The Yardbirds – Over, Under, Sideways, Down

The song starts loud with an eastern sounding riff by Jeff Beck. Jeff also plays the bass on this song. Over, Under, Sideways, Down peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100 and #10 in the UK in 1966. I will have to say it’s one of my favorite titles of all time. The song was written by the band.

Jim McCarty, he explained: “‘Over Under Sideways Down’ was about the situation of having a good time – a bit of decadence, really – in the ’60s. Cars and girls are easy to come by in this day and age, and laughing, drinking, smoking, whatever, till I’ve spent my wages, having fun.”

When Jeff Beck took Eric Clapton’s place in the Yardbirds he didn’t own a guitar… here is Jeff talking about it: “I actually didn’t have a guitar of my own, I was so hard up. The Yardbirds sort of sneaked Eric’s guitar out. He’d finished using the red Tele (Fender Telecaster)
and was using a Les Paul, so he didn’t care about the red Tele. The bands manager, said well, ‘You’d better use Eric’s guitar—we can’t afford to go out and buy one now.’ So I borrowed Eric’s for the first couple of gigs”.

From Songfacts

Jim McCarty, he explained: “‘Over Under Sideways Down’ was about the situation of having a good time – a bit of decadence, really – in the ’60s. Cars and girls are easy to come by in this day and age, and laughing, drinking, smoking, whatever, till I’ve spent my wages, having fun.”

The Yardbirds, who were one of the most famous British bands of the ’60s and employed at various times Jeff Beck (who played on this), Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, certainly did enjoy some rock and roll hedonism, but as McCarty explains, it wasn’t all fun. He told us: “It’s very much up and down. Yeah, it was very much like a microcosm of a life, really. Very extreme, because we’d go from being on top of the charts and going to fantastic places and traveling to places like California that were just our dream after being in a sort of post-war London, which was rather dismal and rather miserable. Suddenly we were going to sunny California where things were happening and things were rich and there were lovely girls and cars and everything. From that to sitting all night in a bus driving to a gig and not being able to stop and feeling absolutely wretched from being so tired. And getting on each other’s nerves and arguing. (laughing) So it’s very much the extreme life.” (Here’s our full interview with Jim McCarty.)

Three of The Yardbirds hits were written by Graham Gouldman “For Your Love,” “Evil Hearted You” and “Heart Full of Soul”), but most of their songs were group compositions, including this one. McCarty told Songfacts: “On ‘Over Under Sideways Down’ I think we all put in our bit. I put in a tune, somebody else said, ‘How about the state of things at the moment, it’s all over the place, so it’s sort of over, under, Sideways, down.'”

This was used in the 2009 movie Observe and Report.

 

Over, Under, Sideways, Down

(Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!)
Cars and girls are easy come by in this day and age.
Laughing, joking, dreams, weed smoking, till I’ve spent my wage.
When I was young, people spoke of immorality.
All the things they said were wrong are what I want to be.

(Hey!) Over, under, sideways, down,
(Hey!) I bounce a ball that’s square and round.
(Hey!) Over, under, sideways, down,
(Hey!) I bounce a ball that’s square and round.
When will it end? (When will it end?)
When will it end? (When will it end?)

(Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!)
I find comments ’bout my looks irrelativity.
Think I’ll go and have some fun, ’cause it’s all for free.
I’m not searchin’ for a reason to enjoy myself.
Seems it’s better done than argue with somebody else.

(Hey!) Over, under, sideways, down,
(Hey!) I bounce a ball that’s square and round.
(Hey!) Over, under, sideways, down,
(Hey!) I bounce a ball that’s square and round.
When will it end? (When will it end?)
When will it end? (When will it end?)

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

11 thoughts on “The Yardbirds – Over, Under, Sideways, Down”

    1. These mid-sixties songs are what I’ve mostly been listening to lately. Ever since I’ve watched that movie Pirate Radio…
      I love that eastern feeling to the intro.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s