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Guitar Maestro 'Big' Jim Sullivan Dies Aged 71

Guitar Maestro 'Big' Jim Sullivan Dies Aged 71 -

The UK's most celebrated session guitarist, Jim Sullivan has died at the age of 71.

Throughout the 1960's and 1970's the Uxbridge born session player, known to many as 'Big Jim,' was one of the most sought after studio musicians in the UK and performed on more than 1000 charting singles throughout his career, including 55 no.1 singles.

Sullivan, whose real name is James Tomkins, began his career in 1959 aged 17 as a member of Marty Wilde's band. He is renowned for teaching Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore how to play and also started Yes & Asia guitarist Steve Howe on his prog-rock journey.

However, it was Sullivan and The Who's Pete Townshend who are famously noted for persuading Jim Marshall to begin making electric guitar amplifiers after becoming regulars at Jim's music shop in Hanwell, West London.

Along with the plethora of records & number one singles he lent a hand to, Sullivan was also famous for his role as the house guitarist on legendary British music shows Top of the Pops and Ready Steady Go, and is also credited with pioneering the use of the fuzzbox and talkbox, later made famous by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton.

During his career, Big Jim toured with Eddie Cochran & Gene Vincent, was a close friend to the 'King' Elvis Presley and also worked with George Harrison, Frank Zappa, The Who, Long John Baldry, Tom Jones, The Seekers, Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Walker Brothers and producer Joe Meek. And according to Jimmy Page, one of Sullivan's guitars was used by himself while Led Zeppelin was recording their self-titled debut album in 1969.



Issue #74

Jim Root

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