Over Under Sideways Down

Album: Over Under Sideways Down (1966)
Charted: 10 13

Songfacts®:

  • When we spoke with Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, he explained: "'Over Under Sideways Down' was about the situation of having a good time - a bit of decadence, really - in the '60s. Cars and girls are easy to come by in this day and age, and laughing, drinking, smoking, whatever, till I've spent my wages, having fun."

    The Yardbirds, who were one of the most famous British bands of the '60s and employed at various times Jeff Beck (who played on this), Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, certainly did enjoy some rock and roll hedonism, but as McCarty explains, it wasn't all fun. He told us: "It's very much up and down. Yeah, it was very much like a microcosm of a life, really. Very extreme, because we'd go from being on top of the charts and going to fantastic places and traveling to places like California that were just our dream after being in a sort of post-war London, which was rather dismal and rather miserable. Suddenly we were going to sunny California where things were happening and things were rich and there were lovely girls and cars and everything. From that to sitting all night in a bus driving to a gig and not being able to stop and feeling absolutely wretched from being so tired. And getting on each other's nerves and arguing. (laughing) So it's very much the extreme life." (Here's our full interview with Jim McCarty.)
  • Three of The Yardbirds hits were written by Graham Gouldman "For Your Love," "Evil Hearted You" and "Heart Full of Soul"), but most of their songs were group compositions, including this one. McCarty told Songfacts: "On 'Over Under Sideways Down' I think we all put in our bit. I put in a tune, somebody else said, 'How about the state of things at the moment, it's all over the place, so it's sort of over, under, Sideways, down.'"
  • This was used in the 2009 movie Observe and Report.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 19th 1966, "Over Under Sideways Down" by the Yardbirds entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and on August 7th it peaked at #13 (for 2 weeks) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1965 and 1967 the group had nine Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10 ("For Your Love" peaked at #6 in 1965 and "Heart Full of Soul" reached #9 also in 1965)...
    They just missed having a third Top 10 record when "Shapes of Things" peaked at #11 (for 1 week) on May 8th, 1966...
    R.I.P. lead singer Keith Relf (1943 -1976).
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