"Ha Ha Said The Clown" b/w "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor" was released as a U.S. single in July 1967 prior to the Yardbirds' final studio album Little Games, which followed one month later. Produced by Mickie Most, the A-side was a cover of a Tony Hazzard song that had already been a hit for Manfred Mann. It was not released as a Yardbirds single in the UK due to poor sales of their previous 45, "Little Games." The Yardbird's arrangement of the song hued very closely to the Manfred Mann recording, which had peaked at #4 on the UK charts. The Yardbirds version managed to crack the U.S. Billboard Top Fifty but stalled at #44. The only group member actually on the recording is singer Keith Relf, who was backed by studio musicians. The flip side is another story altogether! "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor," a Jim McCarty-Jimmy Page original, is an explosive song with a driving, martial pace, similar in tempo to Love's "Seven and Seven Is." It features a breakout performance from Page, marking his first use of a bow on a recording (listen for the unmistakable bowing solo in the bridge). Some say that session string player David McCallum, Sr. (father of Man From Uncle's David McCallum, Jr.) suggested using the bow to Page while others speculate that the inspiration came from the Creation's Eddie Phillips, who is acknowledged as the first rock guitarist to employ the method. Whatever the source, Page used the technique to startling effect. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor" provides a glimpse of the sound Page was chasing and would soon realize in the New Yardbirds, quickly renamed Led Zeppelin"
YARDBIRDS (Japan-67,Odeon OR-1724)-Little Games/Puzzles (M-/EX+,FO,IS,WOBC)-$900 , rarest Yardbirds single in the world, never released on red wax
It was a dream lineup that was, like the best dreams, too good to be true, or at least to last long. Only one single was recorded with the Beck/Page lineup, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," which -- with its astral guitar leads, muffled explosions, eerie harmonies, and enigmatic lyrics -- was psychedelia at its pinnacle. But not at its most commercial; in comparison with previous Yardbirds singles, it fared poorly on the charts, reaching only number 30 in the States. Around this time, the group (Page and Beck in tow) made a memorable appearance in Michaelangelo Antonioni's film classic Blow Up, playing a reworked version of "The Train Kept-A-Rollin'" (retitled "Stroll On"). But in late 1966, Beck -- who had become increasingly unreliable, not turning up for some shows and suffering from nervous exhaustion -- left the band, emerging the following year as the leader of the Jeff Beck Group.
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