The Yardbirds is the third studio album by The Yardbirds, released in 1966. Roger the Engineer is the fan nickname for this album - based on the album cover - and is now the most commonly used title for this album. A third title used was Over Under Sideways Down, and it was officially released under that name in France, Germany and the United States, the latter omitting two songs off the album. It is also their first studio album to officially be released in Britain.
Roger the Engineer is the only album by The Yardbirds to feature no Cover Versions, with song-writing credits on every song given to every member; the album was also produced by Paul Samwell-Smith and their then-manager Simon Napier-Bell. This album is often included on Greatest Albums of all-time lists, including Rolling Stone's Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, where it was placed at no. #350.
This album also turned out to be the band's last studio album to feature Paul Samwell-Smith and Jeff Beck. The former chose to leave around the time of the album's release, having grown tired of touring and wanting to move on to production. Samwell-Smith would go on to become a successful producer, with production credits on such artists as Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, Carly Simon, Renaissance (Keith Relf and Jim McCarty's post-Yardbirds band), etc. He was replaced first by Jimmy Page on bass, but Page switched to co-lead guitar with Jeff Beck once Chris Dreja made the transition from rhythm guitar to bass. Although this twin guitar line-up was highly influential, Beck quickly grew frustrated, and by the end of 1966, he had been sacked from the band. The Yardbirds with Page would release Little Games in 1967 before calling it quits the following year.
Tracklist (The US version of the album omits "The Nazz Are Blue" and "Rack My Mind"):
- "Lost Woman" (3:16)
- "Over Under Sideways Down" (2:24)
- "The Nazz Are Blue" (3:04)
- "I Can't Make Your Way" (2:26)
- "Rack My Mind" (3:15)
- "Farewell" (1:29)
- "Hot House of Omagarashid" (2:39)
- "Jeff's Boogie" (2:25)
- "He's Always There" (2:15)
- "Turn Into Earth" (3:06)
- "What Do You Want" (3:22)
- "Ever Since the World Began" (2:09)
Bonus Tracks (1983 Reissue):
- "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (2:55)
- "Psycho Daisies" (1:50)
- Jeff Beck - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass
- Chris Dreja - guitar, piano, vocals
- Jim McCarty - drums, percussion, vocals
- Jimmy Page - guitar, bass note
- Keith Relf - lead vocals, harmonica, percussion
- Paul Samwell-Smith - bass, vocals
Turn Into Tropes:
- Design Student's Orgasm: The British album cover is a simple amateurish pencil drawing of an engineer. The American cover is a cut-and-paste group shot of the band where various photos of the band members are put together to provide an unrealistic band photo.
- Face on the Cover: The American and German cover feature the band on the cover.
- Mood Whiplash: "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... about the evils of greed.
- One-Woman Song: "Lost Woman".
- One-Word Title: "Farewell".
- Psychedelic Rock: Definitely one of the more famous examples of it.
- Questioning Title?: "What Do You Want?"
- Self-Titled Album: At least officially. Like The White Album by The Beatles, the fan nickname is far more well-known than its actual name.
- Special Guest: Jimmy Page's future Led Zeppelin band-mate John Paul Jones plays bass on the bonus track "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago".
- Step Up to the Microphone: Jeff Beck sings lead vocals on "The Nazz Is Blue".
- Title Track: "Over Under Sideways Down". At least in France, Germany and the US.
- Westminster Chimes: Quoted in "Jeff's Boogie".