Gig: Top Topham-John Idan Band – Keighley Blues Club – 21 May 2010

Posted on: Monday, May 10, 2010


(Special guest: KEITH CHRISTMAS)


Phone 01535 600310 or email

“Thousands of guitarists can claim they walked in the footsteps of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.  But only Top Topham can claim they walked in his” Mike Vernon, record producer.

Anthony ‘Top’ Topham had the good fortune to be a founding member of the ‘Yardbirds’ in 1963. He had the bad fortune, however, to have been born in 1947, and to be only 15 years old at the time of the group’s formation. Topham was a student at Epsom Art School when he and a good friend, singer/harpist Keith Relf, recruited drummer Jim McCarty, and from there assembled what was first called the ‘Metropolitan Blues Quartet’ with Paul Samwell-Smith. They soon changed their name to the ‘Yardbirds’, and seemed to have a promising future, especially after then Rolling Stones manager Giorgio Gomelsky agreed to sign them. They wanted to turn professional, but Topham’s parents had always expressed misgivings about his involvement in music, and wouldn’t consider letting their 15-year-old son leave school to pursue a career as a guitarist. So, doing the decent thing, Top suggested to the rest of the band that his friend would be an adequate replacement.  That friend was one Eric Clapton and the rest, as they say, is history. Ironically, Topham continued in music, forming bands in college during the psychedelic era, but never straying too far from the blues. He worked for producer Mike Vernon at the latter’s Blue Horizon label at the end of the 1960s, doing session work and also producing, and recorded one album of his own, the big band blues styled ‘Ascension Heights’ (re-released as part of ‘Top Topham – The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions’ in 2008) that featured the work of Pete Wingfield, Duster Bennett and Herbie Flowers amongst others. He left the music business in the early ’70s, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that Topham returned to his first love, when he joined forces with the Yardbirds’ former drummer to form the ‘Top Topham/Jim McCarty Band’. He had, by then, found success as an artist and art dealer, his clients including Adam Ant, Jonathan Aitken MP and Richard Branson amongst others — proving that staying in school did have its up side — and has split his time between music and art ever since.

‘Detroit’ John Idan – (guitar & vocals)  John was born in Royal Oak, Michigan just a few miles from the edge of Detroit. He developed his musical craft and played in several bands in the city. Then, when John’s band “The Natural Blues Band” broke up, he went on a holiday to England where he met former Yardbirds Top Topham and Jim McCarty and became the singer and guitarist in their blues band.  In 1994 John left the McCarty Band and formed ‘Realfire’ and started writing songs. When the Yardbirds reformed (1992) John was asked to be their lead vocalist and bass player. Since then, he has recorded two albums, ‘Birdland’ and ‘Live at BB King’s’, with them and toured the world several times, finally leaving the band in 2009.

It might be spring but SANTA’s BACK!! Folky troubadour Keith Christmas will be the evening’s ‘Special Guest’. Keith has a pedigree dating back to the late 1960s (he can be heard playing guitar on David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ album).  Last time at KBC in May 2009 when he performed on the same bill as Dave Kelly he made everyone sing!  Well, I suppose with a name like his it’s only right he should bring audience participation into his act (oh yes it is!!).

So, a legend of the 60’s UK blues boom; a guitarist from the USA and a contemporary of David Bowie all on the same bill – IN KEIGHLEY!  FOR THAT PRICE!  Surely you must be dreaming.  You’re not, you know.

Make no mistake; this will be a very special event indeed.

Further info. about the acts can be found at and

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