Ritchie Blackmore Pays Tribute To Guitar Teacher

Big Jim Sullivan sadly passed away this week

Guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, who passed away on Tuesday aged 71, played on more than 1000 recordings during his life, including hits by Bowie, The Kinks and a plethora of pop artists such as The Walker Brothers, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey.

He also backed Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on the 1960 tour that claimed Cochran's life and would later tour with Tom Jones from 1969-1974.

In 1958 he met a young guitarist named Ritchie Blackmore who he would go on to tutor.

Blackmore took to his Facebook account to pay tribute to his former teacher.

"I first met Jim Sullivan in 1958. He was introduced to me by my sister-in-law’s brother. We both lived in the same area: in Middlesex, Cranford. He was playing with Marty Wilde And The Wildcats. He showed me another level of playing. He was probably the most advanced guitarist in the London area.

"I would listen to the radio every week there was a Marty Wilde show. Jim was often featured on the show so I was glued to the radio. He also made some great instrumentals. One being Trambone and one being Peak Hour. He was the first guitarist to play through a wah-wah pedal. It was a DeArmond foot volume and tone control. I remember an instrumental called The Bat, where he used the pedal. That would’ve been around 1959.

"Last time I saw Jim was in LA where he was playing with Tom Jones. He was one of England’s finest players, a mentor and a good friend for me. His playing will always be in my heart and live on. God bless you Jim.”

RIP, Big Jim Sullivan 1941 - 2012

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