Founding Yardbirds Guitarist Anthony ‘Top’ Topham Has Died at 75
Founding Yardbirds guitarist Anthony "Top" Topham has died at the age of 75.
The musician, who later adopted the name Sanderson Rasjid, had been battling dementia for the last few years, according to a statement from his publicist [via Ultimate Classic Rock]. He died "peacefully" this past Monday, Jan. 23, surrounded by his loved ones.
Topham formed The Yardbirds in 1963 at the age of 15 alongside Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja. Though they started to make a names for themselves locally, becoming the house band at the Crawdaddy Club in a suburb of London where The Rolling Stones kicked off their career, Topham left in October of that year because his parents didn't want him to abandon school, though he was making twice as much money as his father at the time because of the gig.
"I was only 15 then, three or four years younger than the rest, and there was no way my parents would let me go out five or six nights a week to play music," the guitarist later told The Backbeat. "It was not happy - it was extremely stressful."
Eric Clapton succeeded Topham in The Yardbirds, and, as fate would have it, the band became a starting point for quite a few other legendary guitarists as well, including Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck — the latter of which just died around two weeks ago.
"Later on, I didn't regret leaving because they'd moved away from the blues music that I was interested in," Topham continued. "Even if I'd stayed with them to become professional, I think I would have left later for the same reasons Eric left."
Topham went on to become a successful session musician, working with members of Fleetwood Mac including Peter Green and Christine McVie, Marc Bolan and more. During the '70s, he joined the Subud spiritual movement, which is when he adopted the name Sanderson Rasjid. He later reconvened with McCarty to form the Topham-McCarty Band.
We send our condolences to Topham's loved ones and fans. Rest in peace.