“When I played Here I Go Again to Jon Lord he had a certain look in his eye. He said, ‘You’re a clever little sod, aren’t you?’”: Remembering Bernie Marsden, 1951-2023

Bernie Marsden
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

To the uninitiated, Bernie Marsden might have been easy to miss. In an industry of leather, motorbikes and top hats – and from a generation where ‘lead guitarist’ was shorthand for ‘show-off’ – the man once dubbed ‘British blues-rock’s secret weapon’ had the unstarry, affable, anecdote-ready demeanour of a pub regular. 

But as the guitar community well knows, there was much more to Marsden, who died at the age of 72 as this issue went to press. The myriad reasons to toast the great journeyman’s final flight span from the anthems he wrote (which included Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again) through to the young musicians he mentored, the sweetness of his touch and the treasures of his superb vintage guitar collection. 

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Henry Yates

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written about music for titles including The Guardian, Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a talking head on Times Radio and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl and many more. As a guitarist with three decades' experience, he mostly plays a Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul.