Jim McCarty Reveals Why Jimmy Page Refused To Join The Yardbirds

In a recent conversation on VRP Rocks’ ‘My 5 Favorites,’ Jim McCarty shared insights into The Yardbirds’ history. One story that stood out was the tale of Jimmy Page’s initial reluctance to join the band.

One of The Yardbirds’s critical moments came after Eric Clapton’s departure. Looking for a suitable replacement, the group’s eyes turned to Page. Looking back on those days, McCarty reminisced, revealing why they thought of Page as a replacement:

“We wanted Jimmy Page because Jimmy used to come and see us. We met Jimmy, and he was a nice guy. But he was very busy doing studio recordings, playing around London Studios, playing on all the old records in those days. He wasn’t interested in doing a band, so he said, ‘Oh, well, I recommend my understudy.

This guy, Jeff Beck, who does sessions when I can’t.’ He was playing with the band called The Tridents, so Giorgio went down to see him, and we got him in for an audition. It was great, obviously.”

Asked if Beck’s addition to the band fit seamlessly with their evolving direction, McCarty admitted it required some minor image adjustments:

“Absolutely, yeah. Maybe his image did quite fit; he was a bit rough-looking. He had to go and cut his hair and get some new clothes because he was covered in oil from going under his cars, you know, because he loved maintaining cars, the hot rods, and all that stuff.”

Page’s association with The Yardbirds didn’t end there. By June 1966, Page had indeed joined the band, initially on bass, and later shifted to second lead guitar alongside Beck.

In another revelation, McCarty revealed that Clapton was the ‘cockiest’ one other than Page and Beck and admitted he didn’t initially like the guitarist. You can read about that interview here.

You can watch the interview below.