NEPA Scene Staff

The Yardbirds reunite with original guitarist at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on July 1

The Yardbirds reunite with original guitarist at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on July 1
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

Which British band once included three of the greatest guitarists of all time? That would be The Yardbirds. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page all served time in the group, with Beck and Page as members at the same time for a little while.

The Yardbirds are back with a new lineup and ready to rock Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, July 1 at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $23-$28, go on sale this Friday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe) and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

Founding member and drummer Jim McCarty is the keeper of the flame, and he has a real surprise for music fans – he’s brought back The Yardbirds’ first guitarist, Top Topham! He was in the band before Clapton and had to leave because his parents didn’t approve of his career choice.

Topham was an art student and had to continue with his studies. Enter another art student from the same secondary school, Eric Clapton, and you know what happened from there, but Topham is now happy to leave his paintbrush home and play the blues.

The rest of The Yardbirds includes bassist Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan, David Gilmour) and Myke Scavone (Ram Jam) on blues harp, vocals, and percussion, along with lead guitarist and singer John Idan, who was on The Yardbirds’ critically acclaimed 2003 album “Birdland.”

McCarty is a textbook on rock history unto himself. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer co-founded The Yardbirds in London in 1963 with singer Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, and lead guitarist Top Topham. They first called themselves the Metropolitan Blues Quartet and then the Blue-Sounds before settling on The Yardbirds as a tribute to jazz sax legend Charlie Parker and the hobos who hung around the London train yards waiting to hop a freight. Topham left and was replaced by Eric Clapton.

The band’s first album, “Five Live Yardbirds,” was recorded at London’s Marquee Club and really captured the group’s manic live sound. After a few pop singles, Clapton split and Jeff Beck came aboard. Then Jimmy Page joined up, first as a bass player, and then he took over lead guitar when Beck left to start a solo career. When the entire rest of the group quit in 1968, Page got the rights to the band name and soon after formed Led Zeppelin.

When The Yardbirds first came to America, they were shocked that the kids had never heard of the American blues and R&B artists that were worshipped in the U.K. But, thanks to The Yardbirds’ versions of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning,” and Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business,” those original artists finally got airplay on white radio in the U.S.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Yardbirds in 1985, Jim hooked up with Chris Dreja and Paul Samwell-Smith for a pair of shows at London’s Marquee Club, where the band recorded its debut album. They had such a good time that they put together a new band, Box of Frogs, and recorded two albums under the name with some help from Page and Beck.

Today, The Yardbirds are back again with an exciting new lineup, particularly with Topham back in the group after playing a few gigs last year with a different edition of the band.