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Yardbirds: The Ultimate Rave-Up [Paperback]

Greg Russo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crossfire Pubns; 5 Revised edition (Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097918455X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979184550
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 20.3 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,035,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book about a great band 16 Feb 2013
The first edition of "Yardbirds" by Greg Russo was published in 1997. Since then the text has been revised and updated several times. The fifth edition appeared in 2012.

The Yardbirds is the name of a band that was active 1963-1968. During those five years the band played several types of music (blues, rock, and pop), while the line-up of the band changed several times. The Yardbirds is a well-known name, because three world-class rock guitarists began their careers in this band: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

** Eric Clapton played with the Yardbirds from October 1963 to March 1965
** Jeff Beck played with the Yardbirds from March 1965 to October 1966
** Jimmy Page played with the Yardbirds from June 1966 to July 1968

Other members of the band were:

* Keith Relf - vocals and harmonica
* Chris Dreja - rhythm and bass
* Jim McCarty - drums
* Paul Samwell-Smith - bass
* Top Topham - lead guitar (from June to October 1963)

In 1992 the Yardbirds were reformed with two of the original members - Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty - plus some new members. They released an album called Birdland in 2003, and they have an official website on the internet where you can find additional information about their activities.

Russo's book is a veritable goldmine; it tells you everything you have always wanted to know about the band - plus a few things you did not even realise you wanted to know. The author is an avid fan, but he tries to remain objective when writing about the band and their music, and I think he succeeds quite well.

It is a long book (288 pages) published in a large format (ca. 21 x 26 cm).
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but still valuable 10 Mar 2014
By R. E. Nunley - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
For decades there seemed to be little information about the Yardbirds that was clear and reliable. Greg Russo's book helps to correct much of that. Maybe the best section has to do with the pre-Yardbirds activities of the founding members, and the band's history before Eric Clapton joined. Similarly, the pre-Yardbirds careers of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page are well-treated. And for the real hard-core fans, Russo has assembled a very extensive discography, and almost impossibly, a list of all gigs from the first club dates to the last ones under the name "Yardbirds" by the band we know as Led Zeppelin.

The book has come in for some criticism for factual errors, and indeed there are a few, but the ones I noted were pretty minor and usually involved ancillary information. For me, there were other things that were more disappointing. Foremost was the hazy treatment of the replacement of Chris Dreja by John Paul Jones. It left me with a number of unanswered questions; too much of this transition is still unclear.

I thought the rather substantial sections on the post-Yardbirds careers of Clapton/Beck/Page were unnecessary, as they're documented much better elsewhere. But having that information about the other members (especially original lead guitarist Tony Topham) is a definite plus. The Box of Frogs and modern Yardbirds sections are welcome, too.

This book is a pretty quick read, and is probably the best available resource until/unless someone else (are you listening, Christopher Hjort?) decides to tackle this admittedly difficult band to chronicle.
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