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MHD

The Yardbirds name

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Can someone set me straight on Jimmy's legal position over the name The Yardbirds. I was lead to believe that when The Yardbirds disbanded, Jimmy had ownership of the name signed over to him. I ask this as I see Chris Dreja & co are touring as The Yardbirds in the coming months. Do they have to seek permission from Jimmy to use the name?

I have just read an interview with Paul Rodgers who testily commented on Mick Ralphs touring as Bad Co, and stated that he can't legally do so and has to use the name X-Com.

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:unsure: I think I remember reading on this forum somewhere that it was a subject of dispute between Jimmy and Chris.

Judging by the number of 'breakaway' bands around these days (for want of a better word), even if Jimmy does have the copyright, the 'new' band could I suppose tour as "Chris Dreja's Yardbirds".

At the moment, just as one such example, we have Wishbone Ash and 'Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash' both touring.

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Can someone set me straight on Jimmy's legal position over the name The Yardbirds. I was lead to believe that when The Yardbirds disbanded, Jimmy had ownership of the name signed over to him. I ask this as I see Chris Dreja & co are touring as The Yardbirds in the coming months. Do they have to seek permission from Jimmy to use the name?

Funny you should ask as I have been investigating this privately for years. If Chris Dreja is to be believed, Jimmy's right to use the name was limited to fulfilling the Scandanavian tour The Yardbirds were still under contract for at dissolution of the band in July 1966.

Dreja originally intended to join Page in the new lineup, but opted out to pursue a career in photgraphy (Dreja is credited with the photos on the back cover of 'Led Zeppelin').

Dreja allegedly issued a cease and desist order when he learned the name continued to be used upon their return to England. So far as is known, they only played one gig (The Mayfair in Newcastle on Oct 4 1968) before Jimmy and Peter met with graphic artist

George Hardie at The Marquee in London on Oct 18th to discuss with him Jimmy's Hindenburg concept for the front album cover.

Clearly, Jimmy Page was intent on changing the name in October 1968. The debate

centers upon if he was compelled to do so by a cease and desist order or if he freely

chose to change the name. It does not help Peter Grant has said Jimmy came away

with ownership of the name The Yardbirds (although he may have meant for the one

tour only).

The below would seem to help clarify this matter, but it only complicates it:

Oct 4 1968 Newcastle The Mayfair

Note: I have seen no confirmation of how they were billed for this date

Oct 18 1968 London Marquee

Note: Billed incorrectly as "The British Debut of The Yardbirds"

Oct 19 1968 Liverpool Liverpool University

Note: Reported as last appearance of Yardbirds…Page will stay to form…Led Zeppelin

Oct 25 1968 Surrey Surrey University - Great Hall

Note: Debut performance billed as Led Zeppelin but there is a poster for this date billing them as "New Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page"

Oct 26 1968 Bristol Bristol Boxing Club

Note: I have seen no confirmation of how they were billed for this date

Nov 9 1968 Camden Roundhouse

Note: Billed as "Yardbirds now known as Led Zeppelin"

Nov 16 1968 Manchester College of Science and Technology

Nov 23 1968 Sheffield Sheffield Univeristy

Nov 29 1968 Richmond Athletic Club

Note: I have seen no confirmation of how they were billed for these dates

Dec 10 1968 London Marquee

Note: Billed as "Led Zeppelin (nee The Yardbirds)"

Note: (Their performance contract was signed on November 27th 1968)

Dec 13 1968 Canterbury Canterbury Bridge Club

Dec 16 1968 Bath Pavilion

Dec 19 1968 Exeter City Hall

Note: I have seen no confirmation of how they were billed for these dates

Dec 20 1968 London Fishmonger's Arms

Note: Billed a "Led Zeppelin (formerly Yardbirds)"

My definition of "billed": how the performance was advertised/promoted. This does

not necessarily mean the band wanted it billed as such. Sometimes the promoters

did not respect the wishes of the band and promoted in whatever way they thought

would sell tickets.

Finally, here is some recent correspondence on the matter (from two days ago in fact):

----- Original Message ----

From: Steve A. Jones <undisclosed here>

To: <undisclosed here>

Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 9:24:45 PM

Subject: RE: <undisclosed here>

Jimmy (and Peter Grant) doesn't seem to agree with you on whom held ownership of the name. I know your position would be bolstered if the "cease and desist order" was made public. I understand that may never come to pass.

I'm not about to start arguing with you over it because I consider you my friend and value your perspectives. It seems to me Dreja, McCarty and Page have a lot of water under the bridge after 40 years!

Cheers,

SAJ

Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 18:38:52 -0700

From: <undisclosed here>

Subject: Re: <undisclosed here>

To: Steve A. Jones <undisclosed here>

Steve,

That's not going to happen. I don't care if Jimmy doesn't agree, but he's never expressed this. Peter Grant can't obviously say anything. It all goes back to the same point - why all of a sudden did the group name change right after those Marquee shows? The group name didn't change because they felt like changing it. If Dreja says that he has the paperwork, that's good enough for me.

Just as important, why would Dreja leave himself open for a lawsuit if he made the paperwork public? This happened 40 years ago, nobody cares anymore and even I lost interest in it.

I run a much bigger publishing company than I had years ago - I have lots of things to worry about now - and this is so unimportant to me. I really don't care if people don't agree with what I presented - Jim, Chris and Keith's family are in full agreement with me. 3 against 1...case closed.

<undisclosed here>

Edited by SteveAJones

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All I can add is IMHO, it is entirely possible Dreja did issue a cease and desist order as

a matter of legal necessity (or for whatever reason) BUT that Jimmy was intent

on a name change regardless, as his vision for his group had little in common with the

sound and style of The Yardbirds. Again, the point of contention is if a cease and desist

order compelled Jimmy to change the name or if he did so regardless.

The Yardbirds do continue to tour using the name. Knowing the occasional disagreements

between them and Jimmy pertaining to recordings and what not over the past 40 years, I'm inclined to believe Dreja & McCarty retained their rights of ownership to the name

in 1966. I believe Jimmy was allowed to use it solely for the Scandanavian tour.

I have never seen any evidence to suggest they have requested Jimmy's permission to

use it. If Jimmy owned the name, such a request would have been forthcoming, indeed

necessary.

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The Yardbirds do continue to tour using the name. Knowing the occasional disagreements

between them and Jimmy pertaining to recordings and what not over the past 40 years, I'm inclined to believe Dreja & McCarty retained their rights of ownership to the name

in 1966. I believe Jimmy was allowed to use it solely for the Scandanavian tour.

Steve-

If they do still have their rights of ownership to the name, couldn't they override Jimmy's objections to the release of recordings such as the "Live Yardbirds" cd, especially if they had the blessing of Keith Relf's family?

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Steve-

If they do still have their rights of ownership to the name, couldn't they override Jimmy's objections to the release of recordings such as the "Live Yardbirds" cd, especially if they had the blessing of Keith Relf's family?

In September 1971 Jimmy filed an injunction against Epic Records one week after the release of the album 'Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page'

On February 15, 1977 Epic Records destroyed the masters, parts, and lacquers for the 'Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page' album. Jimmy eventually received Epic's master tapes in the 1980s.

In December 2000 Jimmy cancelled a meeting established to resolve 'Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page' royalties and ownership issues.

On January 22, 2001 Jimmy suggested to the other principles that he produce an album of all the Yardbirds Anderson Theatre and New York studio tracks. This offer was has yet to be accepted.

As you can see, generally speaking any Yardbirds release featuring Jimmy requires his authorization for commercial sale, while any he wishes to release featuring them requires consensus from Dreja, McCarty, Samwell-Smith and Keith Relf's estate. It's strictly business and the coordination can be complicated. Their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1/15/92) led to a flurry of authorized releases which otherwise may have languished on shelves in a vault.

It should be said I don't sense any real animosity amongst them. Jimmy even attended a reunited Yardbirds gig at the 100 Club in London (September 25, 1996), and while he spent most of the evening in the company of Jeff Beck he did call Chris (Dreja) the next day to compliment him on the performance.

Edited by SteveAJones

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In December 2000 Jimmy cancelled a meeting established to resolve 'Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page' royalties and ownership issues.

On January 22, 2001 Jimmy suggested to the other principles that he produce an album of all the Yardbirds Anderson Theatre and New York studio tracks. This offer was has yet to be accepted.

Wow- I never heard this before! I thought he was completely soured on the Anderson Theatre recording because of terrible recording technique, jet lag, etc., so I'm surprised he offered to produce another album of this plus studio tracks. I wish Dreja & McCarty had agreed!

I would guess the meeting re Live Yardbirds was maybe to discuss the Mooreland Street reissue which had come out around late August/ early Sept 2000 & was withdrawn immediately?

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Wow- I never heard this before! I thought he was completely soured on the Anderson Theatre recording because of terrible recording technique, jet lag, etc., so I'm surprised he offered to produce another album of this plus studio tracks. I wish Dreja & McCarty had agreed!

I would guess the meeting re Live Yardbirds was maybe to discuss the Mooreland Street reissue which had come out around late August/ early Sept 2000 & was withdrawn immediately?

Jimmy doesn't like the "bullfight cheering" and crowd "applause" which was dubbed in. He

wanted to remaster it to take that garbage out. IMHO, Jimmy's performance is strong but The Yardbirds are arguably on last legs as they already knew it was their final tour.

The Anderson Theater gig (3/30/68) was only the third date of that tour which ran thru 6/5/68. Their performance the day before at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY was

delayed until 9:30pm on account of a snowstorm, and they may have been slightly

jet-lagged from the flight over but even so, it's not like they were doing duckwalks and

lazers all night long. Besides, they had the next four days off (before going into the

Epic and Columbia studios for four days).

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Steve-

If they do still have their rights of ownership to the name, couldn't they override Jimmy's objections to the release of recordings such as the "Live Yardbirds" cd, especially if they had the blessing of Keith Relf's family?

Ownership of a name and ownership of rights associated with a recording are 2 separate things.

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In the book 'YARDBIRDS The Ultimate Rave-Up' author Greg Russo states there was a cease and desist order. Was Page content to continue working under that name in October '68 before the new band had an album success or their first American tour lauded as 'sensational?' I think he was however had he any inkling of how huge Zep would be in a year he'd've probably never booked the band as the Yardbirds again after Scandinavia.

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In the book 'YARDBIRDS The Ultimate Rave-Up' author Greg Russo states there was a cease and desist order. Was Page content to continue working under that name in October '68 before the new band had an album success or their first American tour lauded as 'sensational?' I think he was however had he any inkling of how huge Zep would be in a year he'd've probably never booked the band as the Yardbirds again after Scandinavia.

IMHO, absolutely not as I've already explained in posts #3 & 5 of this thread. Certainly

he realized at the end of the Scandanavian tour the new lineup and his musical vision

had little in common with what had gone before. His mid-Oct '68 meeting with George

Hardie to incorporate the iconic Hindenburg (Zeppelin) disaster image into their first album cover seemingly confirms intent to make a definite change in the name & artistic direction. Any impact from Dreja's cease and desist order, if in fact one was ever filed, is forever arguable.

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None of my opinions are etched in stone, I like to promote discussion and others' opinions can only reshape and add to (and expand) my own. Steve, I read enough posts here to know you know what you're talking about. Intangibles 40 years gone will forever remain arguable or, I prefer, discussable. Is that a word? But the argument you brought to the table about Hardie's being conscripted for the Zeppelin emblem persuaded me. I know enough about the Zep timeline to be persuaded. And Jim could not be unaware of what he had on his hands.

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None of my opinions are etched in stone, I like to promote discussion and others' opinions can only reshape and add to (and expand) my own. Steve, I read enough posts here to know you know what you're talking about. Intangibles 40 years gone will forever remain arguable or, I prefer, discussable. Is that a word? But the argument you brought to the table about Hardie's being conscripted for the Zeppelin emblem persuaded me. I know enough about the Zep timeline to be persuaded. And Jim could not be unaware of what he had on his hands.

I still consider Greg a friend and I'll never call Chris (Dreja) a liar. There's an awful lot of water under the bridge between the Yardbirds and Jimmy and the water is quite muddy.

Jimmy had a definite vision in mind when he assembled the new lineup and it had little

to do with The Yardbirds sound, image or legacy. I don't argue a cease and desist order was filed, but IMHO a change of name was inevitible regardless. The point of contention then is what impact, if any, did the cease and desist order have on Jimmy's band. I say virtually none given Jimmy's intentions while Chris maintains it was a necessary action

which compelled him to change the name.

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Agree with every word, mate.

If I may play devil's advocate . . . Extant folklore gives the impression that Page had doubts about Zeppelin early on (particularly in the vocal department) thinking the band might last only a couple of albums. Regardless of that minutiae I doubt Page, Grant or anyone in the Zeppelin organization had a clue in little more than a year their untried endeavor would overtake The Stones' and Beatles' best efforts in the charts. Making it is one thing, but eclipsing the best has to offer at the top their game (Let It Bleed & Abbey Road)? Crikey! You'd think someone had sold their soul or something.

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I wouldn't think that Jimmy would care to much about the Yardbirds name after it was changed to Led Zeppelin and I've read where he was friends with Dreja and wasn't Dreja nearly the original choice for bassist before he went to photography, and didn't he photograph the picture on the back of Led Zeppelin I?

I doubt Jimmy really cared about the use of the Yardbirds after he started working in Zeppelin. And seeing that the Yardbirds didn't reform or tour in anyway till the 1990s I bet any contractual obligation by Page would have been long gone by then.

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I've had a few Bonham Lagers while blasting the 8-31-71 Orlando bootleg all afternoon so forgive any unclear sentences on my part, Nick. The contractural obligation I meant were the September 7th to 17th shows the band played in Scandinavia in 1968. Those were what Page had permission to employ The Yardbirds name for. After that: "Cor! We went down like a bloody lead zeppelin!"

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If I may play devil's advocate . . . Extant folklore gives the impression that Page had doubts about Zeppelin early on (particularly in the vocal department) thinking the band might last only a couple of albums.

I would agree he had doubts insofar as what level of success they'd achieve, but I don't think he ever doubted himself or his true will. Peter Grant of course had absolute faith

and confidence in Jimmy's judgement and abilities.

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Again I concur, Steve. I could hear it on the first Anderson Theater record I picked up in 1971 or 2, (scarce as that album is I've had three since.) Page was overwhelming the Yardies with his talent by 1968 yet I doubted he thought he'd locate three players his equal in two months, if ever. Especially freakin' Bonzo! Beck had Mickey Waller, Hendrix had Mitch and Clapton had Ginger but Page had only just become acquainted with a kid who made those drummers sound, well uh with all due respect, quaint. With Jones holding down a bottom a mile wide the four members of Zep knew from the first notes of Train Kept A'Rollin' (permit me to quote Johnny Baldwin verbatim here) "It was heavy, man."

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You are right.. Page initially recruited Dreja for bass.., but like you said, went into photography and suggested JPJ instead. Makes you wonder what Dreja thinks of that desicion now!?

As far as the discussion at had, I know Cole isn't always credited as being the most fact-oriented guy, but I believe his book Stairway to Heaven had something about contractual obligations.. just can't remember what exactly <_<

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Makes you wonder what Dreja thinks of that desicion now!?

If Page successfully recruited Terry Reid, B.J. Wilson and Chris Dreja as originally planned there wouldn't be a website about them 40 years after the fact.

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If Dreja says that he has the paperwork, that's good enough for me.

That's such a ridiculous statement, especially since the source allegedly works in the field of journalism. It would be one thing if Dreja said that he lost the paperwork and that he's just going by his memory. Fine, that's plausible. But Dreja basically said "I've got the paperwork right here, but I won't show you, even if it's off the record." No self-respecting journalist, editor, or publisher would ever accept that answer at face value.

Just as important, why would Dreja leave himself open for a lawsuit if he made the paperwork public?

Equally ridiculous. Since when can you get sued for showing proof that you threatened to sue someone?

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Since when can you get sued for showing proof that you threatened to sue someone?

When you use the threat to sue as a way to intimidate someone from exercising their rights.

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Jimmy doesn't like the "bullfight cheering" and crowd "applause" which was dubbed in. He

wanted to remaster it to take that garbage out. IMHO, Jimmy's performance is strong but The Yardbirds are arguably on last legs as they already knew it was their final tour.

Relf is not in good form that night, really, and the bullfight cheers are obnoxious. Relf and McCarty don't cut it very well on Dazed and Confused, albeit it's difficult to judge their version knowing what came after. Still, easy to see why Dreja and Page were wanting to continue while Relf and McCartey wanted to call it quits. The Page-Terry Reid Dazed is miles more interesting than the Yardbirds version.

Another point -- in the '80s, the Yardbirds put out The Box of Frogs record. It would make sense that the hope among Dreja, Samwell Smith and McCarty that the Yardbirds name could have been used, but obviously those issues could not be resolved, apparently, hence The Box of Frogs. Page and Beck played on that record, so, SteveAJones, was the arrangement along the lines of, well, you can't publish the name with this album unless we resolve these other issues but if we can't resolve these other issues, we'll help you on the record nonetheless -- but you'll have to call it something else.

Box of Frogs = Can of Worms??? :blink:

Edited by Mercurious

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Page and Beck played on that record, so, SteveAJones, was the arrangement along the lines of, well, you can't publish the name with this album unless we resolve these other issues but if we can't resolve these other issues, we'll help you on the record nonetheless -- but you'll have to call it something else.

The thing to remember about Box of Frogs is although it did feature three of the original Yardbird members in the core lineup, it also featured vocalist John Fiddler, who was not

previously associated with The Yardbirds. This band was put together to perform new

music as opposed to playing the classics.

Jimmy did not contribute to their eponymous album released in 1984, he contributed to

their follow-up album Stangeland released in 1986.

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