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Newly Published: Heart Full of Soul

New on our bookshelf:

Heart Full of Soul: Keith Relf of the Yardbirds

David French

This is the first full-length biography of Keith Relf, frontman for the Yardbirds and one of the great tragic characters in rock history. Keith’s moody vocals and harmonica helped to define the Yardbirds’ sound on a string of innovative hit records in the 1960s that influenced garage rock, psychedelia, blues rock, hard rock and heavy metal. Numerous books have been written about the Yardbirds’ famous guitarists—Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page—yet Keith has remained a mysterious and elusive figure since his death by electrocution at age 33.
A deeply private person, prone to depression and poor health, Keith was ill-suited to the life of a rock star. In the years following the Yardbirds’ breakup, as the band’s guitarists became household names playing blues-based rock, Keith insisted on pursuing new musical paths, always searching for something new and trying to extend the Yardbirds’ spirit of curiosity and innovation. By the time of his death in 1976, Keith was nearly forgotten and struggling physically, emotionally and financially. More than forty years after his tragic death, this important artist’s story has finally been written and his contributions celebrated as more than just a footnote to the careers of his better-known bandmates.