Bernie Marsden, the original guitarist for Whitesnake and co-writer behind hits including ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Fool for Your Loving’, has died. “On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden,” a statement on his official website reads. “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.” Marsden was 72.
Born in Buckingham, UK in 1951, Marsden played with various local bands before getting his first professional gig with UFO in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, he played in bands including Wild Turkey, Cozy Powell’s Hammer, Babe Ruth, and the Deep Purple offshoot Paice Ashton Lord. It was while recording with the latter that he met Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale, with whom he formed Whitesnake alongside guitarist Micky Moody.
As a member of the band between 1978 and 1982, Marsden contributed to the Whitesnake’s first five albums: 1978’s Trouble, 1979’s Lovehunter, 1980’s Ready an’ Willing, 1981’s Come an’ Get It, and 1982’s Saints & Sinners. Though ‘Here I Go Again’ originally came out in 1982, it was the re-recorded 1987 version of the track that became a chart-topping single in the US.
After Whitesnake, Marsden went on to tour and record with bands including Alaska, MGM and the Moody Marsden Band, and contributed to albums by the likes of Jack Bruse, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. He also released several solo albums, with his last LP, Trios, released in August 2022.
Coverdale paid tribute to Marsden on social media, writing, “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.”