Bernie Marsden

Bernard John "Bernie" 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]

Bernie Marsden
Birth nameBernard John Marsden
Born (1951-05-07) 7 May 1951
Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England
GenresRock, blues-rock, blues
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.

Early career

After playing with local Buckingham based groups. Bernie 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 was working alongside saxophonist Howie Casey and he recommended Bernie to join Paul McCartney's Wings, but the position never materialised as Whitesnake was being formed at the same time period.[5]

Paice Ashton Lord

PAL 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, writer of 'The Resurrection Shuffle' Cozy Powell recommended Marsden, he auditioned alongside bassist Paul Martinez. There was much anticipation for the band, but after one LP 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. Bernie played on the first e.p, 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 would go on to create Whitesnake's anthem "Here I Go Again" in 1982, a song that sold many millions all over the world in on Whitesnake '1987'. Both writers have received many awards for the song. As of 2018 the song has been counted at 6 million USA radio plays.

Post-Whitesnake bands

Following his departure from Whitesnake, Marsden formed a short-lived band called Bernie Marsden's SOS. Not long after, Bernie Marsden's Alaska was formed 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, very briefly, also included former Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. Recordings were made but still remain unreleased. In 1989, Bernie 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, recording one studio album called 'Real Faith'. Next up for Bernie was The Company Of Snakes. As it turned out, the name was a little misleading as former Bad Company vocalist Robert Hart didn't 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 Bernie, Moody and Murray, all ex Whitesnake and master 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

Bernie 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 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 Bernie's second solo album, Look At Me Now, in 1981. Both of these LP's 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 feature 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.

Bernie Marsden has recorded two soundtrack CD's, his music has featured in many USA 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 a close relationship with Honey Boy Edwards, John Jackson and Louisiana Red, playing with all of them as well.

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

He played guitar with singer Elkie Brooks, a singer he long admired, with The Diesel Band with John Coghlan, working at The National Theatre in two Shakespeare productions with Sir Nicholas Hytner, writing for Joe Bonamassa, playing 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.

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

In 2014, Bernie 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.

Bernie Marsden released his autobiography "Where's My Guitar" in 2017. The book is being updated and will be reissued by Harper Collins in November 2019

His inaugural Guitar Mojo Experience guitar school was held at Stowe in Buckinghamshire in 2018, and was repeated in 2019. He has been recording new material throughout 2018 and 2019 for future release. He continues to play solo shows, mainly festivals in Europe and the UK, joining Joe Bonamassa's Blues Cruises, and he is taking a show on the road playing the Whitesnake album, "Ready An Willing" in its entirety in the autumn of 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. Greg Prato. "Bernie Marsden Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  5. UK, Roland. "Bernie Marsden Interview With Roland - Artists - Roland". Retrieved 29 October 2018.
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