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Big Jim Sullivan: Guitar World Mourns Passing of Legendary Session Player

It was announced today that Big Jim Sullivan, the acclaimed session guitarist who played on dozens of hits in the Sixties and Seventies, has died at the age of 71.

 

Sullivan began his career as a professional guitarist in 1959, and during the Swinging Sixties he, along with “Little” Jimmy Page,” was one of the most in-demand session players on the London rock scene.

 

During his heyday in the Sixties and Seventies, the Uxbridge-born Sullivan played on hits by Adam Faith, Freddie and the Dreamers, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Donovan, David Bowie, The Small Faces, The Walker Brothers, Thunderclap Newman, Serge Gainsbourg, and Engelbert Humperdink, just to name a few.

 

He also played on George Harrison‘s Wonderwall album, gave guitar lessons to a young Ritchie Blackmore, and along with Blackmore and Pete Townshend, persuaded Jim Marshall to start making amps.

 

Unlike Page, who went on to step out of the session player role into the limelight, first with the Yardbirds and later with Led Zeppelin, Sullivan essentially remained a session player throughout his long and storied career. However his contribution to rock music is truly formidable and the guitarist himself claims to have played on over 1000 records that hit the British charts.

 

Sullivan apparently suffered from diabetes and heart disease. He is survived by his wife, children, and grand children.

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