Box of Frogs

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Box of Frogs
Years active1983–1986
Associated actsThe Yardbirds
Past members

Box of Frogs were an English rock band formed in 1983 by former members of the Yardbirds, who released their first album in 1984.[1] The core group consisted of Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty.[1] Vocals on their eponymous album were done by John Fiddler, formerly of Medicine Head and British Lions;[1] on the second album Fiddler sang on five tracks with guests including Graham Parker, Ian Dury and Roger Chapman singing lead on the others. Many musicians guested on their albums (including Rory Gallagher, Earl Slick and Mark Feltham), with several tracks featuring Steve Hackett. Former Yardbirds guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page guested on their first and second albums respectively.[1]

The group formation and name were explained on the sticker affixed to original LP releases:

On June 23, 1983, as part of London's historic Marquee Club's 25th Anniversary celebrations, three original Yardbirds – Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty – found themselves together on stage again. This same venue had been a regular nightspot for the legendary guitar-based blues-rock band that was the springboard for the likes of Clapton, Beck and Page.

For Paul, Chris and Jim, the reunion made them realize they had to make more music in the Yardbirds' tradition. They added Medicine Head's John Fiddler on vocals to form the nucleus of the band. On Christmas Eve 1983, Jeff Beck joined them at a recording session at a farmhouse south of London and added his unique touch to four of the tracks. As other old friends jumped into the sessions the idea for the group's new name came about. Now with a fresh spirit and basic rock and roll roots there is a new band from across the pond.

The group showed promise on the first album of rock radio friendly tunes, featuring Jeff Beck. The album was popular on college campuses. Plans were made for a US tour, but it is alleged that Samwell-Smith, Dreja, and McCarty hated the idea of the tour, much to John Fiddler's dismay.[citation needed] Jeff Beck, who along with Dzal Martin was considered as the lead guitarist for such a tour, was reportedly disgusted at his ex-bandmates' refusal to tour America. He took no part on the second album, Strange Land (1986), and Fiddler barely chose to do so before walking out. "Asylum" is one of the few songs Fiddler sang on, and was the only one featuring Page.

The group's two albums, Box of Frogs (1984) and Strange Land (1986), were combined for release on a single CD by Renaissance Records in 1996.[2] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four and a half out of five stars, although he commented:

Both albums are rather uneven and a little undistinguished, yet they may appeal to fans of mainstream AOR hard rock from the early '80s. For Yardbirds fans, this is essentially a curiosity, since it doesn't have the spark, sound or style of the Yardbirds, despite featuring Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja and Paul Samwell-Smith.[2]



Box of Frogs (1984)

  1. Back Where I Started (3:54) (P. Samwell-Smith, C Dreja, J McCarty, J Fiddler)
  2. Harder (3:44) (J Fiddler, R Majors)
  3. Another Wasted Day (4:12) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  4. Love Inside You (2:47) (J Fiddler)
  5. The Edge (4:02) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  6. Two Steps Ahead (4:33) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  7. Into The Dark (4:07) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  8. Just A Boy Again (5:38) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  9. Poor Boy (4:26) (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty, J Fiddler)
  • All lead vocals by John Fiddler.
  • Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith

Strange Land (1986)

  1. Get it While You Can (G. O'Connor) Graham Parker, lead vocals
  2. You Mix Me Up (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) John Fiddler, lead vocals (?)
  3. Average (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) Ian Dury, lead vocals
  4. House on Fire (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) John Fiddler, lead vocals
  5. Hanging from the Wreckage (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) John Fiddler, lead vocals
  6. Heart Full of Soul (G Gouldman) Roger Chapman, lead vocals
  7. Asylum (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) John Fiddler, lead vocals
  8. Strange Land (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) Roger Chapman (?)
  9. Trouble (Samwell-Smith, Dreja, McCarty) John Fiddler, lead vocals
  • Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith


  • "Back Where I Started" / "The Edge" - 1984 (UK)
  • "Back Where I Started" / "Nine Lives" / "The Edge" - 1984 (UK - 12-inch)
  • "Into The Dark" / "X-tracks medley": "Two Steps Ahead" / "Just A Boy Again" / "Harder" / "Another Wasted Day" / "Back Where I Started" - 1984 (UK)
  • "Into The Dark" / "X-tracks medley" - 1984 (UK - 12-inch)
  • "Two Steps Ahead" / "The Edge" - 1984 (US)
  • "Two Steps Ahead" / "Two Steps Ahead" - 1984 (US - 12-inch promo)
  • "Average" / "Strange Land" / "I Keep Calling" - 1986 (UK - 12-inch)
  • "Heart Full of Soul" - 1986 (Netherlands)

Transcription discs[edit]

  • Interchords - 1984



  • John Fiddler - lead and backing vocals, guitars, percussion, synthesizers
  • Chris Dreja - rhythm guitar, percussion, occasional backing vocals
  • Paul Samwell-Smith - bass guitar, backing vocals, percussion, synthesizers
  • Jim McCarty - drums, percussion, backing vocals

Guest musicians

Box of Frogs:

Strange Land:


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 170/1. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Box of Frogs/Strange Land – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2019.

External links[edit]