Former Kinks star honoured by University of Hertfordshire

Jim Rodford with his honorary degree. Picture: Pete Stevens.

Jim Rodford with his honorary degree. Picture: Pete Stevens. - Credit: Photo: Pete Stevens -

A celebrated musician and former bass guitarist with The Kinks has been honoured by Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire.

Jim Rodford with The Bluetones at the Pioneer Club in 1961

Jim Rodford with The Bluetones at the Pioneer Club in 1961 - Credit: Archant

Jim Rodford, who has enjoyed a glittering music career spanning six decades, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Hatfield-based institution.

The 76-year-old guitarist, who has lived in St Albans all his life, was conferred with his award of Doctor of Arts, at a ceremony held at St Albans Cathedral on Saturday.

He said: “Having been born and bred in St Albans and lived here all my life, it gives me great pleasure to be honoured this way by the University of Hertfordshire.”

Jim improvised his first double bass with a plywood tea chest, a piece of string and a broom handle.

It was while he was at the St Albans County Grammar School for Boys, now known as Verulam School, that he played his bass guitar tea chest with The Bluetones.

They began as a purely acoustic group playing American-style folk and blues, and evolved into a rock ‘n’ roll band as they acquired electric guitars and a microphone system.

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In 1964, Jim turned professional, and toured extensively throughout the UK and Europe with The Mike Cotton Sound, both for their own shows and backing artists such as Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Elkie Brooks and P J Proby, as well as supporting The Beatles.

Jim and his cousin Rod Argent later formed the band Argent, and for six years they enjoyed hits both in the UK and in the USA, including the number five single Hold Your Head Up, and the top 20 album All Together Now.

He then enjoyed 20 successful years with The Kinks, and also worked with Lonnie Donegan, The Animals, Barbara Dickson and The Swinging Bluejeans.

In 1990, he was presented with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Services to British Music, also while he was with The Kinks.

Alongside his glittering career, Jim has always been passionate about supporting and mentoring those who are just starting out.

He continues to support local gigs and works with young musicians in the county.

One of these is Katie Masson, a University of Hertfordshire graduate and member of St Albans band Co-Jones, who regularly play alongside Jim’s band The Rodford Files at charity gigs.

Jim is also involved in the Hatfield-based university’s plans to create a new museum and gallery in St Albans, along with his ongoing work with some of UH’s young musicians.

He has supported many local and national charities over the years, including for leukaemia research, cancer research and multiple sclerosis charities.

Jim is still recording and touring internationally with The Zombies, and plays locally with The Rodford Files.