The Yardbirds - the reunions:

In the early Eighties, Samwell-Smith - who had become a successful record producer - was reunited with Dreja and McCarty for a one-off gig at the Marquee, London and in 1984 the trio formed an outfit called the Box of Frogs. Two albums, with Chris and Jim heavily involved in the song writing, featured guest performances by Rory Gallagher, Roger Chapman, Steve Hackett, Ian Dury and Graham Parker. This Yardbirds reunion-of-sorts had the presence of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on various tracks as well as Graham Gouldman (10cc), who wrote the group's first three hits in the Sixties.

The Yardbirds were inducted into America's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

The Yardbirds enjoyed great chart and performance success in the United States and many other countries. Years after the Yardbirds split up, their albums continue to sell and their legend and musical influence live on. Many artists - as diverse as Aerosmith, David Bowie and Nirvana - have said they were inspired by the band.

Many Yardbirds singles remain outstanding examples of British pop - and Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty were central figures to the band's success. As well as playing on the entire catalogue, they also had a major hand in the song writing. Jim co-wrote the big hits "Shapes of Things" and "Still I'm Sad", and both he and Chris are credited with co-writing other Yardbirds favourites including "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" and "Over, Under, Sideways, Down".

The transatlantic recognition of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame helped convince Chris and Jim that the time was right for the Yardbirds to perform live again. Unlike other groups of Sixties vintage, the Yardbirds long resisted the temptation to reform. Only in recent times have Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty - Yardbird members throughout the group's existence - decided to revive the name.

Says Chris: "There has been a real trend back towards live music - people have definitely wanted to go and experience the excitement of musicians performing on stage. The Yardbirds were always a blistering live band - and judging from our present-day audiences, we are getting the message to a real cross-section of people again. We have a real chemistry in the band, and it's great being able to work with musicians of the highest calibre - including Gyple Mayo, who follows in a tradition of brilliant guitar players."

In Britain the past couple of years have seen acclaimed sell-out performances. During this period, the Yardbirds have also toured internationally with concert and festival dates in America, Australia, Europe and Scandinavia. The Yardbirds are currently working on both live and studio recordings.

Some current reviews of the present-day Yardbirds:

"The Yardbirds still proffer a blistering, crowd-pleasing set" - TIME OUT.

"Stirring stuff a wide vocal range combined with a gutsy delivery made John Idan an admirable choice of front man - he knew how to deliver the goods. This is the stuff that memories are made of" - BLUEPRINT

"Electrifying faucous Idan recreated the lead vocal parts of the late Keith Relf, the band's original singer, and Alan Glen contributed scintillating harp. McCarty and rhythm guitarist Dreja proved their mettle all set, and Gyple Mayo, formerly of Dr Feelgood, was splendid on lead guitar, accurately playing the parts made famous by Eric Clapton, Beck and Jimmy Page" --- THE RIVER REPORTER

"By covering waterfronts of their professional career they left me wanting more." - MOJO

"They turned the clock back to recall in barnstorming fashion the powerhouse pop that made the Yardbirds name a blistering set which honoured the Yardbirds name as leading purveyors of harmonica - inspired blueswailing vintage excitement." - THE BEAT GOES ON!

(Text © Steve Kennedy)
For a presentation of the late 90's lineup, click for the next chapter!