Thursday, January 12, 2023


This is unfinished, a work in progress. The Yardbirds' "Heart Full Of Soul" is one of my all-time favorite tracks--Top 40 at least, probably Top 10. When I first began to pursue the idea of a Greatest Record Ever Made! book, I absolutely planned to include a chapter about "Heart Full Of Soul." Book it! No pun intended (nor accomplished).

But I never quite figured out what I want to say about the song, so that chapter never gelled to my satisfaction. I put it aside, separate from my current blueprint for the still-proposed book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), with intent to return to it for the hypothetical GREM! Volume 2.

The unexpected passing of guitar legend Jeff Beck prompts me to want to share this embryonic sample of what I have written about this wonderful record. This coming Sunday's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl was already programmed and recorded before we heard the news of Beck's death. We will be playing some Jeff Beck material on our January 22nd show.

For now: An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

THE YARDBIRDS: Heart Full Of Soul
Written by Graham Gouldman
Produced by Georgio Gomelsky
Single, Columbia Records [UK]/Epic Records [USA], 1965

The Yardbirds' "Heart Full Of Soul" is a permanent fixture in my Hot 100. Significantly in the development of my pop cosmology, it was the Flashcubes' live cover of that very song during my first 'Cubes show in 1978 that made me realize that the Flashcubes were always gonna be stars in my eyes. Later on, when the 'Cubes played a private gig in a fellow fan's garage on July 1st, 1979, I stumbled forward and delivered an urgent, drunken song request to guitarist Paul ArmstrongYARDBIRDS!! At PA's direction, the Flashcubes then did "Heart Full Of Soul" live for the first time in over a year. After that, bassist Gary Frenay asked Paul why he'd suddenly added a Yardbirds song to the set; Carl said! was his response.

"Heart Full Of Soul" was the first Yardbirds song I ever heard, courtesy of Utica, NY's WOUR-FM in 1977. It was part of my 1970s embrace and exultation of the '60s, particularly the British Invasion, that same whoosh of delighted discovery that hooked me on the Kinks. A clip of the Yardbirds performing "Heart Full Of Soul" was included in Rock Of The '60s, a presentation of vintage rock videos put on by Syracuse University one night in '77. I scored a used Yardbirds Greatest Hits LP at the flea market or somesuch, and I've never been without my own copy of "Heart Full Of Soul" since then.

I'm a fan of the Yardbirds. I love "Over Under Sideways Down," I love "Evil Hearted You," I love "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and "Little Games" and "Still I'm Sad." I love "For Your Love," the hit song that made blues purist schmuck Eric Clapton flee the group. I liked the Yardbirds better with Clapton's replacement, Jeff Beck. In fact, I love the Yardbirds with Beck more than I like anything his predecessor Clapton or his de facto successor Jimmy Page did at any point in their celebrated post-Yardbirds careers. And it ain't even close.

(When the Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Beck's acceptance speech found him deadpanning something like, "I'm told I should feel honored. But I don't. They fired me. Fuck them." 

Most of all, I love "Heart Full Of Soul." It has a hook. It has that riff. Like the Bevis Frond's "He'd Be A Diamond," it has the hopeless regret of lost love. And it has a chorus that would almost sound like a suicide note if it weren't so damned catchy. It's...everything.

And it's The Greatest Record Ever Made. Deep in dark despair, the riff cuts through. 

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This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

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