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*1.01-FOR YOUR LOVE (Yardbirds)

Yardbirds

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[Intro]

For your love
I’d give you everything and more, and that’s for sure.
For your love
I’d bring you diamond rings and things right to your door.
For your love

     To thrill you with delight,
     I’ll give you diamonds bright.
     There’ll be things that will excite,
     To make you dream of me at night.

For your love. (3x)

          For your love, for your love,
          I would give the stars above.
          For your love, for your love,
          I would give you all I could.

For your love
I’d give the moon if it were mine to give.
For your love
I’d give the stars and the sun ‘fore I live.
For your love

     [Chorus]

For your love.


In October 1963, Eric Clapton at age 18 joined the Yardbirds, and brought to it guitar playing influenced by Chicago blues, and emulating American “race” records like those of B.B. King. The Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, also manager of the Crawdaddy Club in London, hired the Yardbirds to be his house band after the Rolling Stones left his domain to tour. Clapton gave the Yardbirds a good reputation as a blues band and they quickly developed a local cult following. In December 1963, the group toured England with Delta blues harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson.

Despite their reputation as a blues group like the Rolling Stones or the Animals at the time, their first hit single in America, For Your Love, sidestepped rhythm and blues almost entirely, much to the consternation of Eric Clapton. His guitar playing is limited to the simple boogie chords of the brief B section of the song. Clapton left the group in protest and soon joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers to continue playing guitar in blues style. Instead of recycling the blues, the Yardbirds turned to British pop/rock songwriter Graham Gouldman for their calling card across the Atlantic, a song that would launch their reputation as experimental pop artists, a reputation that would further develop over the next two years, effectively making them the avant-garde of psychedelic music. As Richie Unterbeger would write of the Yardbirds in allmusic: “Their melodies were strange (by pop standards) combinations of minor chords; the tempos slowed, speeded up, or ground to a halt unpredictably; the harmonies were droning”, and often had a Middle Eastern or Gregorian tonality. “The arrangements were, by the standards of the time, downright weird, though retaining enough pop appeal to generate chart action.”

For Your Love featured some two fisted harpsichord playing by session musician Brian Auger. The sound Auger produced had nothing of the delicacy associated with a harpsichord. Nonetheless, it was the first time, to my knowledge, that a harpsichord had been featured in a pop song. (Auger’s inexperience proved to be the lucky charm, similar to Al Kooper’s organ playing in Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone.) Until the sitar took over in the Summer of Love, the harpsichord became the signature instrument of more than a year of psychedelic music, an instrument that marked the development of a genre sometimes classified as baroque rock. The A section of For Your Love is a somber chant evocative of minstrelsy in medieval Europe, while the bongos bring a gypsy flavor. However, the B section seems lifted from an entirely different song: the tempo suddenly becomes a boogie, and the melody becomes far brighter, a mood that quickly dissipates when the group returns to its chant. Richie Unterberger writes in allmusic: “As the Yardbirds' final Aeolian harmonies die away and the last gloomy chord is struck, a solitary bongo rattles for a few seconds, adding a final appropriately exotic touch.”

Despite the Yardbirds’ daring or naiveté in providing a fresh sound by attempting to feature an instrument they in fact knew very little about, Gouldman’s lyric is generally that of a standard love song, promising the moon and the stars. Most of the lyric suggests what the lover would do if he could (but he can't). Only in the chorus is there promise of what he will be able to do, marry perhaps (if that's what "diamonds" means) and bring exciting "things" to excite the beloved’s dreams, an allusion probably to sexual pleasures. Diamonds became a somewhat frequent metaphor in psychedelic music: they appear in Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man (“To dance beneath the diamond sky”); Van Dyke Parks’ Surf’s Up (“A diamond necklace played the pawn”), and of course, John Lennon’s Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, among incidental references in other psychedelic songs. The language of the lyric is such that the most striking phrase in For Your Love is “I'll bring you diamond rings and things right to your door”. “Diamond rings and things" ends up reducing jewelry to the realm of mere "things", all the singer has to offer. He never offers his own love explicitly, but only pledges all he can.

Graham Gouldman wrote a string of million-selling hit songs in the mid-1960s, starting with For Your Love. He also penned Heart Full of Soul for the Yardbirds, and Bus Stop and Look Through Any Window for the Hollies, delivering a couple of hits for Herman’s Hermits as well. He would later be a founding member of a group called 10cc, and help compose a late psychedelic single I’m Not in Love, released in 1975. The singer of For Your Love doesn’t seem to feel it is within his power to love either, but in the case of For Your Love (unlike I’m Not in Love) he would do anything he could to be loved.

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