The Zombies bassist Jim Rodford has died aged 76 just days after his final performance.
The musician, whose career spanned six decades and included 18 years with The Kinks, died on Saturday after a fall on the stairs, his cousin and the band’s frontman Rod Argent confirmed.
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.
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.
The Kinks’ Dave Davies paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock
“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.”
The Kinks’ official Twitter page said he would be “greatly missed”.
Walter James “Jim” Rodford was born July 7 1941 and began playing bass in the late Fifties with St Albans’ skiffle band The Bluetones.
He helped Argent form The Zombies in 1961, declining an invitation to join the group but coached them through their first rehearsals.
Following the break-up of The Zombies in 1968, he joined Argent’s new band – the eponymously named Argent – with gold records and chart success following as they released Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock & Roll To You.
When Argent split in 1976 Rodford joined The Kinks during their later years and remained until their dissolution in 1996 when he came full circle by eventually joining The Zombies – along with his son Steve on drums – as they were resurrected by Argent and Colin Blunstone in 1999.
He spent the next 18 years recording and touring with The Zombies until his last performance six days ago at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Miramar Beach, Florida.
In September last year, Rodford received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Hertfordshire.