The Yardbirds were an English rock band formed in London in 1963 that had a string of hits during the mid-1960s, including "For Your Love", "Over Under Sideways Down" and "Heart Full of Soul". The group launched the careers of guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, all of whom are in the top five of Rolling Stone's 100 Top Guitarists list (Clapton at No. 2, Page at No. 3 and Beck at No. 5). A blues-based band that broadened its range into pop and rock, the Yardbirds had a hand in many electric guitar innovations of the mid-1960s, such as feedback, "fuzztone" distortion and improved amplification. Pat Pemberton, writing for Spinner, holds that the Yardbirds were "the most impressive guitar band in rock music". After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin, while vocalist/harmonica player Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty formed the symphonic rock group Renaissance.
The bulk of the band's most successful self-written songs came from Relf, McCarty and bassist and producer Paul Samwell-Smith, who, with rhythm guitarist and bassist Chris Dreja, constituted the core of the group. The band reformed in the 1990s, featuring McCarty, Dreja and new members. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. They were included in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".