Anthony ‘Top’ Topham, the founding guitarist Yardbirdshas died at the age of 75.
The rocker’s passing was confirmed via a statement from his publicist.
“Sanderson Rasjid, born Antony ‘Top’ Topham, passed away peacefully on Monday 23rd January surrounded by his family,” it read in part. “He was born in London on 3 July 1947, was 75 years old and had battled dementia his whole life. last year.”
Topham was only 15 years old when he founded the Yardbirds in 1963 with his schoolmates, singer Keith Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, drummer Jim McCarty and rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja. Topham left the band within a year to focus on his art education and was replaced by Eric Claptonthe first of three Yardbirds lead guitarists (along with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page), which would go on to worldwide fame.
“I didn’t regret leaving [the Yardbirds] because they had moved away from the blues music that I was interested in,” Topham later admitted. “Even if I had stayed with them to go pro, I think I would have left later for the same reasons Eric left.”
In his career after the Yardbirds, Topham worked with many other legendary musicians, including Marc Bolan, Peter Green and Christine McVie. A health problem forced him to leave the music industry in 1970, but he returned in 1988 to team up with his former Yardbirds bandmate McCarty in the blues group Topham-McCarty.
In the latter part of his career, Topham returned to the Yardbirds as an official member again, taking over for Dreja as rhythm guitarist in 2013. This period lasted two years, after which Topham left the group for the last time.
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