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Rhino’s Greatest Hits Vol 1 (1964-66) featured liner notes by US music freelancer Parke Puterbaugh who positioned The Yardbirds alongside groups like The Animals and The Rolling Stones, "creating hard rock out of standard 12-bar blues, doubling the tempos and whacking the amps up to 10." He could have added The Kinks and The Who for good measure.
In Puterbaugh’s view, The Yardbirds "expanded the range of electric guitar with feedback, sustain and fuzztone," making their own the habit of a free-for-all jam before the final verse, not as soloists but in a tandem, "until you reach an epiphany 10, 20, 30 minutes later, a shuddering climax of decibels and pure energy."
He styled them as the bridge between the tributary white R&B of early '60s London and "the pastures of fuzz-toned psychedelia and power-chorded heavy metal." They also experimented with backwards echo.
In his definitive historical account of the group, Yardbirds: The Ultimate Rave-Up, Greg Russo (updated 2011) claimed they reached "uncharted territories in rock" and that their rock blueprint affected such later groups as Aerosmith and The Allman Brothers.
During the brief period when Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page overlapped in their Yardbirds’ membership, they played Stroll Onin the classic movie Blow Up (1966), with an equipment-smashing sequence that was a take off of The Who’s modus operandi at that time.