Bernie Marsden, former Whitesnake guitarist and giant of blues-rock guitar, has died

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Bernie Marsden, former Whitesnake guitarist guitar, has died

The legendary blues rock guitarist Bernie Marsden, known for co-founding Whitesnake and his soulful playing style, has died at age 71. Marsden passed away peacefully on Thursday evening surrounded by his wife Fran and daughters Charlotte and Olivia, as confirmed by his record label.

Though best known for his influential four-year run with Whitesnake starting in 1978, Marsden’s accomplished career spanned over 50 years. Born in England in 1951, Bernie began professionally in 1972 with bands like Paice Ashton Lord and UFO before joining Whitesnake.

With Whitesnake, Marsden’s exceptional songwriting, smooth technique, and stage charisma shone through. He co-wrote enduring hits like “Here I Go Again” and played his iconic 1959 Les Paul “The Beast.” Even after departing in 1982, his legacy defined Whitesnake’s bluesy hard rock sound.

Beyond Whitesnake, Bernie led groups like Alaska and The Moody Marsden Band while continuing his solo work. He collaborated with icons like Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Ringo Starr. Marsden’s influential style blended British Invasion and blues rock, inspired by legends like Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, and Peter Green.

Later in life, Bernie wrote new music and hosted guitar clinics, driven by his lifelong passion. His 2022 album “Trios” continued displaying his mastery. Marsden’s death represents an enormous loss for rock guitar’s old guard. But his recordings and Whitesnake contributions remain timeless.

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