Anthony ‘Top’ Topham, founding guitarist of The Yardbirds, has died at the age of 75 after battling dementia. His death comes two weeks after that of his Yardbird successor Jeff Beck from bacterial meningitis. Topham started The Yardbirds with Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja, and Jim McCarty in London in May 1963 but left in October. He was replaced by Eric Clapton.
Topham was born on July 3, 1947, in Southall, England. He was 75.
Topham started his career as a musician in 1963 when he was just 16 years old. He went on to art college, where he formed bands with his friend Duster Bennet. He joined Winston G and the Wicked playing alongside Marc Bolan.
He recorded a solo album for Blue Horizon, Ascension Heights. While touring with John Mayall in 1970, Topham fell seriously ill and had to leave the music industry. He helped form the pioneering rhythm and blues band in London in May 1963. Topham left before The Yardbird’s commercial breakthrough and was succeeded as a lead guitarist by Eric Clapton, then Beck, and finally Jimmy Page.
The musician later adopted the name Sanderson Rasjid after joining the Subud spiritual movement. He went on to play guitar for Christine McVie, Duster Bennett, and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green.
In the 2000s, he guested with the latest edition of The Yardbirds under the co-leadership of McCarty and Dreja. He also performed with John Idan in sporadic concerts of his own.
Topham also worked as an interior designer in his later life. He was a mural, and fine artist and occasionally rejoined The Yardbirds for reunions from 2013 to 2015. Keith Relf died in 1976. The other three founding members of the Yardbirds, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja, and Jim McCarthy are still with us.
Net worth
According to, Top Topham had an estimated net worth of $5 million.