The Yardbirds Song Eric Clapton Hated

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Blues-influenced rock and roll band, The Yardbirds was founded in 1963. The core lineup hit the charts and gained great popularity throughout their journey on the rock music stage thanks to their groundbreaking works and unforgettable live performances. Along with the band members’ talents as songwriters and instrumentalists, The Yardbirds had another importance for the blues-rock and the whole genre.

Three legendary guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, began their musical journeys in the band in different periods. The group was a perfect chance to show their true talent when they were very young, which they did. However, Clapton was unhappy with one of their songs though proud of his tenure with the band.

Eric Clapton’s Journey As A Yardbirds Member

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Eric Clapton became The Yardbirds’ guitarist in 1963, replacing original guitar player Top Topham who left the band. Joining the band was a turning point in the musician’s life and career as a professional artist. The guitarist started to be widely known for his one-of-a-kind playing and great riffs and performances by music critics and blues-rock lovers worldwide. His popularity rose more and more during his short time in the band.

Many journalists and critics generally thought Clapton would stay in the band for a very long time, considering the harmony between the Yardbirds members and the singles such as ‘I Wish You Would’ and ‘Good Morning, School Girl,’ which were the milestone works for the genre. However, none of them could have guessed that a hit song from the band would cause a crisis between Clapton and his bandmates.

Eric Clapton Disapproved A Yardbirds Hit

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The Yardbirds released their first American album entitled ‘For Your Love’ on July 5, 1965, and it’s one of the rare albums that consisted of two legendary guitarists, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, performances at the same time. The record produced hit tracks, and they shared the famous single ‘For Your Love’ earlier that year. However, the band’s guitarist wasn’t happy with the change in the style by creating a pop-oriented sound.

The main reason behind the difference was to become more famous and commercially successful. David Bowling’s book named ‘Eric Clapton FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Slowhand’ revealed that Clapton hated this new style and ‘For Your Love’ so much that he left the band the day when the single was released. It was unacceptable and unbelievable for a blues purist like him, so it was the end of his days in the group, even though it’s an innovative rock song.

A passage from the book read:

“‘For Your Love’ was released in February 1965 and became The Yardbirds’ commercial breakthrough. It reached three on the English singles charts and 6 in the United States. It would be their biggest American hit, selling in excess of a million copies and earning the band a gold record award. The main problem was that Eric Clapton hated the song. He felt it was too popish and not enough blues. It would precipitate his leaving the group.

Nearly a half-century after its release, Clapton was right that it’s not a blues song. It was, however, one of the unique and innovative rock songs of the mid-sixties. Its odd cadence and subtle guitar playing by Clapton have held up well through the years. It has always been ironic that a truly great song drove Eric Clapton out of The Yardbirds.”

Shortly after he departed due to musical differences, Clapton started to play for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, where he stayed for a year. In addition, before leaving The Yardbirds, he offered Jimmy Page to replace him as their new guitarist to continue to work on their album recordings. However, Page, a young session guitarist, declined it, suggesting Jeff Beck. So, the band recruited Beck to replace Clapton.

You can listen to the song below.