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Guitar Maestro 'Big' Jim Sullivan Dies Aged 71

Published 8 years ago on October 3, 2012

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Guitar Maestro 'Big' Jim Sullivan Dies Aged 71 -

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

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

Sullivan, whose real name is James Tomkins, began his career in1959 aged 17 as a member of Marty Wilde's band. He is renowned forteaching Deep Purple's RitchieBlackmore how to play and also startedYes & Asia guitaristSteve Howe on his prog-rock journey.

However, it was Sullivan and The Who'sPete Townshend who are famously noted forpersuading Jim Marshall to begin making electricguitar amplifiers after becoming regulars at Jim's music shop inHanwell, West London.

Along with the plethora of records & number one singles helent a hand to, Sullivan was also famous for his role as the houseguitarist on legendary British music shows Top of the Pops andReady Steady Go, and is also credited with pioneering the use ofthe fuzzbox and talkbox, later made famous by JoeWalsh and Peter Frampton.

During his career, Big Jim toured with EddieCochran & Gene Vincent, was a closefriend to the 'King' Elvis Presley and alsoworked with George Harrison, FrankZappa, The Who, Long JohnBaldry, Tom Jones, TheSeekers, Gerry & the Pacemakers,The Walker Brothers and producer JoeMeek. And according to Jimmy Page, one ofSullivan's guitars was used by himself while LedZeppelin was recording their self-titled debut album in1969.

 


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