This was written by Graham Gouldman, who later became the bass player for the group 10cc; he wrote two other Yardbirds hits as well: "Heart Full of Soul
" and "Evil Hearted You
Musically, Gouldman was inspired by The Animals' version of "The House Of The Rising Sun
"There's a general sort of popular chord sequence which is C, A minor, F and G," he Gouldman told Songfacts
. "Well, 'House Of The Rising Sun' is pretty much the opposite of that. So, it starts on a minor and goes to the relative major instead of the other way around, and I really responded to that, it resonated with me. I became so enamored with the sequence that I used it on the first two chords of 'For Your Love.'"
This is one of the most famous rock songs to feature a harpsichord, which was arranged by Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, who made wholesale changes to Graham Gouldman's original demo. Gouldman observed to Uncut magazine August 2009: "The harpsichord was an absolute stroke of genius. The record just had a weird, mysterious atmosphere about it."
The Yardbirds wrote many of their own songs as a group, but had some of their biggest hits with the ones Gouldman wrote. What did they think of Gouldman's songs? Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty
told us: "Well, they were always very original. Very interesting songs, very moody, because they were usually in a minor key, the ones we did, anyway. 'For Your Love' was an interesting song, it had an interesting chord sequence, very moody, very powerful. And the fact that it stopped in the middle and went into a different time signature, we liked that, that was interesting. Quite different, really, from all the bluesy stuff that we'd been playing up till then. But somehow we liked it. It was original and different."
The Yardbirds didn't have a lot of hits, but were one of the most influential and original bands of the '60 and an easy pick for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which they entered in 1992. Having a hit song was important to them, however, and this song provided that. Jim McCarty told Songfacts: "To try and get a hit song in those days was quite a difficult thing to do for us. We could come up with ideas, but our first hit song was very important for us. And with 'For Your Love' we heard it and had the demo of it and it sounded like a hit song to all of us. Yeah, there wasn't a problem doing that. It was the sort of thing that you relied on to get into that other echelon, to have a hit song. All our contemporaries were having hit songs: The Beatles and the Stones and the Moody Blues and Animals, they were all having #1 hits and we were really trying to keep up."
This almost didn't get recorded by The Yardbirds. Gouldman, 19 at the time, wrote it for his own group The Mockingbirds, but their demo was turned down by Columbia. Also it is believed that producer Mickie Most turned it down on behalf of Herman's Hermits and that the Animals also turned it down.
The song found its way to The Yardbirds after their manager ran into the fledgling songwriter Gouldman when they were opening for The Beatles at a 1964 Christmas show. Gouldman loved how The Yardbirds would change tempo in the middle of a song, which is how he wrote "For Your Love."
This song prompted Eric Clapton to leave The Yardbirds, since he felt their music was becoming too commercial. He was replaced by Jeff Beck, who was later replaced by Jimmy Page. Clapton joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and would later be a member of Cream and Derek and the Dominos. One of the contributing factors to Eric Clapton's departure was, while performing the song live, his having to recreate the song's harpsichord on a 12-string guitar.
James - Tracy, CA
The harpsichord on this song was played by session musician Brian Auger, who later became a solo artist of note. His biggest hit was the Bob Dylan song "This Wheel's On Fire," which was credited to Julie Driscoll With Brian Auger And The Trinity. It later became the theme tune for the BBC comedy show Absolutely Fabulous.
The Yardbirds were known as a great live band, but the recording technology of 1965 limited their commercial potential, as the songs they wrote themselves didn't play well in a studio setting. McCarty told us how this song gave them a breakthrough: "All the stuff that we played live and we recorded in the studio, it just sounded really tame. The studios weren't so good then, they weren't really geared for playing rock and roll or blues music. And all the ideas that we'd had up to 'For Your Love' just sounded awful. And so 'For Your Love' was the song that would sound good anyway, because it was a much more commercial song."
On The Yardbirds official site, bass player Chris Dreja said of this: "We owe a lot to that song because it sort of pulled us out from national to international and set the template for us - that time change in the middle, the weirdness of it."
Bertrand - Paris, France
This song appeared in the movies Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998), Harimu Ogen (1985) and Deadly Advice (1994).
Fleetwood Mac recorded this for their 1973 album Mystery to Me and released it as a single.
The musical breakdown on this track is as follows:
Keith Relf - lead vocal
Eric Clapton - guitar
Chris Dreja - guitar
Paul Samwell-Smith - bass
Jim McCarty - drums
Non-Yardbirds brought in to play were:
Ron Prentiss - acoustic bass
Brian Auger - harpsichord
Denny Piercey - bongos
This song was covered by Greg Kihn in 1994. It was also used in the movies Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
(1998) and Pirate Radio
Charlie - Las Vegas, NV
This was used in commercials for Zales jewelry.
Bertrand - Paris, France