BY STEVEN ROSEN
Anthony “Top” Topham was the
original guitarist for the Yardbirds.
Here he reminisces about his time
in—and out of—the Yardbirds.
“When the Yardbirds packed up in
1969,” recalls Topham, “Jimmy Page
owned the name. I got three
telegrams, which I still have, two
from Peter Grant and one from Page.
They said, ‘There is very good news
for you and would you please contact
the office immediately?’ I did
and Jimmy told me, ‘I want to take
the New Yardbirds back to America.
Are you interested?’ I said, ‘No, I’m
not, because I’m making my own
album!’ [laughs.] People think
that’s really weird.
“I think probably I could have
brought to the music what Eric did.
Because if you look at that time,
there was some pretty awful guitar
playing going around. I mean, it was
very basic. And yes, what Eric did
was basic, but it was also incredibly
exciting. Maybe what I would have
done wouldn’t have been quite as
subtle. But I’ve had some wonderful
opportunities to play. I left music for
17 years and went back to it when I
was 40. Jim McCarty and I met up
again and formed the Topham-
McCarty Blues Band. It was a good
experience, but he wanted to go back
and do the Yardbirds again. I didn’t
want to sit there and play Yardbirds
tunes. I wanted to do my own songs.”