Unfortunately being called The Birds in 1965 turned out to be a bad idea. Originally called The Thunderbirds they are most famous for having Ronnie Wood as a member pre-Faces – Kim Gardner of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke was also in the band. They changed their name to The Birds after appearing on the same bill as Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds in 1964. But by 1965 The Byrds from the USA had an international No.1 single with Mr. Tambourine Man, a new sound, as Folk Rock was challenging the English white, Motown influenced Mod groups of the mid sixties. How they dealt with the name clash was rather half-hearted – at the suggestion of Robert Stigwood they changed their name to The Birds Birds (it didn’t really work). Stigwood was the owner of their final label after three singles on Decca, Reaction Records.
Leaving Here was the band’s second single, a cover version of Holland/Dozier/Holland’s song and sung by writing team lyricist, Eddie Holland – it reached No.76 in the US chart in 1963. (Holland retired from performing to concentrate on writing due to stage fright). The Birds’ version of the song reached No.45 in the UK charts in 1965. The song has also been covered by The Who, Pearl Jam and Motorhead amongst others. (Lemmy had been a roadie for The Birds).
The Birds didn’t ever make an album, only releasing four singles in their short time together. Three for Decca and the last one under their new name for Reaction (the same label as Cream and The Who). They sounded something like The Who meets The Stones but despite their potential and a great lead singer in Ali McKenzie it all fell apart and Wood and Gardner briefly joined The Creation in 1967/68 before Wood joined Jeff Beck’s group (as bassist) then The Faces and then The Stones.
The clips below are Leaving Here followed by The Birds appearance in British horror movie The Deadly Bees. Last but not least, Eddie Holland’s original version of Leaving Here