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Keith Relf

Keith Relf was born on 22/03/1943 in Richmond, Surrey, England. His full birth name was William Keith Relf. In 1956, Relf started playing in bands as a singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
In 1963, Relf formed what would become the band called The Yardbirds with Paul Samwell-Smith, Anthony 'Top' Topham, Chris Deja and Jim McCarty. Relf and Samwell Smith were originally in a band named the Metropolitan Blues Quartet before joining the new band. The Yardbirds proved to be very successful. Relf contributed blues harp as well as lead vocals. Relf co-wrote many of the original Yardbirds songs including "Shapes of Things", "I Ain't Done Wrong", "Over Under Sideways Down" and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago".
In 1966, Relf released his debut solo single called "Mr Zero" which reached number 50 on the UK chart.
In 1968, The Yardbirds split up and Relf formed an acoustic duo called Together with Jim McCarty. The duo turned into a quintet when they were joined by bassist Louis Cennamo, pianist John Hawken and Relf's sister Jane Relf. The new quintet was called Renaissance.
In 1969, Renaissance released their debut album called "Renaissance".
In 1970, Keith left Renaissance and started producing other artists. He would produce groups such as Steamhammer, folk-rock band Hunter Muskett, the acoustic world music group Amber, psychedelic band Saturnalia and blues-rock band Medicine Head.
In 1974, Relf formed the progressive/rock group Armageddon with drummer Bobby Caldwell, guitarist Martin Pugh and bassist Louis Cennamo.
In 1975, Armageddon released their debut album called "Armageddon".
On 14/05/1976, Relf died from electrocution from playing an improperly earthed guitar in the basement of his home. Relf had had health issues which included emphysema and asthma which may have contributed to him not surviving the electric shock.
In 1992, Relf was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Yardbirds.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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