The Yardbirds started out as the Metropolitan Blues Quartet in 1963 at the Kingston Art School in London. The careers of three of the greatest guitar players of all time—Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page were launched with The Yardbirds. Clapton joined the group in October 1963 and was involved in the recording of The Yardbirds’ first album and several singles, one of which was awarded a gold disk—For Your Love. Clapton departed in May 1965 and recommended a young studio musician named Jimmy Page as his replacement. Page did not want to quit his lucrative studio job at the time and in turn recommended his friend, Jeff Beck. Beck played his first gig with The Yardbirds two days after Clapton’s departure. During Beck’s tenure, the band produced a number of hits—Heart Full of Soul, Shapes of Things, and The Yardbirds album, as well as embarking on three tours.
In June 1966, Jimmy Page joined as second lead guitar and the band continued to record and tour until October 1966 when Beck was fired after a tour stop in Texas. By 1968, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty had decided to pursue a style influenced by folk and classical music, while Jimmy Page wanted to continue with the kind of music that Led Zeppelin later would become famous for. On July 7, 1968, The Yardbirds played their final concert at Luton Technical College in Bedfordshire, England.