From 1964’s I Wish You Would and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, it was For Your Lovec/w Got To Hurry which reached number three in 1965 that put the group firmly in the pop consciousness.
Heart Full of Soul (1965), took the contemporary pop beat into the top ten, but coupling it with Steeled Blues reminded fans where their roots lay. The fashion for EPs was still strong, so that year saw the release of My Girl Sloopy.
Another occasional gimmick was for bands to put out double-A side singles, often cynically letting DJs decide which one to put face up on the turntables. The Beatles did it with We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper in the same year.
Evil Hearted You was reportedly penned by Graham Gouldman after a particularly troubled stint in a dentist’s chair and is still best known for its use of Spanish (or Flamenco) scales, quite rare in the mid-1960s. This was an altered Phrygian scale featuring an usual key signature and augmented second interval.
It was coupled with Still I’m Sad, whichbroke new and different ground as Paul Samwell-Smith and Jim McCarty included Gregorian chant. In the US this track was coupled with I’m A Man.
By 1966 the outfit created Shapes of Things and You’re a Better Man Than I, which reached number three in the UK charts. Shapes issometimes regarded as one of the first truly psychedelic guitar-solo songs (Jeff Beck on his Fender Esquire; Jimmy Page on the 1968 live version) and was written by Samwell-Smith, Relf and McCarty.
Over Under Sideways Down (1966) was a thinly disguised Bill Haley and The Comets’ Rock Around the Clock (with Beck on lead and bass), and the B side was Jeff’s Boogie, which owed more than a little to Chuck Berry’s Guitar Boogie.
In October that year they released Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, their first single featuring Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. John Paul Jones played session bass on the recording.
There were other releases, but none did brilliantly well. Ha Ha Said the Clown by Manfred Mann did better chartwise, and it’s interesting that The Yardbirds chose to cover the same tune as the Manfreds, as there are many similarities of pop/rock/blues/R&B crossover in both bands.
1967’s Ten Little Indians, the Harry Nilsson classic about The Ten Commandments reached only 96 on the Billboard 100, but is most interesting as being the track on which Jimmy Page claimed to have ‘invented the reverse echo audio effect’.