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Heart Full of Soul


The Yardbirds

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by Graham Gouldman, who later formed the band 10cc. Gouldman was a prolific songwriter who also came up with songs for The Hollies, Cher, The Shadows, and Herman's Hermits. For The Yardbirds, he provided three of their hits, also composing "Evil Hearted You" and "For Your Love." Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty said in our 2010 interview: "'Heart Full of Soul,' which was very moody, gave us the ability to play the riff in sort of an Eastern way, give it an Oriental touch. Another very good song."
Lead guitarist Jeff Beck employed an early use of a fuzz box on his lead part. The original arrangement called for a sitar playing the lead guitar part, but they instead opted for Beck's sitar-sounding guitar.
The roots of Sitar blended into Rock started November, 1964, when Brian Auger engineered the first recording of "Heart full of Soul" by the Yardbirds. An authentic Indian sitar player was brought into the studio, as well as a tabla player who could not get the 4/4 time signatures right. Since The Yardbirds were a road group and the original could not be played to live audience, Jeff Beck stood in and used his fuzz machine with a tone blender that created a similar and extremely effective sound. (thanks to Shiloh Noone, author of Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear)
This was one of many songs at the time that was influenced by Eastern music. It was released five months before the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," which featured George Harrison playing the Sitar for the first time in Western pop music.
The members of Rush practiced this a lot when they were first starting out. In their teens they would play this song often. It is one of 8 songs Rush covered on their 30th anniversary album Feedback. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington)
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Comments (13):

To Fred.."I'm a Man" is a combination of Muddy's "Mannish Boy" and Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man". The original versions were slow...the Yardbirds version alot faster...what they called a 'rave-up'.
- kevin, los angeles, CA
In one way or another, all three of The Yardbirds' key guitarists were involved with "Heart Full Of Soul". Although it is Beck that plays on the song, the U.S. single was released with a picture sleeve erroneously showing the Eric Clapton lineup. A March 1968 appearance on the music show Upbeat features the final lineup with Jimmy Page guitar-synching to the record.

The U.S. picture sleeve shows the Eric Clapton lineup instead of the correct lineup with Jeff Beck. It was also featured on the 1965 compilation album "Having a Rave Up".

Crowski-KZOK Seattle
- Gary, Seattle, WA
Noel: Yes, I'm surprised that title isn't in this site's list. As I recall, The Yardbirds had just about 4 hits before they evaporated--"Heart Full of Soul" and "For Your Love," which are here, and "Shapes of Things" and "I'm a Man (I Spell M-A-N--Man)," which are not. BTW, that last title is no relation to the song "I'm a Man (yes I am, and I can't help but love ya so)" by The Spencer Davis Group about a year or so later. I think the one the Yardbirds recorded was by either Leadbelly or Muddy Waters. Or maybe some similar artist? Anybody know?
- Fred, Laurel, MD
Speaking of belly dancers, I'm thinkin that another, very prominent example of this Turkish influence in that era was "Stop Stop Stop" by the Hollies (led by Graham Nash). Thanks, Dirk, I hadn't thought of or realized that before!
- Fred, Laurel, MD
Has anybody heard "Shapes Of Things" Jeff Beck guitarist/sitar fuzz-box. Great lyrics!
- Noel, Christchurch, New Zealand
Yeah it is on the Rush 30th anniversary album and DVD. The Yardbirds were blues gods... and thanks to them Clapton made it big in England.
- Jon, London, England
Isn't the Rush 30th anniversary album called R30?!?!
- Tom, East Lyme, CT
Chris Isaak does an excellant cover of this song on
his album "Chris Isaak" 1987.
- Bob, Comox, B.C., Canada
Interesting. I never linked Turkish music and Paint it Black before.
- Aylin, Montreal
The flavor of this record is not "Eastern" in the sense of Indian, like so many other recordings from 1966-1969. It is actually MIDDLE Eastern--specifically Turkish. It has been forgotten over the years that before the influence of Indian-influenced sounds in the psychedelic era of the 60s, there was a recurring Turkish influence. You hear it most clearly in the Rolling Stones' song "Paint It Black." You can almost visualize belly-dancers in that song. "Heart Full of Soul" was another good example of the Turkish sound.... What would attract a bunch of British rock-n-rollers to the culture of Istanbul?... Hmmm... Maybe the hooka?
- dirk, Nashville, TN
On one of their remastered and re-released CDs, there is an outtake version of this song with a sitar. However, the original version is the best by far.
- Marina, Seattle, WA
This song is amazes me, every time I listen to it, I just get so many mixed emotions
- Kendall, thomasville, GA
The version of this by Rush sounds fantastic.
- Jeff, Haltom City, TX
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