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The Yardbirds

Saturday, June 28 @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 5 p.m.

Jun. 18, 2014
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What? The Yardbirds are still around after more than 50 years? Well, not exactly. The British blues band that spawned a holy trinity of guitar gods with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page initially had a five-year run, from 1963 to 1968, with such hits as “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul” and “Shapes of Things.” The band, which ranked right up there with The Rolling Stones and The Animals on the British club scene, broke up over the usual “creative differences.” Page then formed the biggest and heaviest band in the world with Led Zeppelin, while other Yardbirds moved on to projects in the prog, folk and classical realms.

The group reformed in the ’90s with original members Jim McCarty, now 70 years old, on drums and Chris Dreja on bass and rhythm guitar, along with a new lineup of much younger musicians. (Clapton, Beck and Page all had better things to do.) The new version of the band released Birdland in 2003, and Dreja eventually left after suffering numerous strokes in 2012 and 2013. He’s been replaced by 67-year-old Top Topham, who was The Yardbirds’ first lead guitarist.


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