Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gilbert O'Sullivan - Big Jim Sullivan, and Jim Marshall, and Marshall Amps at 50!

Gilbert O'Sullivan...Himself, Alone Again (Naturally).  Gilbert O'Sullivan is best known for Alone Again (Naturally).  He was quoted recently as saying rather unabashedly, "I write pop songs.  End of story.  That's all I wanted to do. That's all I want to do.  And that's all I continue to want to do.  I have no interest in just touring, and living in the past."  OK.  Born Raymond Edward O'Sullivan, in Waterford, Ireland, in 1960, his family moved to Swindon, Wiltshire, England.  He attended St Joseph's and the Swindon College of Art, where he briefly played drums in a band called Rick's Blues, founded by Rick Davies (who later founded Supertramp).  According to a 1972 interview with O'Sullivan, Davies taught him how to play both drums and piano.  Imagine Supertramp with a Gilbert O’Sullivan!  ANN is a very bleak song really, with sad and tragic lyrics, but the music it’s set to has a up-tempo feel, in some major key.  A guy called Big Jim Sullivan plays the guitar break in the original recorded version of the song.  Ah, but who is Big Jim Sullivan we ask?  He was lots.   Allegedly, he’s the first person in the UK to own a Gibson Les Paul guitar, Marty Wilde bought it for him.  He gave Ritchie Blackmore and Steve Howe guitar lessons.  Jimmy Page borrowed Sullivan's Gibson J-200 acoustic for the recording of Led Zeppelin I.  Sullivan was one of the contributors to the 1971 Green Bullfrog album, which also featured guitarists Ritchie Blackmore and Albert Lee.  Big Jim Sullivan is an English musician, whose career started in 1959.  He is best known as a session guitarist. In the 1960s and 1970s, Sullivan was one of the most "in-demand" studio musicians in the UK, and performed in more than one thousand charting singles over his career.  He was called "Big Jim" to distinguish him from Jimmy Page, who was a popular session guitarist at the time and known as "Little Jim".  Sullivan, with Ritchie Blackmore and Pete Townshend, persuaded Jim Marshall to make those iconic amplifiers.  James Charles "Jim" Marshall, OBE (1923 - ), is known as The Father Of Loud.

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