Bernie Marsden

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Bernie Marsden
Marsden in 2012
Marsden in 2012
Background information
Birth nameBernard John Marsden
Born (1951-05-07) 7 May 1951 (age 70)
Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England
GenresRock, blues-rock, blues, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1972–present
LabelsRAK, Chrysalis, EMI, Parlophone, Warner Brothers, United Artists, Capitol Records, SPV, Mascot Provogue, Little House Music,
Associated actsUFO, Wild Turkey Cozy Powell's Hammer, Babe Ruth, Paice Ashton Lord, Whitesnake, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan Alaska, Moody Marsden Band, Elkie Brooks,The Company of Snakes, Elkie Brooks, Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Living Colour.

Bernard John Marsden (born 7 May 1951) is an English rock and blues guitarist. He is primarily known for his work with Whitesnake, having written or co-written with David Coverdale many of the group's hit songs, such as "Fool for Your Loving", "Walking in the Shadow of the Blues", "She's A Woman", "Lovehunter", "Trouble", "Child of Babylon", "Rough and Ready", and the multi-million selling chart-topper "Here I Go Again".[1]

Early career[edit]

After playing with local Buckingham based groups, Marsden formed Skinny Cat at the age of 17.[2][3]

Marsden got his first professional gig with UFO in 1972. He next played with Glenn Cornick's Wild Turkey in 1973, before he joined drummer Cozy Powell's band Cozy Powell's Hammer. He then joined Babe Ruth in 1975, and played on two releases for Capitol Records, Stealin' Home (1975) and Kid's Stuff (1976), during his time with Babe Ruth, Cozy Powell recommended him to Jon Lord who was forming a post Deep Purple band with Ian Paice, Paice Ashton Lord, in 1976, with Tony Ashton .[4]

During his time recording the Malice in Wonderland album with Paice Ashton Lord, Marsden worked alongside saxophonist Howie Casey who recommended Marsden join Paul McCartney's Wings, but the position never materialised, as Whitesnake was being formed at the same time period.[5]

Paice Ashton Lord[edit]

Paice Ashton Lord was the band formed by Jon Lord and Ian Paice after the demise of Deep Purple. Long-time associate and keyboard player Tony Ashton made up the third part. Cozy Powell recommended Marsden, who auditioned alongside bassist Paul Martinez. There was much anticipation for the band, but after one album and only five gigs, the band folded during sessions in Munich for a second album, momentous because it was in Munich that Marsden met David Coverdale for the first time.


After Paice Ashton Lord folded, in 1978, Marsden formed a new band with former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale and guitarist Micky Moody. The band started as David Coverdale's Whitesnake, which then became Whitesnake. Marsden played on the first EP, first five albums and a live album: Snakebite (1978), Trouble (1978), Lovehunter (1979), Ready & Willing (1980), Live In The Heart Of The City (1980), Come An' Get It (1981) and Saints & Sinners (1982), contributing many of the songs with David Coverdale and sometimes Moody. Marsden and Coverdale went on to create Whitesnake's anthem "Here I Go Again" in 1982, a song that sold many millions all over the world. Both writers have received many awards for the song. As of 2018, the song has been counted at six million US radio plays.[citation needed]

Post-Whitesnake bands[edit]

Following his departure from Whitesnake, Marsden formed a short-lived band called Bernie Marsden's SOS.[6] Not long after, Bernie Marsden's Alaska was formed,[6] with Robert Hawthorne on vocals and Richard Bailey on keyboards. Alaska released two melodic rock albums, Heart of the Storm (1984) and The Pack (1985), before splitting.[4] In 1986, he put together MGM with former Whitesnake members Neil Murray and his replacement guitarist in Whitesnake Mel Galley. The band, briefly, also included former Toto vocalist, Bobby Kimball. Recordings were made but still remain unreleased.

In 1989, Marsden reunited with Whitesnake guitarist Moody to form The Moody Marsden band, recording an acoustic live album in Norway called Live In Hell and an electric live album recorded in England Never Turn Our Back On The Blues, that featured Zak Starkey on drums. Touring throughout Europe, he recorded one studio album called Real Faith. Next up for Marsden was The Company Of Snakes. As it turned out, the name was a little misleading as former Bad Company vocalist Robert Hart did not actually make the record with the others. Marsden, Moody and Neil Murray with John Lingwood playing drums decided to continue. This band eventually released a double album of Whitesnake songs called Here They Go Again, and later produced a studio album called Burst The Bubble that also featured ex Hammer and Rainbow and now Deep Purple keyboard player, Don Airey. TCOS ended and evolved into M3. This revamped line up included Marsden, Moody, and Murray, all ex Whitesnake, and drummer Jimmy Copley, keyboard player Mark Stanway and Swedish vocalist Stefan Berggren. M3 produced a triple-CD DVD called Rough 'n' Ready which again features the songs from their Whitesnake legacy.

Solo career[edit]

Marsden released two solo albums during his time in Whitesnake. First released in Japan on the Japanese label Trash/Trio in 1979, And About Time Too,[6] became the number one import into the UK. EMI Records soon picked up the rights to the album and released it in Europe shortly before the release of Marsden's second solo album, Look At Me Now, in 1981.[6] Both of these LPs were on the Parlophone label; at the time only Marsden and The Beatles were on the label. His BBC Friday Rock Show solo sessions were released on CD; these featured David Coverdale and Toto drummer Simon Phillips. No more solo albums appeared until the release of his Green and Blues in 1994. This album is his tribute to guitarists in the John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers allowing him to thank Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor, but most of all John Mayall.

Marsden recorded two soundtrack CDs; his music has featured in many US TV shows.

He has produced his own documentary blues-based DVD, filmed in Mississippi. Concentrating on the Clarksdale area, it features some wonderful stories and playing, especially with James 'Super Chikan' Johnson, Morgan Freeman appears, dancing in the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale as Marsden plays with his band. His continuing fascination with blues music led to him producing USA artist Larry Johnson's Blues From Harlem CD, and forming close relationships with Honey Boy Edwards, John Jackson and Louisiana Red, playing with all of them as well.

Into the 2000s, he produced his Big Boy Blue double-CD, Stacks, featuring Jimmy Copley, Big Boy Blue Live, and Bernie Plays Rory, a double CD of Rory Gallagher's material. A live acoustic recording, Going To My Hometown, was recorded at The Radcliffe Centre in Buckingham. Castle Communications released a definitive compilation double CD called Blues and Scales which features songs from almost all the bands of his career.

He played guitar with Elkie Brooks, a singer he long admired; with The Diesel Band with John Coghlan; worked at The National Theatre in two Shakespeare productions with Sir Nicholas Hytner; wrote for Joe Bonamassa; and played with Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band; joining the band on stage at the Beacon Theatre in New York. A personal highlight of his long career was playing guitar in the Ringo Starr Band; with shows in Monaco and in the UK.

Latest news[edit]

His inaugural Guitar Mojo Experience was held at Arts[clarification needed] at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire in 2018 and 2019. A third Mojo was scheduled for July 2020.

He recorded new material throughout 2018 and 2019 for future releases.

He continues to play solo shows, mainly festivals in Europe and the UK, joining Joe Bonamassa's Blues Cruises, and also took a show on the road playing the Whitesnake album Ready And Willing in its entirety in the autumn of 2019.

Guitar related[edit]

PRS Guitars released a Bernie Marsden Signature Edition guitar, and Gibson Guitars made a limited edition number of his Gibson Les Paul guitar known as "The Beast". His second book, released in 2018, is Tales of Tone and Volume and is a large tome featuring his guitar collection. Marsden contributed a column to Guitarist magazine in 2018–19

In 2014, Marsden was signed to the Dutch record label Mascot Provogue and released the critically acclaimed album, Shine. The album features David Coverdale singing the Whitesnake classic "Trouble", Joe Bonamassa on guitar on the title track "Shine", Don Airey on keys and both Ian Paice and Jimmy Copley on drums.

Marsden released his autobiography Where's My Guitar in 2017. The book was updated and reissued by HarperCollins in November 2019.



  1. ^ Prato, Greg. Bernie Marsden at AllMusic
  2. ^ Edwards, Owen. "Bernie Marsden - Blues Rock Survivor". All Out Guitar. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  3. ^ Daniels, Neil (2013). High stakes & dangerous men : the UFO story. London: Soundcheck Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780957144262. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Bernie Marsden Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Bernie Marsden Interview With Roland - Artists". Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 283. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.

External links[edit]