Jim Rodford would have turned 81 this month; sadly, he passed away in January 2018 after a fall down the stairs of his home days after concluding a U.S tour with The Zombies. Rodford had a long association with the group; he helped cousin Rod Argent put the group together in the early ‘60s, and Rodford finally joined as a permanent member in 2004.
But Jim Rodford’s career as an in-demand bassist spanned more than 60 years. Here are five of his most notable recordings.
Mike Cotton Sound – “I Don't Wanna Know” (1964) Cotton was a jazz/r&b horn player and band leader, but he successfully tapped into the Beatles-led beat group craze with this energetic, stomping rocker in a Dave Clark 5 style. Jim Rodford’s solid bass propels the tune forward.
Argent – “Hold Your Head Up” (1972) After The Zombies, keyboardist Rod Argent formed this eponymous group, making it big on both sides of the Atlantic with this anthemic top-ten hit from All Together Now, the band’s third LP. The single edit is great, but “Hold Your Head Up” is best heard in its unedited, six minute-plus album version, anchored by Rodford’s hypnotic bass playing.
Michael Fennelly – “Lane Changer” (1974) Singer and songwriter Fennelly had been a member of baroque-pop underground sensations Sagittarius and The Millennium and had been a member of underrated Crabby Appleton. He finally broke out on his own with Lane Changer, an excellent 1974 solo album, featuring members of Argent (including Jim Rodford) backing him on the sessions.
Kinks – “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” (1979) A critic's favorite, the beloved English band experienced its ups and downs throughout its 33-year history. Jim Rodford’s joining coincided with a commercial resurgence that found the band scoring hits and playing large halls across the globe. This sly disco-flavored single was a highlight of the band’s topical Low Budget LP.
Zombies – “She's Not There” (2016) This live recording showcases the enduring vitality of The Zombies, touring triumphantly in belated support of Odessey and Oracle, their masterwork that was largely ignored on its release in 1968. Today the album is considered an undisputed classic. (Carrying on the family tradition, Jim’s son Steve Rodford is the band’s drummer here, a role in which he continues to this day.)