Bernie Marsden, guitarist for Whitesnake who co-wrote some of the late ’70s and early ’80s glam-rock band’s biggest hits, has died. He was 72.
The British axe-man died Thursday, according to a Friday X post by the band’s leader and front man David Coverdale, who wrote:
“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”
Marsden began his career in Buckhingham as a teen, playing in bands including Clockwork Mousetrap and Skinny Cat. In 1978, he formed a new band – at first called “David Coverdale’s Whitesnake” – with former Deep Purple singer Coverdale, and played on its first EP “Snakebite.”
Over the next several years he would write or co-write several of the group’s hits, including “Fool for Your Loving,” “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues,” “She’s a Woman” and “Lovehunter.” But anyone who was alive in 1982 — or has listened to an ’80s-playing station — would know his work best from the ubiquitous glam-rock anthem “Here I Go Again,” the band’s biggest hit by far, with millions of radio plays and records sold.
Marsden stayed busy with outside collaborations, solo records and passion projects during and after the height of the Whitesnake years, including soundtrack work for movies and TV and a documentary about the Mississippi blues.
He is survived by his wife and two children, who were at his side when he passed Thursday night.