Classic Rock

The Yardbirds founding member Anthony “Top” Topham dies

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Guitarist Anthony “Top” Topham, a founding member of The Yardbirds, passed away Monday after a battle with dementia. He was 75.

Topham, who adopted the name Sanderson Rasjid after joining the Subud spiritual movement, was the first guitarist for The Yardbirds, which he formed with his childhood friend Chris Dreja, singer Keith Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty.

“Sanderson Rasjid, born Anthony ‘Top’ Topham, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 23 surrounded by his family,” read a statement from his rep, according to The Sun. “Born in London on July 3 1947, he was 75 years old and had been fighting dementia in his final years.” 

Topham left the group before they hit it big and was replaced by Eric Clapton. When Clapton left he was replaced by Jimmy Page, who was later replaced by Jeff Beck. Topham’s death comes just two weeks after Beck’s passing at age 78.

After leaving The Yardbirds, Topham went on to form bands with his friend Duster Bennett and worked as a session musician for such artists as Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, the band’s founder Peter Green and others.

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