Music/JeffBeck, and Paul Samwell-Smith.]]

A [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishInvasion British Invasion]] band active in the 1960s British BluesRock scene alongside Music/TheAnimals and Music/TheRollingStones. The Yardbirds are best known for their hard-edged {{Blues}} and proto-PsychedelicRock sound, which influenced future HardRock and early HeavyMetal performers and for serving as the starting point for a few guitar players who became famous in their own right; Music/EricClapton, Music/JeffBeck and [[Music/LedZeppelin Jimmy Page.]]

The founding 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. With Clapton the band released their first three singles and debut album ''Music/FiveLiveYardbirds'', which was revolutionary at the time. Clapton quit to join John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers shortly before the completion of ''Music/ForYourLove'', 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. It is this line-up that is generally considered to be the classic line-up, and for good reason. It was with Beck that their biggest hits came out, (with the exception of "For Your Love", which was with Clapton) most of which appeared on ''Music/HavingARaveUp'' from 1965, as well as ''Music/RogerTheEngineer''.

Paul Samwell-Smith -- who was an integral part of the band musically and was the band's chief songwriter -- quit shortly after ''Music/RogerTheEngineer'' to focus on production. Jimmy Page joined to replace Samwell-Smith on bass, but it became clear that bass was not suited for him. Chris Dreja chose to switch from rhythm guitar to bass, but until Dreja could learn and play bass competently, Page continued to play bass. Once this was done, Page switched to co-lead guitar and for a very brief period, Beck and Page played lead guitar together. There are only three Yardbirds songs with both Beck and Page: The non-album single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (Dreja played rhythm guitar, and the bass was played by Page's future band-mate [[Music/LedZeppelin John Paul Jones]], then a session musician. Turned out to be their last major hit.), its BSide "Psycho Daisies" (Beck on sole lead guitar, Dreja on rhythm guitar and Page on bass) and "Stroll On" ("The Train Kept A-Rollin'" with different lyrics. Used in the film ''Film/BlowUp''). Despite all that, this line-up remains highly influential, especially for guitar enthusiasts.

Near the end of 1966, Jeff Beck was fired and Jimmy Page effectively took over as the co-leader of the band along with Keith Relf. This final line-up released one album (''Music/LittleGames'' in 1967) and several unsuccessful singles before throwing in the towel in mid-1968. Undaunted, Page decided to organize The New Yardbirds, recruiting [[Music/LedZeppelin Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham]] to fulfill 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.

Keith Relf died from accidental electrocution in 1976. In 1982, Chris Dreja and Jim [=Mc=]Carty reformed The Yardbirds with several new musicians and with Paul Samwell-Smith joining the following year. Subsequently, they began working under a different name, called the Box Of Frogs and that lasted until 1986. In 1992, Dreja and [=McCarty=] again reformed The Yardbirds with several new musicians. This edition of the band released one studio album (''Birdland'' in 2003) 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, who himself left in 2015. [=Mc=]Carty and others continued to tour as The Yardbirds to this day. [=Mc=]Carty has been [[RevolvingDoorBand the only member]] who's been in ''every'' version of the group (bar The New Yardbirds), although Dreja comes close.

!! Principal Members (Founding members in '''bold''', current members in ''italic''.):

* ''Kenny Aaronson'' - bass (2015-Present)
* Joe Allanson - bass (1982)
* ''Johnny Antonopoulos'' - guitar (2015-Present)
* Music/JeffBeck - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass (1965-1966)
* John Cawthra (Gypie Mayo) - guitar, vocals (1995-2004, died 2013)
* Music/EricClapton - guitar, backing and co-lead vocals (1963-1965)
* Rod Demick - bass, harmonica, vocals (1992-1993)
* Jerry Donahue - guitar (2004-2005)
* '''Chris Dreja''' - guitar, bass, piano, vocals (1963-1968, 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, 2015-Present)
* Ben King - guitar (2005-2015)
* John Knightsbridge - guitar, vocals (1982-1983)
* Ray Majors - guitar, vocals (1994-1995)
* '''''Jim [=McCarty=]''''' - drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals (1963-1968, 1982-1983, 1992-Present)
* Billy Boy Miskimmin - harmonica, percussion (2003-2008)
* Andy Mitchell - lead vocals, harmonica (2009-2015)
* [[Music/LedZeppelin Jimmy Page]] - guitar, bass (1966-1968)
* '''Keith Relf''' - lead vocals, harmonica, maracas, guitar, percussion (1963-1968, died 1976)
* '''Paul Samwell-Smith''' - bass, backing and co-lead vocals (1963-1966, 1983)
* ''Myke Scavone'' - lead vocals, harmonica, percussion (2015-Present)
* David Smale - bass (2009-2015)
* Earl Slick - guitar (2015)
* '''Anthony "Top" Topham''' - guitar, vocals (1963, 2013-2015)

!!Studio Discography:

* 1965 - ''Music/ForYourLove''
* 1965 - ''Music/HavingARaveUp'' [[note]]The first half of the album was recorded in the studio[[/note]]
* 1966 - ''The Yardbirds'' (Better known as ''Music/RogerTheEngineer''. Or ''Over Under Sideways Down'' in some territories)
* 1967 - ''Music/LittleGames''
* 2003 - ''Birdland''

!!Live Discography:

* 1964 - ''Music/FiveLiveYardbirds''
* 1965 - ''Sonny Boy Williamson And The Yardbirds'' [[note]]A collaboration with Sonny Boy Williamson II, recorded in 1963[[/note]]
* 1965 - ''Music/HavingARaveUp'' [[note]]The second half of the album was recorded live, consisting of tracks from ''Five Live Yardbirds''[[/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''

!! Evil Hearted Troper:

* BluesRock: One of the earliest exponents of the style, along with Music/TheRollingStones and Music/TheAnimals.
* BreakupBreakout: Clapton, Beck and Page. Although Relf and [=McCarty=] did go on to some success with Renaissance, and Samwell-Smith went on to have a successful career behind the scenes as a producer.
* 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 ''Music/RogerTheEngineer'', heavy touring and limited studio time left the band mostly at the mercy of covers and songs written by outside musicians like Graham Gouldman.
* TheCracker: In late 2015, Yardbirds fans were puzzled to discover that the band's official Website/{{Facebook}} page was posting articles on sexual positions. As it turns out, the page was hacked, and despite the admins' best efforts, they had no choice but to shut the page down and create a new one.
* CutAndPasteTranslation: Every album of theirs released Stateside until ''Music/LittleGames''.
* DrivenToSuicide: "Farewell" could be interpreted this way.
* 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 ''Music/RogerTheEngineer''.
** 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 due to health issues in 2013.
* SarcasticTitle: The ProtestSong "You're A Better Man Than I".
* SelfTitledAlbum: Almost with ''Music/FiveLiveYardbirds''; ''Music/RogerTheEngineer'' depending on where and when it was released.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Music/LedZeppelin, who were originally called The New Yardbirds.
* StageName: Eric Clapton was given the nickname "Slowhand" on stage during his time in The Yardbirds. The nickname has stuck, alongside his post-Yardbirds nickname "God".
** Also, Paul Samwell-Smith was born simply "Paul Smith". On-stage, he was always referred to as "Sam".
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Eric Clapton and Paul Samwell-Smith sing co-lead vocals on "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl". Jeff Beck sings lead vocals on "The Nazz Are Blue". Jim [=McCarty=] sings lead vocals on "Spanish Blood" and "Taking A Hold On Me".
* WestminsterChimes: Quoted in "Jeff's Boogie".