Jim Sullivan


LONDON (AP) — Acclaimed session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, who played on dozens of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, has died, his wife said Thursday. He was 71.

Norma Sullivan said that Sullivan had died at their home in West Sussex, England, on Tuesday. He suffered from heart disease and diabetes and had stopped performing live recently because of his health problems.

Sullivan learned guitar as a teenager and turned professional when he was just 16. He played with many of the biggest names in British pop at the height of the "Swinging London" era.

Along with Jimmy Page, who would later star in Led Zeppelin, Sullivan was one of the most in-demand session guitarists of his era. His website lists sessions with Tom Jones, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Gerry and the Pacemakers and many others. He claimed to have played on more than 1,000 singles that entered the British charts.

Sullivan's website said he joined his first band, the Wildcats, at age 17, in 1958, which he described as "the early days of rock and roll in this country."

He said he and his friends were too busy learning music to do normal teenage things.

He was known for his mastery of a wide variety of styles, from hard rock to country to blues.

"I am a very lucky man," he said on his website. "I am living my life with my hobby as my profession."

Sullivan also toured with Tom Jones's band, playing in Las Vegas casino hotels and on television shows.

He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

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Guest Book

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Godspeed Jim, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

I new Big Jim when I was 14 as he was best friends with my boyfriend Michael. Jim was fun and a great guy always playing his guitar day and night. Then Michael and Sid's group got together
Sid had a great voice and Big Jim was great on guitar. His talent was bigger than his body keep playing Jim God Bless you

Jim with Sid Gilbert and the clay county boys

I first played with Jim in 1958 when he was seventeen, a hundred
guitar players later he was still the best I even played with his own
teenage hero Denny Wright let's hope they are jamming together now, my best wishes for the future to all his family
God bless them both RIP.


I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. What a wonderful man, and talent. I had the pleasure of meeting him way back in the 70's when he was playing with Tom Jones. A very cordial, humble man. In 2008, I received an email from him "catching up with the news of the day". Very sweet indeed. The world is going to miss this gentle giant.