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Original WHITESNAKE guitarist BERNIE MARSDEN dead at 72


Original WHITESNAKE guitarist Bernie Marsden has died at the age of 72.

Bernie‘s passing was confirmed by his family in a social media post on Friday, August 25. They wrote: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie MarsdenBernie died peacefully on Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte and Olivia, by his side.

Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording new songs until the end.”

WHITESNAKE singer David Coverdale shared a tribute to his former bandmate on social media.

“I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed,” he wrote. “My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know and share a stage with.”

Marsden was one of the U.K.’s foremost rock and blues guitarists, famous for his time in professional bands since 1972 and a founding member of one of the biggest rock acts of all time, the mighty WHITESNAKE.

But there was a lot more to this man, from his first band UFO to treading the boards of the National Theatre in London, on stage with Ringo Starr in Monaco, playing the Beacon Theatre in New York with THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, writing and playing with Joe Bonamassa and MOTÖRHEAD.

His long-term friendships with so many top names in the guitar business, Billy GibbonsSteve LukatherWarren Haynes, as well as rejoining the new WHITESNAKE lineup of recent years and a solo career kept him both on the road and in the studio. He became interested in guitars as a teenager watching THE BEATLES, his fascination continued to his final days. Bernie also developed one of the most unique and expansive private guitar collections in the world.

Marsden‘s name appears on a hundred albums — maybe more. In addition to a long-running solo career, the Buckinghamshire-born guitarist had been a recording musician since the early 1970s via membership of such groups as WHITESNAKEUFOWILD TURKEYBABE RUTHPAICE ASHTON & LORDCOZY POWELL’S HAMMERALASKAM3 and many more. Though there’s a tendency to pigeonhole him as a blues-rock guitarist, each of Marsden‘s acts had its own individual flavor.

In a March 2018 interview with Tigman of the Albany, New York radio station Q103Marsden stated about his time with WHITESNAKE: “When I look back on it, it was very, very busy — very hectic. I mean, we were touring pretty much all the time, and then we would break specifically to make two records a year, which seems crazy these days, but that’s the way it was. And if you look back, it didn’t hurt anybody — the creative juices were still flowing, and we managed to write some pretty good material. And it all went very, very well for three or four years. And then we came to an end roundabout ’82. David (CoverdaleWHITESNAKE mainman) relocated to America — he lives up in Nevada — and put the band back together in the mid-’80s, but with kind of an American lineup. And that’s the band that re-recorded ‘Here I Go Again’, and the rest of that is kind of history, and that song has kind of become an American anthem.”

As for what he thought about Coverdale re-recording some of the early WHITESNAKE material with later lineups, Bernie said: “It was four or five years between the two things, and there was no bitterness or anything, I was not thinking, ‘Oh, man. That should be me.’ I don’t work like that. I could listen to WHITESNAKE roundabout the ’87 period and onwards, and to this day, when I still play with them occasionally. When they come over to Europe, I very often get up on stage and guest with them. But it was a different band. I could listen to WHITESNAKE then as if it was JOURNEY or FOREIGNER or TOTO, you know what I mean? I liked what they were doing. It wasn’t the kind of thing we were doing — it was slightly more adult-orientated rock rather than what I was doing, which was kind of blues rock. But a good song is a good song, and as long as you have good musicians, it’s always gonna sound good.”

Photo credit: Fabio Gianarda

Last week DAVID COVERDALE announced that DAVID COVERDALE‘s 1972 demo for DEEP PURPLE  will be included on WHITESNAKE‘s ‘The Purple Album: Special Gold Edition’

“The Purple Album: Special Gold Edition” 2-CD/Blu-ray track listing:

CD One: 2023 Remix

  1. Burn
    02. Lay Down, Stay Down
    03. Love Child
    04. Holy Man
    05. The Gypsy
    06. Lady Double Dealer
    07. Might Just Take Your Life
    08. Mistreated
    09. Stormbringer
    10. Sail Away(Interpolating “Elegy For Jon”)
    11. You Keep On Moving – featuring the Hook City Strings
    12. Lady Luck
    13. Coming Home
    14. You Fool No One (Interpolating “Itchy Fingers”) Dedicated in loving memory to Jeff Beck
    15. Soldier Of Fortune

CD Two

The Purple Tour Five Live

  1. Burn
    02. The Gypsy
    03. Mistreated
    04. You Fool No One
    05. Soldier Of Fortune

Alternative Mixes

  1. Holy Man(Unzipped) *
    07. Stormbringer (Punch In The Nuts Mix) *
    08. Love Child (Alternate Mix) *
    09. Soldier Of Fortune – featuring Joel Hoekstra & The Hook City Strings *
    10. Soldier Of Fortune – featuring The Hook City Strings *
    11. Soldier Of Fortune (Instrumental) – featuring The Hook City Strings *

The 1972 DC Purple Audition Tape Featuring The Fabulosa Brothers

  1. Everybody’s Talkin’*
    13. Get Ready *
    14. Lonely Town, Lonely Street *
    15. Dancing In The Street *
    16. 1974 DC Demo Ideas For The Stormbringer Album *


Purple Music Videos

  1. Lady Double Dealer
    02. Stormbringer
    03. Sail Away
    04. Soldier Of Fortune
    05. The Gypsy
    06. Soldier Of Fortune– featuring Joel Hoekstra & The Hook City Strings*
    07. Soldier Of Fortune – featuring The Hook City Strings*

Purplesnake Videos

  1. Lay Down, Stay Down*
    09. Holy Man*
    10. You Keep On Moving*
    11. You Fool No One*

Live Clips

  1. Burn– Live “Atlantis” Video
    13. Burn/Stormbringer – Live In The Still Of The Night
    14. Soldier Of Fortune – Starkers In Tokyo

The Purple Tour Five Live

  1. Burn
    16. The Gypsy
    17. Mistreated
    18. You Fool No One
    19. Soldier Of Fortune
    20. The Purple Album: Behind The Scenes*
    21. The Purple Album: Song-By-Song*

* Previously unreleased

When “The Purple Album” was originally released, Coverdale told Billboard: “Everyone did their homework, and every performance is done respectfully in honor of (DEEP PURPLE‘s) musicians. Though I focused on the twin-guitar attack of WHITESNAKE, we had a guest keyboard player because a huge part of the DEEP PURPLE sound was Jon Lord playing that amazing Hammond organ.”

He continued: “There were respectful nods to the original musicians throughout the album, and it has come out delightfully. It’s a tribute to Jon LordIan Paice and Ritchie Blackmore, who gave me my break in the first place. I’d never even made a record when I joined DEEP PURPLE, and my first record went double gold, which was early platinum. They didn’t even have platinum records back in those days!”

Coverdale added: “When we were working on it, each one of my musicians said these songs sounded as if they were written yesterday, and none of them were born when I first recorded them! It’s a testament to the songs that they stand up. We’ve Whitesnaked them up and given them a fresh coat of paint, but it’s still the same House of Purple.”

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