The song was also recorded by Herman’s Hermits, Humble Pie, The Greg Kihn Band, Nils Lofgren, Fleetwood Mac, Chilly and Graham Gouldman himself.
Gouldman wrote the song at the age of 19 while working by day in a gentlemen’s outfitters near Salford Docks and playing by night with the semi-professional Manchester band the Mockingbirds. He said: “I was sleeping most of the time because I’d been gigging with the Mockingbirds the night before, and then during the day when I’d got any spare time I’d write in the shop. I used to shut up the shop at lunch time and sit in the back writing.”
He said he was prompted to begin writing songs for the band out of frustration in finding new material. “We went down to Denmark Street and went round all the publishers trying to find a song . . . we didn’t get any songs that we liked or we weren’t given any songs period and the Beatles had started and I thought ‘well, I’m gonna really have a crack at song-writing.’ I had dabbled a bit, but they were really my inspiration and gave me and I think a lot of other people the courage to actually do it. We all wanted to be like the Beatles. I wrote two songs and the record company we were with turned down one of the songs. The song they turned down was ‘For Your Love’, which eventually found its way to the Yardbirds.”
Gouldman’s manager, Harvey Lisberg, was so impressed by the song he told Gouldman they should offer it to the Beatles. “I said, ‘I think they’re doing alright in the songwriting department, actually’,” Gouldman recalled. Undeterred, Lisberg gave a demo of the song to publisher Ronnie Beck of Feldman’s, who took it to the Hammersmith Odeon, where the Beatles were performing. By coincidence the Yardbirds were also performing on a Christmas show at the venue and Beck played the song to their manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, and the band.
In 1965 The Mockingbirds began a regular warm-up spot for BBC TV’s Top of the Pops, transmitted from Manchester. Gouldman recalled: “There was one strange moment when The Yardbirds appeared on the show doing ‘For Your Love’. Everyone clamoured around them – and there I was just part of an anonymous group. I felt strange that night, hearing them play my song.”
Despite the success “For Your Love” gave The Yardbirds, it signaled the departure of guitarist Eric Clapton, who played on the track with strong reluctance. Dismayed with the group’s shift from R&B to pop, Clapton left the Yardbirds to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Speaking with Songfacts in a 2010 interview, Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty stuck up for the song. He said: “‘For Your Love’ was an interesting song, it had an interesting chord sequence, very moody, very powerful. And the fact that it stopped in the middle and went into a different time signature, we liked that, that was interesting. Quite different, really, from all the bluesy stuff that we’d been playing up till then. But somehow we liked it. It was original and different.”
The song was featured in the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and in the 2009 film The Boat That Rocked.
Edited by Tedtrivia on 1 Jan 2011, 19:25
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