Happenings Ten Years Time Ago

Album: Over Under Sideways Down (1966)
Charted: 43 30
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Songfacts®:

  • This is a very psychedelic song, with the singer looking back on events in the past and wondering if they were real. In our interview with Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, he explained: "On 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago,' Keith (Relf) and I were trying to write a song about reincarnation. We'd seen everything before, and it was all happening again. That was quite an interesting viewpoint, really. Meeting people along our way that we'd seen from another day. Sort of bringing in that situation that we'd been there before."
  • During the 5-year life span of The Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page were all members. There was some overlap between Beck and Page, and this is one of the few songs they both played on.
  • John Paul Jones played bass on this song. Jones also played bass on the Yardbirds tracks "No Excess Baggage" and "Goodnight Sweet Josephine." After The Yardbirds broke up, Page and Jones added Robert Plant and John Bonham for a Scandinavian tour as "The New Yardbirds." By October 1968, they began played under a new name: Led Zeppelin.
  • In 2003, a re-formed Yardbirds released this song on their 2003 album Birdland, which features guest appearances by Brian May, Slash, Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Steve Vai and Jeff Beck. This was one of eight original Yardbirds songs on the album, and it features Lukather on guitar.

    Yardbirds bass player Chris Dreja said on their website: "It's psychedelic disco for me, this song. 'Happenings' is a bit like a miniature rock opera. You get that great riff, explosions, the Cockney voice, all sorts of little influences. It's immensely powerful as well. We dropped a voice in there like the original, which says, 'Pop group, are you? You should get your haircut.' I really wish now we'd put in, 'pop group, are you? It's about time you got a day job.' I thought it would've been much funnier." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • "Over Under Sideways Down" was the title of the album in the United States. Elsewhere, it was released as "The Yardbirds," but in 1983 the album was re-issued under the title "Roger The Engineer," a reference to their engineer Roger Cameron.

Comments: 8

  • Ken from Philadelphia, PaAs a dopey 14-year-old, I was pretty sure the keys to the universe were in this song rather than the engine of an old parked car. But, yeah, with some perspective, the lyrics are somewhere in the range of passable and dreadful. That aside (and, really, a proto- psychedelia song isn’t really about the lyrics anyway), this is a heck of a good song... I mean like amazing. I realize there was a lot happening musically at this point in time, but it still seems like this one should have been huge....
    and if you are into counterfactual history, what happens if this does become a smash hit? Do the Yardbirds remain a going concern to take advantage? If not, does Jimmy stick with the New Yardbirds identity to take advantage of the money to be made touring behind a huge hit. His nickname wasn’t “Led Wallet” for nothing so it is hard to see him passing on the chance for such easy money for a pig-in-a-poke like Led Zeppelin must have seemed like. And suppose he does spend a year as front man for the New Yardbirds touring behind this song, getting rich, and banging groupies, do the New Yardbirds still morph into Led Zeppelin, if not in name then at least musically?
    That last one really got me thinking. Obviously, the first Led Zeppelin album was what the next Yardbirds album was going to sound like. Bonzo’s drumming, of course, kicked everything up a notch and Robert Plant’s vocal ability kicked it all up another notch. Still, the sound was absolutely a logical and incremental step from “Happenings...”. Heck, “Dazed...” was stolen and workshopped most of the way to its final form during the final year of the Yardbirds existence. So I think it’s a given that whether it happened under the name The New Yardbirds or still eventually gave way to Led Zeppelin, they would still be the godfathers of hard rock and metal as we know it. My question is whether a detour making money as the New Yardbirds would have kept Led Zeppelin from all the other things that made so much more than a blues rock band. It is the forays into folk, electronica, reggae, and even the pseudo-deep-but-really-not tripe like “Stairway” are all part of the mixing pot that made Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin. Would that have all happened if Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham had spent a year cashing paychecks as, essentially, a nostalgia act? Who knows? Maybe there would have been so much pressure to keep making coin as the New Yardbirds that the breaks Led Zeppelin took in the country between tours to recharge and write might never have happened.. and maybe the pressure to use the short breaks they had to get some new music in the can might have forced into an over reliance on the same formula they used to fill out the first album: stealing relatively obscure electric blues songs and tweaking them enough to keep the lawyers away. Had that been what happened, they’d have been played out after a couple of albums.
  • Johann from Cucamonga, CaJimmy's concept for the band included a mix of acoustic and electric instruments... the famous "hard/soft" concept. He was influenced by acts like Fairport Convention (Richard Thompson's brilliant outfit), and Iron Butterfly. Get it? Iron - Lead. Butterfly - Zeppelin. The Moon story has not, to my knowledgge, been verified, but Jimmy talked about the hard/soft concept a lot.
  • Matt from San Antonio, TxThe name "Led Zeppelin" came from that "bad idea" and was originally "Lead Zeppelin" but Jimmy Page feared that "those damn Americans" would mispronounce it.
  • David from Youngstown, OhKeith Moon actually said the idea would go over like a lead balloon and then said that it would be even worse. It would go over like a lead zeppelin. Also, Don is correct that they played a few shows as the New Yardbirds.
  • Don from Rapid City, SdLed Zeppelin actually played their first two or three shows as The New Yardbirds.
  • Gary from Seattle, WaBeck also teamed with Page and Keith Moon on "Beck's Bolero," the only time those three ever recorded together.
  • Kendall from Thomasville, GaI love this song, but the lyrics are terrible... I think I'll go on and submit them for anyone who cares
  • Dustin from My Home, Inpage was going to call the band the new yardbirds but then changed it to the name led zeppelin after a comment made by drummer for the who, keith moon about the band sinking like a led ballon
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