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|Birth name||Anthony Topham|
|Also known as||Sanderson Topham|
|Born||3 July 1947|
|Years active||1963–1970, 1988–present|
|Labels||Blue Horizon, CBS, Sony|
|Associated acts|| The Yardbirds |
Anthony "Top" Topham (born 3 July 1947, Southall, Middlesex) is an English musician and artist. He is best known as a blues guitarist and also for being the first lead guitarist of The Yardbirds.Topham left the band before they achieved mainstream popularity and was replaced by Eric Clapton, the first of three lead guitarists from the Yardbirds to gain an international reputation (the other two being Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page).
Aside from his musical career, Topham also works as an interior designer and painter.
In May 1963, Topham and his friend at secondary school, Chris Dreja, visited the Railway Hotel in Norbiton. The hotel's entertainment featured traditional jazz music in the upstairs lounge, and allowed budding musicians to play during the breaks. There, he and Dreja met singer and harmonica player Keith Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, and drummer Jim McCarty and decided to form The Yardbirds, with Topham as lead guitarist. Two weeks later they played their first gig at the Eel Pie Island, supporting the Cyril Davies All-Stars. Two months after the formation of the Yardbirds, Giorgio Gomelsky offered them the residency at the Crawdaddy Club and became their manager. As the Yardbirds had to turn professional, Topham faced parental disapproval coupled with the anxiety of abandoning his art studies. He could not devote himself to the Yardbirds full-time and he left. His replacement was a fellow art student from the same secondary school, Eric Clapton.
Topham recalls, "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."
He went on to Art College where he formed bands with his friend Duster Bennett. He joined Winston G and the Wicked (later renamed The Fox), playing alongside Marc Bolan.
After a final gig with Winston G at London's Roundhouse, Topham revived his association with Bennett, recording a live album with him. This led to an introduction to Mike Vernon and his Blue Horizon label. Topham became a session musician for Blue Horizon, playing with Peter Green and Christine McVie.
Topham recorded a solo album for Blue Horizon, Ascension Heights. While Bennett was touring with John Mayall in 1970, Topham fell seriously ill and had to abandon the music industry again.
Upon his recovery two years later he entered the fine arts business, but a chance meeting with Jim McCarty led Topham to return to the blues in 1988. The Topham-McCarty Band was formed and played for two years until Topham decided in July 1990 to pursue country blues. He sessioned on 12-string guitar for the track "Broken Waltz Time" on the Bill Morrissey album, Night Train (Philo Records). Later, Topham and Jim McCarty teamed again up to contribute the track Drifting for the double album Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green.
In the 2000s, Topham guested with the latest edition of the Yardbirds under the co-leadership of McCarty and Dreja, and performed with John Idan in sporadic concerts of his own. He also played alongside eminent boogie-woogie pianist Bob Hall. He officially became a member of the Yardbirds again in 2013, replacing Dreja, who was forced to leave the band for medical reasons. In May 2015, Topham exited the Yardbirds and was replaced by Earl Slick.
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers were an English blues rock band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. While never producing a radio-friendly hit on their own, the Bluesbreakers' greatest legacy is as an incubator for British rock and blues musicians. Many of the best known bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s had members that came through the Bluesbreakers at one time, forming the foundation of British blues music that still appears heavily in classic rock radio. Among those with a tenure in the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, Mick Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, and numerous other musicians.
John Mayall, OBE is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians.
British blues is a form of music derived from American blues that originated in the late 1950s, and reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1960s. In Britain, it developed a distinctive and influential style dominated by electric guitar and made international stars of several proponents of the genre including The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin.
Peter Green is an English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. As a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green's songs, such as "Albatross", "Black Magic Woman", "Oh Well", "The Green Manalishi " and "Man of the World", appeared on singles charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.
John Graham McVie is a British bass guitarist, best known as a member of the rock bands John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers from 1964 to 1967 and Fleetwood Mac since 1967. His surname, combined with that of Mick Fleetwood, was the inspiration for the band's name. He joined Fleetwood Mac shortly after its formation by guitarist Peter Green in 1967, replacing temporary bass guitarist Bob Brunning. McVie and Fleetwood are the only two members of the group to appear on every Fleetwood Mac release, and for over forty years have been the group's only remaining original members.
Box of Frogs were an English rock band formed in 1983 by former members of the Yardbirds, who released their first album in 1984. The core group consisted of Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty. Vocals on their eponymous album were done by John Fiddler, formerly of Medicine Head and British Lions; on the second album Fiddler sang on five tracks with guests including Graham Parker, Ian Dury and Roger Chapman singing lead on the others. Many musicians guested on their albums, with several tracks featuring Steve Hackett. Former Yardbirds guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page guested on their first and second albums respectively.
Fleetwood Mac, also known as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, is the debut studio album by British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on 24 February 1968. The album is a mixture of blues covers and originals penned by guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, who also share the vocal duties. It is the only album by the band not to feature keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie in any capacity.
Five Live Yardbirds is the live debut album by English rock band the Yardbirds. It features the group's interpretations of ten American blues and rhythm and blues songs, including their most popular live number, Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning". The album contains some of the earliest recordings with guitarist Eric Clapton.
Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds, or simply Having a Rave Up, is the second American album by English rock group the Yardbirds. It was released in November 1965, eight months after Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton on guitar. It includes songs with both guitarists and reflects the group's blues rock roots and their early experimentations with psychedelic and hard rock. The title refers to the driving "rave up" arrangement the band used in several of their songs.
Paul Samwell-Smith is an English musician and record producer. He was a founding member and the bassist of the 1960s English rock band The Yardbirds, which launched leading guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page to fame. As a youth, Samwell-Smith attended Hampton School with The Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty.
Christopher Walenty Dreja is an English musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist and bassist for The Yardbirds.
David William Kelly is a British blues singer, guitarist and composer, who has been active on the British blues music scene since the 1960s. He has performed with the John Dummer Blues Band, Tramp, The Blues Band, and his own Dave Kelly Band.
Anthony "Duster" Bennett was a British blues singer and musician. Based in London, his first album Smiling Like I'm Happy saw him playing as a one-man band, playing a bass drum with his foot and blowing a harmonica on a rack while strumming a 1952 Les Paul Goldtop guitar given to him in 1968 by Peter Green. Backed by his girlfriend Stella Sutton and the original Fleetwood Mac on three tracks, the album was well received. He remained popular on the local blues club scene until his death in a car crash in 1976.
Live! Blueswailing July '64 is a live album recorded by English blues rock band the Yardbirds in July 1964. The recordings were discovered in 2003 and the exact date and location of the performance is unknown.
Michael William Hugh "Mike" Vernon is an English music executive studio owner, and record producer from Harrow, Middlesex. He produced albums for British blues artists and groups in the 1960s, working with the Bluesbreakers, David Bowie, Duster Bennett, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Climax Blues Band, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John Mayall, Christine McVie and Ten Years After amongst others.
Blue Horizon Records was a British blues independent record label, founded by Mike Vernon and Neil Slaven in 1965, as an adjunct to their fanzine, R&B Monthly, and was the foremost label at the time of the British blues boom in the mid to late 1960s.
The Yardbirds were an English rock group, that had a string of Top 40 radio hits in mid-1960s in the UK and the US and introduced guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Their first album released in the UK, Five Live Yardbirds (1964), represented their early club performances with Clapton. The Yardbirds' first American album, For Your Love (1965), was released to capitalise on their first hit, and to promote the group's US tour. However, Clapton had already decided to pursue a different musical direction and was replaced by Beck. Several popular singles with Beck followed, including a second American album, Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds (1965), that again was a split release featuring songs with both Clapton and Beck.
The Yardbirds are an English rock band, formed in London in 1963. The band's core lineup featured vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith. The band is known for starting the careers of three of rock's most famous guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, all of whom ranked in the top five of Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 greatest guitarists. The band had a string of hits throughout the mid-1960s, including "For Your Love", "Heart Full of Soul", "Shapes of Things" and "Over Under Sideways Down".