13 Incredible Bands Similar To The Yardbirds

Written by Dan Farrant

The Yardbirds, a powerhouse of 1960s blues-rock, are renowned for featuring groundbreaking guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. Songs such as “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul” rocked the airwaves during their era.

If you’re searching for bands echoing the same blues rock and psychedelic influence The Yardbirds demonstrated, look no further!

In this blog post, we will explore 13 incredible bands like The Yardbirds. Get ready to discover new sounds, timeless classics, and perhaps your next favorite band. Let’s dive into the music!

The Yardbirds by Corentin Lamy (CC BY-SA 3.0)

1. The Rolling Stones

We begin with an enduring symbol of rock and roll: The Rolling Stones. Formed in London in 1962, they played a monumental role in the British Invasion of music, fusing rhythm and blues with rock, soul, and even psychedelic music—a sound that has influenced The Yardbirds.

The Rolling Stones’ rise to fame began in the early 1960s, playing at local clubs around London. Their spirited performances and unique sound quickly gained them a following.

Their 1965 hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” catapulted them to international stardom, topping charts of both the US and the UK. Other songs that became fan-favorites are “Paint It, Black” and “Angie.”

The Rolling Stones’ enduring popularity and influence underscore their status as one of the most important bands in rock history. They were awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll and the UK Music Halls of Fame in 1989 and 2004, respectively.

2. The Kinks

Another London band that became an iconic group during the 1960s is The Kinks. Formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in 1963, their influences were similar to that of The Yardbirds—R&B—but with a touch of British rock charm.

Their rise to stardom began with their third single, “You Really Got Me,” which topped the UK charts in 1964 and also broke into the top 10 in the United States. This success was followed by other hits like “Tired of Waiting for You,” “Sunny Afternoon,” and “Lola.”

Despite facing a ban from performing in the United States between 1965 and 1969 due to behavioral issues on stage, they continued to produce beloved music and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, acknowledging their significant contribution to the music industry.

3. The Who

British rock band The Who shares similarities with The Yardbirds through their blues-rock music influences. The original lineup included Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Formed in 1964, they rose in popularity during the British Invasion of the ’60s and ’70s.

Their rise to fame was marked by their innovative concept of rock operas, most notably Tommy, in 1969, and Quadrophenia, in 1973. Their hit singles, such as “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” are considered anthems of the rock genre.

The Who were known for their energetic and sometimes destructive live performances. Their habit of smashing their instruments at the end of shows became a trademark of their concerts, adding to their reputation as a rebellious rock band.

Over the years, the band faced several challenges, including the untimely deaths of Moon and Entwistle. Despite these setbacks, remaining members Daltrey and Townshend continued to produce music and perform, keeping the spirit of The Who alive.

4. Cream

Formed in London, 1966, we have next the rock band Cream, consisting of three legendary musicians: bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker.

Cream’s music was characterized by a fusion of blues, psychedelic rock, and hard rock, similar to The Yardbirds.

The band released four albums between 1966 and 1969: Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire, and Goodbye. Some of their most well-known songs include “Sunshine of Your Love,” “White Room,” and “Crossroads.”

Despite their short lifespan as a band, Cream had a significant impact on the music industry. They sold over 15 million albums worldwide and were known for their extensive improvisation during live performances. Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, solidifying their place in rock history.

5. Led Zeppelin

Formed by Jimmy Page after the breakup of The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin rose to fame in London in 1968. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of hard rock and heavy metal.

Akin to The Yardbirds, their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, folk music, and even Eastern music. Their blend of musical styles and innovative songwriting set them apart from their contemporaries and helped them to achieve enormous commercial success.

Led Zeppelin’s discography includes numerous well-known songs, such as “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Immigrant Song,” and “Kashmir.”

Despite the band’s dissolution following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980, Led Zeppelin’s influence on the music industry remains significant. They have sold over 200 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling music artists in history.

6. The Animals

Another band that goes hand in hand with The Yardbirds is The Animals. Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, they were part of the British Invasion bands that took America by storm in the 1960s.

The Animals are best known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, as displayed in their signature song and transatlantic #1 hit single, “House of the Rising Sun,” as well as by hits such as “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “It’s My Life,” “I’m Crying,” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

Despite having disbanded in 1969 after a decade-long career together (with numerous personnel changes), there is no denying their impact on popular music during their heyday. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, highlighting their impact on popular music.

7. The Hollies

Coming out a year before The Yardbirds, The Hollies is another band who enjoyed popularity during the British Invasion. While The Yardbirds represented a heavier side of British rhythm and blues with their guitar-heavy sound, The Hollies had a more melodic approach to rock and roll.

Some of The Hollies’ most popular songs include “Bus Stop,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” Their music often featured upbeat, optimistic lyrics and fun melodies, making them a favorite on both sides of the Atlantic.

Despite not having the same level of critical acclaim as some of their peers, The Hollies had an impressive run on the charts. In recognition of their contribution to popular music, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

8. The Pretty Things

Our next band, Pretty Things, was a contemporary of The Yardbirds, formed during the same year: 1963. They played a significant role in the development of British rock and roll.

Pretty Things was initially part of the British R&B scene, but their music evolved over time to incorporate other genres, including psychedelic rock and hard rock.

They’re often noted for their 1968 album S.F. Sorrow, one of the first rock operas, predating The Who’s Tommy by several months. Some of their most well-known songs include “Rosalyn,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and “Private Sorrow.”

Of note is the band’s collaboration with members of The Yardbirds called The Pretty Things/Yardbird Blues Band. Together, they created two albums: The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 and Wine, Women, Whiskey.

Despite their innovative music and cult following, Pretty Things didn’t achieve the same level of commercial success as some of their peers, like The Rolling Stones or The Beatles. The band officially disbanded in late 2018, but not before leaving a lasting legacy in the world of rock music.

9. The Small Faces

A contemporary to The Yardbirds, The Small Faces were a part of the London rock scene in the 1960s, known for their soulful sound that was heavily influenced by American R&B.

The band debuted with a self-titled album in 1966, which had the hit single “Sha-La-La-La-Lee.” However, perhaps their most ambitious work was the 1968 concept album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake.

This album is considered a classic of British psychedelia, featuring a mix of hard rock, early progressive rock, and narrative storytelling. The album’s title track and “Afterglow (Of Your Love)” are standout tracks and fan favorites.

Despite their significant success and strong fan base, the band experienced internal conflicts and management issues. In 1969, singer-songwriter/guitarist Steve Marriott departed to form Humble Pie, leading the remaining members to recruit Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, thus forming the band Faces.

10. The Troggs

Formed in Andover, Hampshire in 1964, rock band The Troggs was a significant player in the UK music scene of the ’60s. They are considered one of the pioneers of the garage rock genre.

The Troggs are perhaps best known for their hit song “Wild Thing,” which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in 1966. The song’s simple, three-chord structure and suggestive lyrics made it a classic of garage rock.

Their other hits include “With a Girl Like You,” “I Can’t Control Myself,” and “Love Is All Around,” the latter of which experienced renewed popularity when it was covered by Wet Wet Wet for the soundtrack to the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Despite experiencing a decline in commercial success after the 1960s, The Troggs continued to record and perform with various lineups into the 21st century.

Reg Presley, the band’s lead singer, retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 2013. The band has since continued to perform with a new lead singer, Chris Allen.

11. Them

Another band that fits the bill when it comes to bands like The Yardbirds is Them. Formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Them was known for their bluesy rock sound and powerful live performances.

The band had a series of hits in the UK, including “Baby, Please Don’t Go” and “Here Comes the Night,” but it was their song “Gloria” that has become their most enduring legacy. Written by Van Morrison, the song has been covered by numerous artists and is considered a classic of rock music.

However, despite their early success, the band was plagued by instability and frequent lineup changes. Morrison left the group in 1966 to pursue a solo career, after which Them continued to perform and record with various members until finally dissolving in 1972.

12. The Zombies

Penultimate on our list is The Zombies, who is a British Invasion band that gained popularity in the 1960s and became known for their mix of rock, soul, and jazz sound. They were contemporaries of The Yardbirds and shared similarities in their approach to music.

The Zombies scored it big in the US and the UK with songs like “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season.” Despite their success, the band broke up in 1968 shortly after the release of their critically acclaimed album Odessey and Oracle.

After the breakup of the original band, singer/keyboardist Rod Argent formed the band Argent and singer Colin Blunstone embarked on a successful solo career.

In the late 1990s, Argent and Blunstone began performing as The Zombies again and have continued to record and tour, often performing Odessey and Oracle in its entirety.

13. The Spencer Davis Group

In 1963, Spencer Davis got together with Pete York and brothers Steve Winwood and Muff Winwood to formed the British band The Spencer Davis Group. Like The Yardbirds, they blended blues, R&B, and rock.

The band’s breakthrough came with “Keep on Running” in 1965, which topped the UK Singles Chart. Other notable hits worth exploring are “Somebody Help Me,” “I’m a Man,” and “Gimme Some Lovin’,” which reached #2 in the UK and #7 in the US.

In 1967, Steve Winwood left the group to form Traffic. The Spencer Davis Group continued with various lineups. They eventually disbanded in 1969, although they would reunite several times in the ensuing years.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Yardbirds

There you have it, dear readers, bands echoing The Yardbirds’ sound. We hope this exploration of bands has proven useful in expanding your music playlist.

Even with their similarities, these groups each bring a unique flavor to the rock and blues sounds, making their works timeless pieces fans, old and new, enjoy.

If you feel we’ve overlooked a band that deserves recognition on this list, please let us know. We’re always eager to discover new music and update our recommendations.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.