Anthony 'Top' Topham dead – Yardbirds guitarist passes away two weeks after his successor Jeff Beck | The Sun

FOUNDING guitarist of The Yardbirds Anthony "Top" Topham has died at the age of 75 after a battle with dementia.

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

Topham helped form the pioneering 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 adopted the name Sanderson Rasjid.

He died on Monday after a battle with dementia.

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A statement from his representative said: "Sanderson Rasjid, born Anthony 'Top' Topham, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 23 surrounded by his family.

"Born in London on July 3 1947, he was 75 years old and had been fighting dementia in his final years."

Topham formed The Yardbirds in 1963 with secondary school pal Chris Dreja and singer Keith Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty.

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

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He previously told The Backbeat: "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 even though I was already bringing home double what my father was earning.

"I was going on 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'd moved away from the blues music that I was interested in.

"Even if I'd stayed with them to become professional, I think I would have left later for the same reasons Eric left."

After leaving The Yardbirds, Topham went on to play guitar for Christine McVie, Duster Bennett, and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green.

In his later life, he also worked as an interior designer and was a mural and fine artist.

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