Whitesnake’s Original Guitarist, Bernie Marsden, Dead at 72

bernie marsden whitesnake
Jan Slob photo/flickr

In a significant blow to the world of rock and blues, Bernie Marsden, the original guitarist for the iconic English hard rock band, Whitesnake, died August 24. He was 72.

The news was confirmed through a statement from Bernie’s record label, Conquest Music, which highlighted his unwavering passion for music, mentioning that he continued to write and record new songs until the very end. Marsden’s association with Whitesnake began in 1978 and continued until 1982.

During this period, he played a pivotal role in crafting some of the band’s most memorable hits, including the 1982 chart-topper, “Here I Go Again.” However, Marsden’s musical journey was rich and varied, starting way before his Whitesnake days.

Born in Buckingham, England, in 1951, he kickstarted his professional career in 1972, collaborating with bands like Paice Ashton Lord, UFO, and Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey.

Speaking of his influences in a Classic Rock interview, Marsden said, “I loved Hank Marvin in The Shadows as a kid, but Eric Clapton was the first guitar player I really adored.”

Post-Whitesnake, Marsden’s musical endeavors included forming bands like Alaska, MGM, and The Moody Marsden Band. He also ventured into solo projects, with “And About Time Too!” in 1979 being a notable mention.

His association with the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar, known as The Beast, became legendary. “Every Whitesnake record I did has that guitar on it – I wrote all those songs on that guitar,” he once remarked.

David Coverdale, Marsden’s former Whitesnake colleague, took to Twitter to express his shock, stating, “I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know and share a stage with.”

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