Original WHITESNAKE guitarist Bernie Marsden has passed away at the age of 72
Marsden‘s passing was confirmed by his family in a social media post earlier today (Friday, August 25) which read: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden. Bernie died peacefully on Thursday evening with his wife, Fran, and daughters, Charlotte and Olivia, by his side.
“Bernie never lost his passion for music, writing and recording new songs until the end.”
“I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed,” he wrote. “My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know and share a stage with.”
Marsden stood as a paramount figure among rock and blues guitarists in the UK, leaving an indelible mark with his presence in professional bands dating back to 1972. A founding pillar of one of the most iconic rock forces in history, the mighty WHITESNAKE, his legacy resonates far beyond just his association with the band.
Yet, his story stretches far and wide, from his early days with UFO to gracing the stages of London’s National Theatre. He’s shared the spotlight with Ringo Starr in Monaco and lent his strings to the grandeur of the Beacon Theatre in New York alongside THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND. Collaborations with luminaries like Joe Bonamassa and MOTÖRHEAD stand as testaments to his musical versatility.
Beyond his musical prowess, Marsden cultivated enduring friendships with titans of the guitar realm including Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, and Warren Haynes. His journey came full circle with a return to WHITESNAKE in its recent incarnations, and his solo endeavors further attested to his boundless creativity. His fascination with guitars ignited as a teenager, ignited by the magnetic aura of THE BEATLES, a passion that kindled until his final moments. Bernie‘s passion bore fruit in one of the world’s most expansive and exceptional private guitar collections.
A conservative estimate places Marsden‘s name on a staggering multitude of albums — possibly surpassing the century mark. In tandem with his prolific solo career, the Buckinghamshire-born guitarist embarked on a recording odyssey since the early 1970s, traversing musical landscapes through stints with WHITESNAKE, UFO, WILD TURKEY, BABE RUTH, PAICE ASHTON & LORD, COZY POWELL’S HAMMER, ALASKA, M3, and an array of other ventures. While often pegged as a blues-rock virtuoso, Marsden’s artistry found unique expressions within each of his musical incarnations.
Good Morning…I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend & former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed. My sincere thoughts & prayers to his beloved family, friends & fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honored to know & share a stage with
RIP, Bernie XXX pic.twitter.com/KXwsDEICN6
— David Coverdale (@davidcoverdale) August 25, 2023