Bernie Marsden is an English rock and blues guitarist born in Buckingham, England. He is primarily known for his work with Whitesnake having written or co-written many of the group’s hit songs, such as Here I Go Again, Trouble and Fool For Your Lovin’ with David Coverdale. Bernie is also renowned as one of the greatest rock and blues guitarists of all time.
After playing with a Buckingham band called Skinny Cat from the age of 17, Bernie got his first professional gig with UFO in 1972. He next played with Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey in 1973, before he joined legendary drummer Cozy Powell’s band Cozy Powell’s Hammer. He then played with Babe Ruth, from 1975–76, before becoming an original member of Paice Ashton Lord in 1977 with Deep Purple founding member Ian Paice and Jon Lord. Bernie’s next gig was to be his career defining moment – joining and forming Whitesnake with David Coverdale. There was a possibility of playing with his boy-time hero Paul McCartney and Wings, but while waiting, he met David Coverdale, and the rest is history…
Bernie played on the first EP, the first five albums and a live album: Snakebite (1978), Trouble (1978), Lovehunter (1979), Ready & Willing (1980), Live In The Heart Of The City (1980), Come An’ Get It (1981) and Saints & Sinners (1982). During his time with Whitesnake, he also took part in a number of sessions and released two solo albums, And About Time, Too! and Look at Me Now. His time in Whitesnake, and his legacy of songs, remains in the forefront of his musical career.
After leaving Whitesnake in 1981, Marsden formed a short-lived band called Bernie Marsden’s SOS. Not long after, Bernie Marsden’s Alaska was formed. In 1986, he formed MGM with former-Whitesnake members Neil Murray and Mel Galley. The band, very briefly, included Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. Recordings were made but remain unreleased. In 1989, Bernie Marsden reunited with Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody to form the Moody Marsden Band. Next up for Bernie was the band The Company Of Snakes. The name of the band derives from ex-Bad Company singer Robert Hart and having Marsden, Moody and Neil Murray in the band too. TCOS evolved into the band M3.
At the Sweden Rock Festival in 2011 Bernie Marsden played with Whitesnake for the first time since 1981, thus becoming the second of only two former Whitesnake band members who have played with Whitesnake in recent years, the other person being Adrian Vandenberg, who also played with them on the Sweden Rock Festival.
In more recent years, Marsden has been involved in very different projects. The most unusual being two engagements at the National Theatre in London for Nickolas Hytner’s productions of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘Henry the V’ in collaboration with Simon Webb. He also appeared in ZDF television in Germany for their production of “Frankie”, a six-part TV special.
Bernie Marsden now endorses PRS Guitars and has his own Signature guitar released in 2012. He released his latest album, Shine, for Mascot Provogue Records and recorded it at Abbey Road Studios in London and Royal Studios in Memphis. The album, released in 2014, features guest appearances from David Coverdale and Joe Bonamassa. He has also produced a blues documentary, A Day in the Delta, in collaboration with Jim Singleton, filmed in Mississippi.
In early 2017 Bernie self-published his autobiography, Where’s My Guitar? On the Tourbus with the Snakeman to great acclaim from fans. The book covers Bernie’s musical journey with humour and honesty and features a number of private, unseen pictures from his career.
Bernie has played with some of the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time. He has worked alongside Robert Plant, Paul Weller, Greg Allman, Gary Moore, Ringo Starr, Cozy Powell, Rory Gallagher, Warren Haynes, Joe Bonamassa, and many more.