Written by: Alex Green
Jim Rodford, the Ivor Novello Award-winning bassist who co-founded the band Argent along with his cousin Rod Argent of The Zombies, has died.
Rodford was 76.
Although the specific details of his death are not clear, it’s believed Rodford died from injuries he sustained after a fall down the stairs at his home.
A virtuoso bassist armed with tremendous skill and control, Rodford’s musical CV is crammed with endless highlights.
The St. Albans-born Rodford was a member of the beloved ’60s outfit The Bluetones and was instrumental in helping Rod Argent with the formation of The Zombies. He also had long tenures with The Mike Cotton Sound And The Lonnie Donegan band. He co-founded Argent with his cousin for an almost ten-year run that ended in 1976.
He started playing with The Kinks in 1978 and in early 2000 he joined The Zombies, which also featured his son Steve on drums.
The Zombies’ Rod Argent confirmed the news of Rodford’s death on social media, penning this heartfelt tribute:
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. More details are not yet known about the exact cause of death.
Jim was not only a magnificent bass player, but also from the first inextricably bound to the story of The Zombies. An enormous enabler for us. He was actually the first person ever to be asked to join the band, way back in 1961. Because he was in the top St.Albans band of the time (The Bluetones), he turned us down at first, but from day one helped us chart our course. He loaned us The Bluestones’ state of the art gear for our very first rehearsal, arranged the rehearsal space, and even showed Hugh the first kick and snare drum pattern our original drummer ever learned. He was responsible for the first song I ever wrote (for The Bluetones – which they recorded); the person who organised most of our early gigs, and the very first person outside the group ever to hear – and pass judgement on – our first record, “She’s Not There”(he loved it). Years later, he became founder member, with me, of Argent; and then, for eighteen years, throughout a hugely successful American period for them, was bass player for The Kinks.
Jim, always a hugely sought after musician, had also had long stints as bass player with both The Mike Cotton Sound and the Lonnie Donegan band.
When Colin and I put together our second incarnation in late 1999, our first phone call was to Jim. He gave us absolutely unflagging commitment, loyalty and unbelievable energy for eighteen years, and our gratitude is beyond measure.
To the end, Jim’s life was dedicated to music. He was unfailingly committed to local music – an ever present member of the local scene in St.Albans, where he had spent his whole life. Often, Colin and I would compare notes a couple of days immediately after a U.S. 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 (often, but not always, with “The Rodford Files”, made up of talented family members) or giving charity shows or lectures on the St.Albans music scene.
His dedication was rewarded with Doctorate Of Music, granted to him last year by the University Of Hertfordshire.
Jim was a wonderful person, loved by everybody. When Colin and I, shocked and hardly able to talk, shared the news this morning, Colin said ‘I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him…’
He will be unbelievably missed. Goodnight and God Bless dear friend.