Why Led Zeppelin Offer Didn't Fly With Yardbirds Star
Topham, now 63, began playing with the influential Yardbirds at the age of 15, but left in 1963 and was replaced by Eric Clapton. Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page later played six-string for the band before it folded.
Page went on to form the New Yardbirds in 1968, which soon became Led Zep. And Topham, a respected blues player and a painter, confirms he was invited to play second guitar with the new outfit but said no. "I was making my Ascension Heights album when I received three telegrams, which I still have, from Jimmy and his manager Peter Grant," He tells Guitar International. "They expressed an urgency for me to get in touch with them, saying, 'Great news for you'. I called them from our local phone box we didn't have a phone in those days and Jimmy said he wanted to reform the band under the name the New Yardbirds, and hit America, and asked if I would be interested.
"Wait for it I said no. I was writing and playing on my own album at that time so it seemed like the right choice." more on this story
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