Top Topham Passed Away

It seemed so extremely appropriate that Top Topham, known outside of music world as Anthony or Sanderson Topham, THE YARDBIRDS’ original guitarist, was an avid birdwatcher: that same attention to detail had made him such a respected blues artist. Top, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 75, may not be mentioned in the same breath as his more prominent successors in the band, including the recently deceased Jeff Beck, yet it was Topham who, together with Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith, set the ball rolling.

Still, being an art aficionado for all of his life and taking his art studies earnestly, Top left the fold to continue down that path and be replaced by fellow student Eric Clapton, which didn’t prevent him from playing with another friend, Duster Bennett, and, as a result, landing a deal with Mike Vernon’s legendary label, Blue Horizon. Once there, Topham not only got to work on Christine Perfect and Peter Green sessions but also came up, accompanied by the stellar likes of Herbie Flowers and Colin Allen, with “Ascension Heights” in 1969: his only solo album – a minor classic which his daughter used last year for her own single.

Much later, the veteran would work with McCarty again, guest with THE YARDBIRDS and even officially rejoin the ensemble in 2013 for about two years; what’s more important, he enjoyed doing what he loved – playing, traveling, being with his family. He will be sorely missed.

January 25, 2023

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