Blackmore remembers Big Jim
Blackmore: "Jim was a mentor and a good friend"
Ritchie Blackmore has has paid tribute to Big JIm Sullivan – his former guitar tutor – who died yesterday.
The ex-Deep Purple guitarist issued the following statement via Facebook:
“I first met Jim Sullivan in 1958. He was introduced to me by my sister-in-law’s brother. We both lived in the same area: in Middlesex, Cranford. He was playing with Marty Wilde And The Wildcats. He showed me another level of playing. He was probably the most advanced guitarist in the London area.
“I would listen to the radio every week there was a Marty Wilde show. Jim was often featured on the show so I was glued to the radio. He also made some great instrumentals. One being Trambone and one being Peak Hour. He was the first guitarist to play through a wah-wah pedal. It was a DeArmond foot volume and tone control. I remember an instrumental called The Bat, where he used the pedal. That would’ve been around 1959.
“Last time I saw Jim was in LA where he was playing with Tom Jones. He was one of England’s finest players, a mentor and a good friend for me. His playing will always be in my heart and live on. God bless you Jim.”
Sullivan, who helped Blackmore learn how to play guitar, recalled on his website:
“Ritchie was a precocious talent even then… he learned to be an individual very quickly. To be truthful I think that telling him to be an individual and making him use his little finger is all I needed to tell him. The rest was natural to him.”