I Answer Your Music Questions, Part VI
Q: Who plays guitar on The Yardbirds song I'M A MAN? Clapton, Beck or Page?
A: I'M A MAN was a #17 hit for The Yardbirds in 1965. The Yardbirds recorded a live version of I'M A MAN for their 1964 debut album “Five Live Yardbirds” with Eric Clapton on lead guitar. However, in 1965 after Clapton was replaced by Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds went back into the studio and recorded a fresh, new studio version with Beck on lead. The studio version was released as a single and became their third Top 20 hit, following their Top Ten HEART FULL OF SOUL. There are other recorded live versions with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as well. You can find Page's version on the album “Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page” recorded in 1968 (the same year he formed Led Zeppelin) but released in 1971. I'M A MAN was written by Bo Diddley who first recorded it in 1955. Bo had a hard time recording the song, doing take-after-take because he couldn't get the timing right on the line “I'm a man; I spell M...A...N...man.” Bo got the inspiration for the song from the Muddy Waters 1954 tune "Hoochie Coochie Man.” According to Yardbird member Chris Dreja, after the Yardbirds left the studio after recording I'M A MAN, Bo Diddley showed up demanding royalties for the song.