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Bernie Marsden R.I.P.

Bernie Marsden in 2012; photo © Ja Fryta CC-BY-SA

Another sad day in the family — Bernie Marsden has passed away at the age of 72. His PR people released the following statement:

On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness we announce the death of Bernie Marsden. 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.

David Coverdale tweeted (as quoted by Louder Sound):

I’ve just woken up to the awful news that my old friend and former Snake Bernie Marsden has passed. My sincere thoughts and prayers to his beloved family, friends and fans. A genuinely funny, gifted man, whom I was honoured to know and share a stage with.

Thanks to Louder Sound for the quotes, and to Uwe Hornung for the heads-up.

49 Comments to “Bernie Marsden R.I.P.”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    So sad. Best Whitesnake guitarist ever.


    49 years ago, his first TV appearance.


    So fluid and melodic …


    We wish you well, Bernie, what a player, singer and writer you were.


  2. 2
    Moe Cullity says:

    This is yet another huge loss to the rock world. Marsden was always my favourite guitarist in Whitesnake. An excellent guitarist and songwriter who was definitely one of the highlights at the tribute for Jon Lord. His book was a very enjoyable read as well. R.I.P.

  3. 3
    Adrian Smith says:

    So sad to hear of his passing. I was lucky enough to meet him many times over the years. He was always a gentleman and had so much time for his fans. Thank you Bernie for all the music that you gave us. RIP.

  4. 4
    Martin says:

    Sad news. What a humble, down to earth man and gifted musician!

    I always liked this rendition of Here I Go Again he did with the late Jon Lord.


  5. 5
    Jet Auto jerry says:

    Bummer, Man. Never did get the chance to see him live. I guess that I will finally have to get around to reading his book from a few years ago that I pre-ordered and it has just been sitting around waiting to be read (Along with more books than I care to admit, so at least it is not a lonely book!)

  6. 6
    George Martin says:

    So sad, For me the early Whitesnake albums were the best and he is part of the reason why. Rest In Peace, Bernie.

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    This is sad news indeed. May he rest peacefully. A fine guitarist & all round nice man.
    I might play Bach Onto This, it has a wonderful Bernie guitar solo in that superb piece of music. RIP

  8. 8
    AndreA says:


    I’m walking in the shadow of the blues

  9. 9
    Albania says:

    Truly sorry to read about Bernie’s passing.
    He was such a talented musician and melodic guitarist who stayed true to his approach until the end.
    R.I.P. Bernie.

  10. 10
    Stathis says:

    What a loss. What a great musician, songwriter and person. I first saw Bernie live with Alaska at Knebworth 1985, and I met him briefly during a Purple gig at Colston Hall, Bristol in 2002. He was invited to play “Smoke On The Water” with the band, and did a wonderful back-and-forth guitar jam intro with Steve Morse before powering into the song, all beaming smiles! (Have it on video somewhere but damned if I remember exactly where)
    After the show we had a chat, and he said, “now I have played with all of them, except Ritchie Blackmore, maybe one day!” He was well chuffed about having jammed with Purple.
    A nice, affable, smiling fellow, really friendly and down to earth.
    He never got to play with Ritchie, more’s the pity, but he had a great run and gave us some wonderful music, with PAL, Jon Lord, his solo LPs, Babe Ruth, and of course Whitesnake and lots more.
    RIP Bernie, you’ve been great.

  11. 11
    Ivica says:

    “,Na Na Na”,”Remember the Good Times” , “On the Road Again, Again”,”Trouble “,”Walking in the Shadow of the Blues”,”Fool for Your Loving”,”Here I Go Again”,”Young Blood”,”Place in My Heart” ….R.I.P

  12. 12
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    Sad News. His Guitar Playing on the PAL album and WhiteSnake albums was excellent!! May he RIP!

  13. 13
    Matt says:

    Very sad news a major part of the early and best Whitesnake IMO.
    Such a shame (following his Trouble reworking on Shine) DC and Bernie couldn’t have recorded again.
    Just read a very good career encompassing interview which signs off talking about a new solo album.


    I’m not sure of relations with Micky Moody after various ex Whitesnake incarnations . Their playing together was phenomenal. Despite Bernie’s later years resurgence with blues, cover and tribute albums, it’s always the Marsden Moody combo playing the old favourites that I love the most.


    And what a voice too

    RIP Bernie

  14. 14
    stoffer says:

    Rest In Peace Bernie Marsden…Absolutely a talented player and member of the Purple family. Ill play Malice In Wonderland in memory today….

  15. 15
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Very sad new, RIP and you are loved by thousands of not millions.
    You are truly wonderful person and you are in a much better place and enjoying the company of lovely musicians who left before you.
    Tears of respect love and hurt tuning down for a while till I celebrate you properly with a glass of cold beer.
    Cheers Bernie
    Love and peace to all you loved ones.
    Peace 🫂

  16. 16
    wojak says:

    A huge loss. Surely the most important member of Whitesnake after David? A great player and a really good singer (who got better with age). I saw him and Whitesnake live in 79 and they started my musical journey without a doubt. He also plays on one of my favourite albums of all time, Malice in Wonderland. A truly brilliant piece of work. Quite of few of his Whitesnake songs are simply iconic. I saw him play many, many times including with Deep Purple (which was fun) Joe Bonamassa and a great gig with Robert Plant, Paice, Lord and others that was truly jaw dropping. He is, for me, the beating heart of classic Whitesnake and when he was on form then…. wow….


  17. 17
    AndreA says:

    @10 Stathis


  18. 18
    Andrea says:

    Very sad news indeed.Thank you Bernie for the wonderful music you have given to us all these years. Blasting your SHINE album right now!
    Your tone, smooth and understated style, tasteful solos reflect your personality, always being the humble and gracious one.

    I write my infinite sadness into this forum because it was your music that led me to discovering Deep Purple through the Made in Europe album, me being a Whitesnake fan first in 1982 before MK2 reformed.
    The classic WS lineup from Snakebite to Come An Get It will always be my fave. I missed you live because your spot had already been occupied by Mel Galley when I got to see WS first on the WS Commandos tour.
    Gone too soon but not from our hearts, God Speed Bernie
    Yours Andrea

  19. 19
    Carl Kottmeier says:

    Oof, this one hurts. I never met him nor saw him play live, but like for many of you, his music has been a very big part of my life all the way back to the late 70s when I was discovering other great music post-DP, and PAL’s MIW and WS’ Trouble came out. Wonderful stuff. He and Micky together were just amazing, absolute “chef’s kiss”. RIP Sir.

  20. 20
    Rock Voorne says:

    Very saddening and confrontational news.

    This hits hard.

    One of the kindest people in the DP familytree.

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    With UFO before they were taken over by a Kraut …


  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Same fate as Jeff Beck: bacterial meningitis. And I thought that scourge hat been all but wiped out by antibiotics.

  23. 23
    Steven Horton says:

    So sad to hear pf Bernie Marsdens passing ,saw him in Pontypridd muni south wales ,he was fantastic and what a lovely bloke RIP to a great musician whogave us great songs ❤️

  24. 24
    Jean-Christophe GÉRARD says:

    Let’s not forget that our beloved Bernie Marsden wrote the heartfull South Africa with Ian Gillan.

  25. 25
    Hassan nikfarjam says:

    Great blues player. I am very sad. R. I. P.

  26. 26
    marcus says:

    According to the NHS website, 10% of cases are fatal, still, and 40% of survivors have long term complications.

    Saw Bernie with Whitesnake a couple of times in the 80s while still a student, unfortunately not caught him live since.

    It was a really great live band, but possibly too English to make it big in the States – which is what David obviously wanted, and where the money was.

    The music is there forever.
    Thank You.

  27. 27
    Nino says:

    It is a pity that such people leave us. Rest in peace Bernie.

  28. 28
    Dr. Bob says:

    On another branch of the Purple family free, I love me some Paice Ashton & Lord


  29. 29
    Mark.H. says:

    Ive seen Bernie many times over the years,from the original Whitesnake to him going solo..moody marsden,company of snakes,3M etc.All great bands. A lovely bloke,always time for his fans.last time i saw him was chesterfield live time,he played all the whitesnake stuff and told entertaining stories. Sorry for the people who never saw him,you missed a treat, a true great.R.I.P.Bernie….There must be one helluva band up there in heaven…and bernie will he writing the stuff.

  30. 30
    Elprupdeep says:

    I am a “sad clown” today.
    Remember buying his solo album in Fnac Paris. One of a few. Was disco and rubbish music time by then and the seller guys thought I was an alien buying a BM album. Lol.
    Highlight it’s of course his time in WS but for me it will always be PAL the best.
    Thanks and
    RIP Bernie.
    Long live DP family.
    Richard Legris.

  31. 31
    Max says:

    Just a couple of years ago my son and me were lucky enough to catch one of his rare shows in Germany. It was good fun and Bernei was kind enough to chat and sign our stuff after the show. What a gifted, warm, gentle and funny man he was.

  32. 32
    Leon Mark Rodziewicz says:

    RIP Bernie, great memories of your days in Whitesnake. If any of you don’t own a copy of Shine, it’s well worth getting.

  33. 33
    David McCrory says:

    Very sad day, my condolences to his family at this time

  34. 34
    George Hyland says:

    It is hard to compare the early Whitesnake albums to the 1987 album because I think they had a “goal” in mind with the ‘87 album and they accomplished it. Sykes really delivered. That being said, I enjoy the early catalog a lot more than the stuff after ‘87. I kinda put the ‘87 album in its own category. Bernie wrote great songs with DC and the Ready n Willing lineup was just awesome. Live in the Heart of the City stands the test of time with me as well. That was the first Whitesnake album I bought and it was the double LP Sunburst import!

  35. 35
    Andrew M says:

    Too young. So talented, and no ego.

  36. 36
    Simon says:

    A member of by far the best version of Whitesnake. Bernie Marsden, a legend. RIP.

  37. 37
    Fernando Azevedo says:

    Just this month I made a list of my favorite guitarist-singers and there was Bernie Marsden. What a talent to put, with a lot of feeling, every note in his beautiful solos. Wonderful voice and a great composer. He deserves all the tributes and words of affection.
    Rest in peace.

  38. 38
    Peter Lotz says:

    Always friendly and good humor never boastful and push to the fore – but high quality !

    Too bad, this kind of musicians are becoming increasingly rare .

  39. 39
    Pier says:

    I always loved the guitar of Bernie.
    The truth is that Whitesnake, the real band, was a british marvellous Hard Rock Blues Band.
    Then Coverdale took the name of the Band, moved to US and began to play Metal. Wich was good but all the subtleties, the warmth, the feeling was left a bit out of the door.

    RIP Bernie, and thanks for your music.

  40. 40
    Kidpurple says:

    Walking in the Shadow of the Blues –
    Early Whitesnake filled the Purple void before the
    Reunion! Thanks Bernie !

  41. 41
    wojak says:

    @24 Really good point… I spoke to Bernie about this and he was very proud of it!!! He co-wrote, plays guitars and it features the brilliant Jimmy Copley on drums.

    So, Bernie played with Coverdale, Gillan and live with Robert Plant. Did he ever play with Glenn Hughes?

  42. 42
    Micke says:

    Malice in Wonderland RIP Bernie

  43. 43
    Mike Nagoda says:

    Terribly sad news – I loved his playing in Whitesnake, but especially in PAL. I will miss him.

  44. 44
    Chris Broadbent says:

    @41 Yes, there is a video of him playing Mistreated with Glenn on YouTube.

  45. 45
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Thanks, Chris, great performance too!


  46. 46
    Mark Jones says:

    At around 59’50” you can hear Bernie’s interview .. and then an acoustic rendition. Not sure if that works outside of the UK. NB these programmes only stay available for 30 days


  47. 47
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Never seen this, not the usual teeny bop fodder you’d expect from Cozy Powell’s Hammer who were after all supposed to promote Cozy’s RAK singles, this here is even jazzy.


    The bassist is Clive Chaman btw who played with Rainbow between the departure of Bob Daisley and the arrival of Roger Glover, but never found Ritchie’s favor due to his more fusion style. Cozy who knew Clive from Jeff Beck Group days wanted to install him in Rainbow. According to David Stone, Ritchie simply refused to show up at/boycotted the rehearsals he and Cozy conducted with Clive.

    It was Cozy who recommended to Bernie to try his luck with PAL (then looking for a guitarist NOT sounding like Ritchie) when Bernie visited him backstage after a Rainbow gig. And from there, Bernie got to meet and know DC as the idea was played with to have DC join PAL to take front man weight off Tony Ashton’s shoulders (which would have turned PAL into CLAP as DC succinctly observed, but I wouldn’t want to draw hasty venereal disease personal history conclusions from that!).

  48. 48
    MacGregor says:

    Yes as discussed here a while ago regarding Cozy never drumming like he previously did after being in Rainbow. It seems like the Hammer of the Gods certainly changed him to that hard rock style permanently in many ways. Frank Aiello on lead vocals here, reminds me a little of John Lawton. Regarding the Clap, Steve Howe had that acoustic instrumental on The Yes Album titled that. Not to mean the VD either, but that is what the press & many presumed. Silly buggers. Cheers.

  49. 49
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The only Deep Purple member that to my knowledge ever admitted to catching the clap was poor Roger – you know how bassists always get the worst quality groupies after everyone else is done! – who hobbled on stage for a while during early Mk II until the, uhum, mold broth filtrate took its soothing effect.


    That said, Big Ian might have been writing from personal experience here too …


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