Happy Birthday to James Walter “Jim” Rodford – born July 7, 1941 – January 20, 2018

Happy Birthday to James Walter “Jim” Rodford – born July 7, 1941 – January 20, 2018

Jim Rodford

James Walter “Jim” Rodford (born 7 July 1941) is an English musician who played with the Bluetones, the Kinks, the Swinging Blue Jeans and was a founding member of Argent. Rodford played in the Animals II for two years, leaving to join the reformation of the Zombies in 2001. He also works with a group of former Kinks members, in the Kast Off Kinks.

Early years

Rodford was born on 7 July 1941, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he was a member of the Bluetones, the biggest band in St Albans at the time. Although he did not become a band member at this stage, Rodford was instrumental in helping his younger cousin Rod Argent form the Zombies in 1964. Rodford later joined the Mike Cotton Sound as a bass guitarist.

Music career

Rodford performing in Mannheim, Germany in 1979 with The Kinks. Ray Davies (L) and Rodford

Along with Rod Argent, Rodford was one of the founding members of Argent. When Rod Argent quit the band, the remaining three members (Rodford, Bob Henrit, and John Verity) formed the short-lived band Phoenix. Eventually, Rodford joined the Kinks as a bass guitarist in 1978 and played with them until their final disintegration in 1996.

From 1999–2001 Rodford appeared in a band that ex-Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine formed, The Animals II, which also featured former Animals drummer John Steel, and keyboardist Dave Rowberry. Rodford continued with this band (which changed its working name to “The Animals and Friends” after Valentine left) until joining Argent and Colin Blunstone in the revival of the Zombies.

Rodford never played with the Zombies in the 1960s, despite having been closely involved with them. However, he began to play the bass guitar with the band’s reincarnation in the early years of the 21st century, with his son Steve on drums.

In 2008, Rodford joined the Kast Off Kinks, on the retirement of John Dalton, whom he had followed into the Kinks after Andy Pyle. In 2009, Jim Rodford regularly played in “The Rodford Files” along with Steve Rodford (Blunstone/Argent band) on drums, Russ Rodford on guitar, and Derik Timms (mOOn Dogs) on guitar, lap steel, slide and vocals.

In 2010, the original line-up of Argent reformed and resumed playing in concert. They mounted a short tour including gigs in Frome, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leamington Spa and London.

Personal life

Rodford met his wife Jean at the Pioneer Club in the early days of his music career. They have two sons, Steve who plays drums, and Russell a guitarist.

Death

Rodford unfortunately died on January 20, 2018, as the result of a fall. He was 76 years old. Rodford had just returned home to England after completing a short tour in Florida with The Zombies with his final on-stage appearance coming on January 14, 2018. Argent paid tribute to his “dear cousin and lifelong friend”, writing on the band’s Facebook page: “It is with deep sadness that I learned this morning that my dear cousin and lifelong friend, Jim Rodford, died this morning after a fall on the stairs.

“Jim was not only a magnificent bass player, but also from the first inextricably bound to the story of The Zombies.”

Argent said Rodford was dedicated to music “to the end” and added he “was unfailingly committed to local music”.

“Often, Colin (Blunstone) and I would compare notes a couple of days immediately after a US tour and discuss how long it would take us to recover from an intense, fantastic but exhausting couple of months – only to find out and marvel that Jim had already been out playing with local bands,” he wrote.

Rodford had been working on his autobiography at the time of his death and is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean and three generations of Rodfords.

“I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion – strange – great friend great musician great man – he was an integral part of The Kinks later years RIP.”

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