Anthony ‘Top’ Topham dead – Yardbirds guitarist dies two weeks after his successor Jeff Beck

The Yardbirds’ founding guitarist Anthony “Top” Topham has died aged 75 after a battle with dementia.

His death comes two weeks after that of his Yardbird successor, Jeff Beck, from bacterial meningitis.



Anthony “Top” Topham has died at the age of 75Credit: PA

Topham helped found the groundbreaking rhythm and blues band in London in May 1963.

He left before The Yardbird’s commercial breakthrough and was succeeded as lead guitarist by Eric Clapton, then Beck and finally Jimmy Page.

After joining the Subud spiritual movement, the blues guitarist later took the name Sanderson Rasjid.

He died on Monday after a battle with dementia.

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A statement from his representative read: “Sanderson Rasjid, born Anthony ‘Top’ Topham, passed away peacefully on Monday 23 January surrounded by his family.

“He was born in London on July 3, 1947, was 75 years old and had been battling dementia in his last years.”

Topham formed The Yardbirds in 1963 with school friend Chris Dreja and vocalist Keith Relf, ​​bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty.

Two months later they were offered residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Surrey – previously held by the Rolling Stones – but Topham decided to drop out of the group.

He previously told The Backbeat: “I was only 15 at the time, three or four years younger than the others and there was no way my parents would let me go out to play music five or six nights a week, even though I did already came home twice as much as my father earned.

“I went to Epsom Art School and they wanted me to take it seriously.

“Eric Clapton was the obvious person to replace me.

“Later on I didn’t regret leaving because they had moved away from the blues music I was interested in.

“Even if I had stayed with them to go pro, I would have left later for the same reasons Eric left.”

After leaving The Yardbirds, Topham played guitar for Christine McVie, Duster Bennett and Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac.

In later life he also worked as an interior designer and was a muralist and visual artist. Anthony ‘Top’ Topham dead – Yardbirds guitarist dies two weeks after his successor Jeff Beck


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