The Great Yardbirds Adventure, or Missed Connections in the Summer of Love

By Carol Murphy Starkey

After graduating from high school in 1965, we were much too sophisticated to keep going to all those temples of teenage frenzy that had thus far defined our lives.  Now the music was our focus.  That lead us to the Surf Nantasket, one of the greatest places in the Boston area for great, accessible music.  The Surf was basically one large space, minimal seating, and a stage at one end.  If the band drew a large and rowdy crowd, like the Kingsmen, you would get there early so you would be right in front of the stage. Of course, if the crowd surged, you were in danger of being squashed or broken.  It was a risk worth taking.

It was 1967 and I was 20 when the Yardbirds played the Surf.  At the time, I was madly in love with Jim [Sawyers], the lead guitar player for the Syndicate of Sound whom I had met at Holy Cross and who had been touring with the Yardbirds.  Jim told me I should go see them and say hello to their road manager, Brian, (I think) who he had been friendly with on the tour.  The Yardbirds were incredible and as they left the stage, I managed to grab Brian.  I had always heard that love is blind, but now I know it is also stupid.  I blew my one chance to meet the Yardbirds! I ignored Jimmy Page for just some random, nice guy!

Well, the show was over, but the adventure continued.  We were thinking how cool we were after making contact with the band (sort of).  We noticed a group of slightly geeky, clean cut guys sitting against the wall and decided to go over and talk to them.  They turned out to be Every Mother’s Son.  They came to see the Yardbirds and were also hoping to see Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys who were playing a club in Harvard Square.  They didn’t know how to get to Cambridge, so we led the way.  We found the club, but either the show was over or they were off that night, so we spent some time in a coffee shop and finally went home.

Thanks to Jim who recommended artists to watch for, we saw Cream and Sly and the Family Stone before they were discovered by the masses.  In those days, life was an adventure and our Yardbirds night was one of the best.  It was way better than the day in Provincetown where we met an interesting, long-haired young man who claimed to be one of the Barbarians and never wore underwear. Neither claim was ever verified.
What a great time to be growing up!

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