Interview: British Invasion Songwriter Graham Gouldman (excerpt)

Interview: British Invasion Songwriter Graham Gouldman (excerpt)

“A combination of things happened.  I met Harvey [Lisberg, who managed Herman’s Hermits during their heyday].  We just hit a lucky… I say lucky… You’ve got to have a gift.  That’s one thing.  The fact that Harvey was so pushy and came out with such outrageous ideas at times… some of them worked and that’s his genius.  I’d met Harvey a few months’ before.  I was working in an outfitters’ shop and got the sack.  My parents were freaking out.  Harvey was the only person who said, ‘This is great.  I’ll pay you a retainer to write songs’ and within six months I had a record with the Yardbirds.  Gouldman is referring to “For Your Love” which he wrote while still a teenager.  Harvey wanted The Beatles to record ‘For Your Love’.  I said: ‘The Beatles don’t record other peoples’ songs.’  He said, ‘Yes they do.. And I said, ‘Yeah but those are established songs [like “Twist And Shout” and “Long Tall Sally”].’  They were doing those in their act for years.  Fact was, the Yardbirds were doing a Christmas show with the Beatles, supporting them at Hammersmith Odeon at the end of ’64. And Harvey sent the song to the publisher.  He knew the Yardbirds were looking for material and he played them ‘For Your Love’ and that was it.”

Eric Clapton played lead guitar on For Your Love only during the song’s middle break section and at that point quit the band because the pop tune was not aligned with his blues purist pursuit.

The Yardbirds introduced not one, not two, but three of Rock’s most skilled guitarists: Eric ClaptonJeff Beck and Jimmy Page all in the top 5 of Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 greatest guitarists.

Graham Gouldman‘s contribution as their hit songwriter broke the band on the world stage with not one, not two but three top 5 smash hits namely For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul and Evil Hearted You.

Towards the end of their short career, The Yardbirds fired Jeff Beck and began experimenting with another Graham Gouldman penned song called You Stole My Love.  Here’s their instrumental demo:

Here’s Graham Gouldman‘s version by aptly-named Mockingbirds featuring future 10cc co-founder Kevin Godley on drums:

The Mockingbirds released it on Andrew Loog Oldham‘s Immediate Records but it was not a hit.  I sometimes wonder if The Yardbirds’ version would have been a hit had it been completed and released?