.

Guitarist Big Jim Sullivan Dead at 71

Musician was said to have played on 55 Number One singles

October 4, 2012 8:40 AM ET
Big Jim Sullivan
Big Jim Sullivan
Rob Monk/Total Guitar magazine via Getty Images

Big Jim Sullivan, an acclaimed session guitarist who played with David Bowie, Tom Jones, the Kinks and Marianne Faithfull, has died at home in England, the BBC reports. He was 71 and had suffered from heart disease and diabetes.

Sullivan was one of the most in-demand session players of the Sixties and Seventies. He claimed to have played on more than 1,000 songs, including 55 Number One singles, with credits including Bowie's "Space Oddity," Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger," Petula Clark's "Downtown," the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," Faithfull's version of "As Tears Go By" and Jones' "What's New Pussycat?" 

Born James Tomkins, Sullivan began playing guitar professionally when he was 16. He was the backing guitarist when Eddie Cochran died in a car crash while on a tour of England with Gene Vincent in 1960. Sullivan also gave guitar lessons to future Deep Purple founder Ritchie Blackmore and was a member of Jones' touring band from 1969-74.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com