The Birds were one of the hard-luck outfits in the annals of '60s British rock. By reputation, they were one of the top R&B-based outfits in England during the mid-'60s, with a sound as hard and appealing as the Who, the Yardbirds, or the Small Faces. In contrast to a lot of other acts that never charted a hit, the Birds are remembered slightly by some serious fans, and are mentioned in several history books -- but for entirely the wrong reasons. The Birds are remembered for the fact that Ron Wood got his start in the band before moving on to bigger things with the Faces and the Rolling Stones; and that they shared a name, albeit spelled differently, with an American band of considerable prominence. Nobody knows a lot about their music, however, which, on record, consisted of fewer than a dozen songs. Ron Wood (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Tony Munroe (guitar, vocals), and Kim Gardner (bass) grew up within a block of each other, along with original drummer Bob Langham (succeeded by Pete Hocking, aka Pete McDaniels), and had gotten together with lead singer Ali McKenzie to form a band in 1964, while all were in their teens. They were based in Yiewsley in West London, and played the local community center regularly, building up a serious following, which led to their turning professional. The name the Birds came about when they were forced to change their original name, the Thunderbirds, owing to the name of Chris Farlowe's backing band of the period. Their music was hard R&B with a real edge to to it, and was good enough to get them into in a battle-of-the-bands contest held under the aegis of Ready, Steady, Go, the weekly music showcase series. They didn't win, but got a television appearance out of it, on which they were spotted by executives from Decca -- a contract followed, resulting in the recording of their first single, "You Don't Love Me," in November of 1964. Early the following spring, they tried again with a second single, "Leaving Here," which they got to perform on television.