Jim Rodford, bassist with The Kinks and The Zombies
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Jim Rodford, bassist with The Kinks and The Zombies

Jim Rodford, the bassist, who has died aged 76, was one of the unsung heroes of the rhythm section of several bands, most notably the Kinks from 1978 to 1996. At the time of his death he was a member of the Zombies.

Formerly a founder member of the band Argent, which had top 20 hits in the early 1970s with Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock and Roll To You, Rodford joined the Kinks long after their 1960s heyday.

Jim Rodford whose career spanned six decades and included 18 years with The Kinks.

Jim Rodford whose career spanned six decades and included 18 years with The Kinks.

Photo: Maggie Clarke Photography

The original band – Ray Davies, his younger brother Dave, bassist Pete Quaife and drummer Mick Avory – had shot to fame in 1964 with You Really Got Me, the first of a run of hit singles, but by the end of the decade growth was being hampered by Ray Davies's famous drinking bouts and by fraternal spats between the two Davies brothers, which sometimes ended in fistfights.

Their fractious relationship had a demoralising effect on other band members, leading the original bassist Peter Quaife to quit in 1969. He was replaced by John Dalton, who lasted until November 1976. The former Blodwyn Pig bassist Andy Pyle stepped into the breach briefly before Rodford took over.

By this time Ray Davies had overcome his drinking problem and the two brothers seemed to be getting on better. With Rodford and the keyboard player Ian Gibbons added to the line-up, the Kinks enjoyed a return to commercial success, Ray Davies noting that the new recruits had "made us a much better band, a new band, really".

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But relations within the band continued to cause tensions and in 1984 Mick Avory left "to design golf clubs" after falling out with Dave Davies, to be replaced by Robert Henrit.

Rodford played on the albums Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981), State of Confusion (1983) and Phobia (1993), as well as on the Kinks' 1983 single Come Dancing, which reached No. 12 in the British charts. He remained with the band until its break-up in 1996 and was awarded a Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Services to British Music.

James Walter Rodford was born in St Albans on July 7, 1941, and began playing bass in the late 1950s with a local skiffle band, the Bluetones. In 1958, he was instrumental in helping his cousin Rod Argent to form the Zombies, coaching them through rehearsals, but declined an invitation to join the group. Before breaking up in 1968, the Zombies enjoyed chart hits in the 1960s with She's Not There and Time of the Season, while their psychedelic-pop album, Odessey and Oracle, went on to become a cult favourite, voted in the top 100 of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Following their break-up, Rodford joined Rod Argent's eponymous new prog-rock band, Argent. When Argent left in 1976 to record on his own, the remaining three members (Rodford, Bob Henrit and John Verity) formed the short-lived band Phoenix, before Rodford joined the Kinks.

In 1999, when Argent resurrected the Zombies, Rodford – along with his son Steve on drums – joined the re-formed group, with whom he spent the next 18 years recording and touring until his last performance six days ago at the 30A Songwriters Festival at Miramar Beach, Florida.

In 2009, he briefly joined the line-up of the Kast Off Kinks, a band formed by former band members in the 1990s to keep their music alive.

Rodford, who died after a fall, is survived by his wife Jean and by their two sons, Steve and Russell, a guitarist.

The Telegraph, London

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