The Yardbirds albums and songs sales
The Yardbirds are far from being the most famous English rock band from mid-60s, yet they are definitely unique.
In the last Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, household names Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck ranked at 2, 3 and 5, respectively. In a span of 18 months, in 1965/1966, all 3 of them were part of the band’s line-up, although only the last two coincided.
When singer Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty left in 1968, Jimmy Page carried on initially as the New Yardbirds, before quickly changing his new groups name to, Led Zeppelin. The rest is history.
Today, we kick our Eric Clapton career review with the Yardbirds‘ CSPC, a band that launched big names but still had its own share of hits.
During their first spell, which went from 1963 to 1968, the Yardbirds released 7 albums of new material, a pair of which were recorded live, including their debut Five Live Yardbirds.
From March 1965 to March 1966, the band scored no less than 4 UK top 3 hits, with a pair of them making the top 10 in the US.
Their 4th album, Yardbirds, often named Roger the Engineer, is their most critically acclaimed effort, featuring inside lists like Rolling Stone‘s 500 greatest albums of all time.
Despite these elements, the band was short-lived and hasn’t face the test of time that well, so we wonder how successful they have really been.
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Yardbirds‘ albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will also determine their true popularity.
If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explanations. I fully recommend watching it before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the numbers directly.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. In the first place, there is this Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a pair of minutes.
If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.
Now let’s get into the artist’s sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!
Yardbirds Album Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
In their early years, the Yardbirds performed much better with their singles than with their albums. At the time, it was also still the norm to release distinct albums in the US and in the UK.
For Your Love was their first charted album in the US, with a #96 peak. Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds did better, going up to #53.
Yardbirds did sligthly better at #52, while becoming their first UK chart LP with a #20 peak.
With the small album market back then, and the flood of cheap compilations released in later years, these albums were never given a chance to amass relevant sales.
Their total is respectable, at 3.16 million, with Yardbirds performing the best thanks to over 1.16 million sales.
Please note that their 2003 comeback album Birdland, which sold 320,000 units, is listed later on among compilations as it mostly includes reworkings of their original hits.
Yardbirds songs sales
Below, we list down results from the artist through physical sales, digital sales and streaming.
Please be aware that when the artist is regarded as the lead act, he is rewarded with 100% of these units, while featured acts share among them a 50% piece of the totals.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
The Yardbirds first dented the UK charts in November 1964 with the single Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, a #44 hit.
Their real breakthrough came some months later though, in March 1965, with the release of For Your Love.
The song climbed as high as #3 in the UK and #6 in the US, it sold more than 1.4 million copies worldwide.
Ironically, Eric Clapton, who disagreed with the commercial route that the band was taking, left when the song came out.
Jeff Beck had replaced him when the recording of Heart Full of Soul took of, a song that would become their second transatlantic top 10 hit, peaking at #2 in the UK and #9 in the US, nearing a million sales in the world.
A quarter later, the band dropped Evil Hearted You / Still I’m Sad in the UK, a #3 hit, and I’m A Man in the US, a #17 single. Both releases topped 300,000 sales globally.
Pioneers of the Psychedelic rock movement, the Yardbirds followed this string of hits with Shapes Of Things, a song that doesn’t only include elements of the genre as their previous material, but includes them all, to the point that it is often seen as the first ever psychedelic rock hit.
A louder re-working of the song by Jeff Beck himself for the 1968 debut album of his later band the Jeff Beck Group is seen as a prototype of the upcoming heavy metal genre.
An 800,000 plus seller with #3 and #11 peaks in the UK and the UK, respectively, the song success is still nothing compared to its influence in the history of rock.
Over Under Sideways Down, that made it to #10 in the UK and #13 in the US, was their last sizable hit, with total sales exceeding 600,000 units.
With A-League session guitarist Jimmy Page joining the group, experimentations continued, but the chart success of the Yardbirds came to an abrupt end.
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, the first single with the Beck–Page pair, couldn’t make it into the top 25 neither in the US nor in the UK, selling only 325,000 copies in total. Subsequent singles failed to reach 200,000 sales.
The band moved over 5.3 million physical singles through its career.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1.5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
Obviously, downloads were never going to be favorable for a 60s band with no evergreen classic.
The strongest songs of the Yardbirds catalog are their initial breakthrough hit, For Your Love, and its follow up, Heart Full of Soul.
Both tracks top 300,000 sales, while Shapes of Things and Over, Under, Sideways, Down are in 6 digits too.
In the other side, songs like Evil Hearted You or Still I’m Sad are completely forgotten nowadays.
Across their discography, they moved 1.4 million units in this format.
Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube. To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.
In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.
– South Korea: Genie streams * 2.20 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan: AWA streams * 68 / 4 (AWA has 4% of the Japanese streaming market, and 32% are already considered through Spotify’s extrapolation)
– Arabic world: Anghami streams
– Sub-Saharan Africa: Boomplay + Audiomack streams
– Elsewhere: Spotify streams * 649 / 406 (649 million subscribers of global platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, etc. against 406 million from Spotify itself) + Genie streams * 2.20 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views increased by 10% to account for various local platforms
*since Chinese streaming platforms are mostly video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream value – 1,500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 6,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 649/406 + Genie * 2.20 * 2 + AWA * 68 / 4 + Anghami + Boomplay + Audiomack ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube * 1.1 ) / 6750
Expectedly, the Yardbirds streams are similar to their digital sales. The leader this time is Heart Full of Soul yet, with Spotify streams in excess of 56 million and YouTube views over 11 million.
For Your Love enjoys decent numbers too, coming close to 40 million on Spotify. Nothing else touches 10 million though.
Full catalog breakdown
If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.
Keep yourself up to date
Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetchs updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!
Yardbirds compilations sales
It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.
All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP. Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.
The distribution process
How to understand this table? In the example of Blue Eyed Blues, these figures mean it sold 1,160,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 18,937 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.
The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package.
Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from the Five Live Yardbirds album are responsible for 54% of Blue Eyed Blues track list attractiveness. This means it generated 623,000 of its 1,150,000 album sales and so forth for the other records. We then apply this process to all compilations present on the table.
NB: the total doesn’t reach 100% as some tracks belong to Eric Clapton.
Compilations sales figures listing
With this list, we can understand why bands like the Yardbirds have no big selling studio album.
Of course, they aren’t that popular to start with, but the overwhelming volume of compilations which feature their songs make their original studio sets useless.
Many of these compilations are shared with later hits from the band’s previous members, this includes Eric Clapton, but also Jim McCarty, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
The top selling titles credited mainly to the Yardbirds have been 80s and 90s compilations that have been part of weekly series dedicated to the history of rock. The main such title, Blue Eyed Blues, sold over 1.1 million in Europe in 1995.
Full Length related records Sales – Summary
Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated.
Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.
These numbers are obtained by applying the method from the section The distribution process to all packages listed under Compilation sales figures listing category.
We can notice that although Yardbirds is their highest rated record, the ones which boosted the most compilation sales are the first 3 as they were sold as a piece of Eric Clapton‘s history.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
Yardbirds Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by the Yardbirds achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!
Albums CSPC results
In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.
|artist_spotify_id||#||Cover||Album||Studio albums (EAS)||sales_update_date||Other LPs (EAS)||Physical singles (units sold)||Digital singles (units sold)||Streams||Streams increase||Total EAS||valid_as_of||streams_updated_value||album_id|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||1||Five Live Yardbirds||645,000||21.09.22||1,902,000||120,000(400,000)||13,000(90,000)||16,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 10LD: 10||2,696,000||20,231,203||16,000||2,013|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||2||For Your Love||260,000||21.09.22||4,134,000||428,000(1,425,000)||56,000(380,000)||58,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 20LD: 10||4,957,000||20,231,203||58,000||2,014|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||3||Having a Rave Up||360,000||21.09.22||4,543,000||519,000(1,730,000)||90,000(600,000)||98,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 30LD: 20||5,712,000||20,231,203||98,000||2,015|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||4||Sonny Boy Williamson & the Yardbirds||290,000||21.09.22||231,000||0(0)||1,000(10,000)||3,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 0LD: 0||525,000||20,231,203||3,000||2,016|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||5||Yardbirds||1,160,000||21.09.22||267,000||182,000(605,000)||29,000(190,000)||22,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 10LD: 10||1,663,000||20,231,203||22,000||2,017|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||6||Little Games||440,000||21.09.22||156,000||54,000(180,000)||10,000(70,000)||11,000 (12/03/23)||Av.: 10LD: 20||671,000||20,231,203||11,000||2,018|
|2lxX1ivRYp26soIavdG9bX||7||Orphan (The Yardbirds)||0||21.09.22||397,000||172,000(573,000)||11,000(80,000)||8,000 (09/21/22)||N/A||588,000||20,231,203||8,000||2,019|
As a reminder:
- Studio Album: sales of the original album
- Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
- Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
- Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
- Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/6750 for Video stream)
Artist career totals
|All-Time Rank||Studio albums (EAS)||Other LPs (EAS)||Physical singles (units sold)||Digital singles (units sold)||Streams||Total EAS|
Obviously, the Yardbirds aren’t part of the A-League of top selling rock bands, with career sales of 16 million units across all avenues.
Considering the little amount of singles released and their short life, it isn’t a number to be ashamed of either.
Their top success is Having a Rave Up at 5.7 million, with For Your Love close behind at 5.0 million. Both numbers are fairly good.
All told, the Yardbirds add for 16.8 million equivalent album sales in their career.
Singles CSPC results
The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats. Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.
1. 1965 – The Yardbirds – For Your Love [For Your Love] – 4,150,000
2. 1965 – The Yardbirds – Heart Full of Soul [Having a Rave Up] – 3,270,000
3. 1965 – The Yardbirds – Shapes of Things [Having a Rave Up] – 1,540,000
4. 1964 – The Yardbirds – Five Long Years [Five Live Yardbirds] – 980,000
5. 1966 – The Yardbirds – Over, Under, Sideways, Down [Yardbirds] – 940,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Yardbirds playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that their sales represent 8.00 million times the purchase of their entire discography. Coupled with their total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 66.
The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.
Dynamic Spotify Key Performance Indicators
Please note that numbers below are retrieved automatically, so they will evolve day by day unlike previously listed data which is valid as of the publication date of the article.
Current followers count: 940,335 900,000 followers have been reached on 05/17/23 800,000 followers have been reached on 09/03/21 700,000 followers have been reached on 09/22/20 600,000 followers have been reached on 07/29/20 >> Daily breakdown
Current streams count: 181,054,743 >> Daily breakdown
The Yardbirds is #6132 among the most streamed artists of all-time Popularity Rating: /100 >> Visit our Top 1,000 most streamed artists ranking >> Visit our Top 20 highest rated artists ranking
Current monthly listeners: 665,409 (Trend: -44,645) Global chart position: N/A The artist top 50 cities come from 21 distinct countries >> Global impact breakdown
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
You may be interested in…
… our Eric Clapton series
… best-selling artists, albums, and singles
We have created amazing cross-artists tops. Click to see all CSPC and raw sales results compiled so far!
… similar artists
To put figures into perspective, click to reach career breakdowns of classic rock artists: