Big Jim Sullivan
Big Jim Sullivan (born James George Thompkins,
14 February 1941, in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England) is an English musician, whose career started in 1959. Best known as a session guitarist, Sullivan was one of the most "in-demand" studio musicians in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s and has performed on more than one thousand charting singles over his career. [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:dpfrxq95ldfe~T1 Allmusic bio] ]
Sullivan was born at Uxbridge Hospital, and he later went to Woodfield Secondary School, in
By 1959, at the
The 2i's Coffee BarSullivan met Marty Wilde, and was invited to become a member of his backing group, the Wildcats.
Jack Good introduced Sullivan to session work when he met him on the set of the
television series"Oh, Boy!"
Sullivan went on to become one of the most sought after
guitarists throughout the 1960s and the 1970s due to his flexibility in playing different styles of music. This meant he averaged three recording sessions a day,fact|date=June 2008 which allowed him to appear on many hit records. He played on at least one thousand UK chart entries.fact|date=June 2008
ullivan and Tom Jones
1974 to 1978
Sullivan left Tom Jones in late 1974, and teamed up with
Derek Lawrence, a record producerwhose credits include Deep Purpleand Wishbone Ash, to form a record labelnamed Retreat Records. They produced various artists over a period of about two years. Among these artists were Labi Siffre, Chas & Daveand McGuinness Flint. Sullivan himself fronted a band called Tiger, who put out three albums. Also, Lawrence and Sullivan went to the United Statesto produce a glam metalband named Angel.
1978 to 1987
In 1978 he became part of the
James Last Orchestrafor nine years; with a brief amount of time away for him to do a major tour with Olivia Newton-Johnafter her success with "Grease".
Starting in 1987, Sullivan composed music for
films and advertising jingles.
He put his guitar music on hold for a few years until a friend suggested he sat in with a musician playing at a nearby pub. The musician he sat in with was Willie Austen.
Recently Sullivan and guitarist Doug Pruden have been touring as the BJS Duo and he also plays in the Big Jim Sullivan Band with Duncan McKenzie,
Malcolm Mortimoreand Pete Shaw.
In 2006 Sullivan was featured in the "Guitar Maestros" DVD series.
With Other Legendary Guitarists
Ritchie Blackmoreand Steve Howe were given guitar lessons by Sullivan.fact|date=June 2008
*Sullivan, together with
Ritchie Blackmoreand Pete Townshend, persuaded Jim Marshall to make amplifiers.fact|date=June 2008
*Sullivan was known as "Big Jim", whilst
Jimmy Pagewas known as "Little Jim".fact|date=June 2008
Jimmy Pageborrowed Sullivan's Gibson J-200 acoustic for the recording of "Led Zeppelin".fact|date=June 2008
*Sullivan was one of the contributors to the 1971
Green Bullfrogalbum, which also featured guitarists Ritchie Blackmoreand Albert Lee.fact|date=June 2008
*Sullivan was taught how to replace steel strings with banjo ones from
Eddie Cochranso allowing easier bending of the strings.
*Sullivan introduced the 12 string guitar to the UK in 1959.
*Sullivan played on the first record in the UK to use a
Fuzzbox- P.J. Proby's "Hold Me".
*Sullivan played on the first records in the UK to use a
Wah Wah Pedal- Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" and Michael Cox's "Sweet Little Sixteen".
*Sullivan was an innovator of the
*Sullivan played on the first record that used sampling
John Kongos's He's Gonna Step On You Again.
*Sullivan produced and arranged
Labi Siffre's "I Got The . . ." which was sampled by Eminem.
*Sullivan is credited with "vocal chorus" on the 1962
Alexis Korner's and Blues Incorporated's seminal album " R&B from the Marquee".
*Sullivan played on the 1964
Georgie Fame's first album "Rhythm & Blues at the Flamingo".
*Sullivan did arrangements for the orchestral version of
The Who's " Tommy".
*Sullivan directed and played on
Amazing Blondel's first album.
*Sullivan played on the legendary 1969 album "
Sound of Sunforest" - the overture was used in the film " A Clockwork Orange".
*In 1971 Sullivan played in the Jean-Claude Vannier Orchestra for the
Serge Gainsbourg's masterpiece " Histoire de Melody Nelson".
*In 1968 Sullivan played on
George Harrison's "Wonderwall".
*In 1971 Sullivan played on
Frank Zappa's " 200 Motels".
TV and Radio Shows
*Sullivan and the Krew Kats were the warm up act on Oh, Boy!.
*He was the resident guitarist at
Top of the Popsand Ready Steady Go!. He also helped out at Saturday Club.
*A feature of the
Bay City Rollers' UK TV Show "Shang A Lang" was Sullivan giving them guitar lessons.
*Sullivan played on the guitar dominated themes to
Space 1999, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, Thunderbirds and Rupert(Everyone Sing His Name).
Other Interesting Facts
*One of the few singles that Sullivan released was "You Don't Know What You've Got" with Jack Good as
singer. The B-side had actor Trevor Peacockof " Vicar of Dibley" fame singing "Hot Hiss of Steam". Another single was "She Walks Through the Fair".
*Under the guidance of
Vilayat Khan, Sullivan learned to play the sitarand released two albums of sitar music. He also plays sitar on a musical interpretation of the " Kama Sutra". Sullivan practised the sitarwith George Harrisonat George's Esher mansion.
*Sullivan toured with
Gene Vincentand Eddie Cochranon the fateful tour that ended Cochran's life.
Sullivan's guitar work appears on the following
Marty Wildeand "Bad Boy"
Michael Coxand " Sweet Little Sixteen"
1963 Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and "
Twist and Shout"
P.J. Probyand "Hold Me" and "Together"
Freddie and the Dreamersand "I Love You Baby"
Simon Scottand "Move It Baby"
1964 Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and "
Gerry and the Pacemakersand " Ferry Cross the Mersey"
Donovanand " Catch the Wind" and " Colours"
Joe Lossand " A Shot in the Dark"
The Small Facesand " Itchycoo Park"
Clinton Fordand "El Paso"
1968 "The Koan" (from the album "Sitar Beat" - John McLaughlin on guitar)
John Kongosand " He's Gonna Step On You Again"
Cliff Richardand " Silvery Rain"
Gilbert O'Sullivanand " Alone Again (Naturally)"
1972 Tom Jones and "The Young New Mexican Puppeter"
Alvin Stardustand " Jealous Mind" and "Guitar Star"
1974 "Cascade" (from the album "Big Jim's Back")
Geoff Love(Manuel and his Music of the Mountains) and "Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto"
The Walker Brothersand "Shutout" (from their album " Nite Flights")
1977 "Peace And Quiet" (from the album "Test of Time")
1977 "Strange" (from the album "Test of Time")
Matt Biancoand "Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed"
2006 "Caravan" (from the
2006 "Classical Gas" (from the DVD "Guitar Maestros")
Number one singles
Similarly, Sullivan's work appears on the following UK Number One hit singles:-
Frankie Vaughan- "Tower Of Strength"
Petula Clark- "Sailor" 01.06.1961 Eden Kane- "Well I Ask You"
02.11.1961 Danny Williams - "
Mike Sarne- " Come Outside" 05.07.1962 Frank Ifield- "I Remember You" 25.10.1962 Frank Ifield- " Lovesick Blues"
Jet HarrisAnd Tony Meehan- "Diamonds" 24.01.1963 Frank Ifield- " Wayward Wind" 27.06.1963 Frank Ifield- " Confessin'" 12.09.1963 Brian Poole and the Tremeloes- " Do You Love Me"
The Bachelors- "Diane"
Georgie Fame- " Yeh Yeh"
The Seekers- " I'll Never Find Another You"
11.02.1965 Tom Jones - "
It's Not Unusual" (not the main guitar) 22.04.1965 Jackie Trent- " Where Are You Now (My Love)" 13.05.1965 Sandie Shaw- " Long Live Love" 19.08.1965 The Walker Brothers- " Make It Easy On Yourself" 02.09.1965 Ken Dodd- "Tears" 28.10.1965 The Seekers- " The Carnival Is Over" 13.01.1966 The Overlanders - "Michelle" 03.03.1966 The Walker Brothers- " The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" 31.03.1966 Dusty Springfield- " You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" 23.06.1966 Chris Farlowe- "Out of Time" 10.11.1966 Tom Jones - " Green Green Grass of Home"
26.01.1967 Engelbert Humperdinck - "Release Me" 02.02.1967
Petula Clark- "This Is My Song" 16.03.1967 Sandie Shaw- " Puppet on a String" 27.04.1967 The Tremeloes- "Silence Is Golden" 23.08.1967 Engelbert Humperdinck - " The Last Waltz" 08.11.1967 Long John Baldry- " Let The Heartaches Begin"
03.01.1968 Love Affair - "
Everlasting Love" 14.02.1968 Esther and Abi Ofarim- " Cinderella Rockafella" 14.02.1968 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich- " The Legend of Xanadu" 08.05.1968 Des O'Connor- "I Pretend" 06.11.1968 The Scaffold- "Lily The Pink" 04.12.1968 Marmalade - " Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
Peter Sarstedt- " Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" 11.07.1969 Thunderclap Newman- "Something in the Air" 30.07.1969 Jane Birkinand Serge Gainsbourg- " Je t'aime... moi non plus" 22.11.1969 Rolf Harris- " Two Little Boys"
04.04.1970 Dana - "
All Kinds of Everything" 05.06.1971 Middle of the Road- " Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" 13.11.1971 Benny Hill- " Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)" 18.12.1971 New Seekers- " I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" 21.10.1972 Gilbert O'Sullivan- " Clair" 17.03.1973 Gilbert O'Sullivan- " Get Down" 26.05.1973 Peters and Lee- " Welcome Home" 24.11.1973 New Seekers- " You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" 16.02.1974 Alvin Stardust- " Jealous Mind" 18.01.1975 Pilot - "January"
1965 Big Jim Sullivan (Charles Blackwell and Jimmy Sullivan) - "Folklore With A Beat" (deleted)
1968 Big Jim Sullivan & Barry Morgan - "The Perfumed Garden" (deleted)
1968 Big Jim Sullivan - "Sitar Beat" (available on CD)
1969 Big Jim Sullivan - "Lord Sitar" (available on CD)
The 1970 album Jim Sullivan - "UFO" (label Monnie or Century City) is not Big Jim Sullivan (deleted)
The 1972 album self titled Jim Sullivan (label Playboy) is not Big Jim Sullivan (deleted)
1973 Big Jim Sullivan - "Sullivan Plays O'Sullivan" (deleted)
1974 Big Jim Sullivan - "Big Jim's Back" (available on CD)
1975 Tiger - "Tiger" (deleted)
1976 Tiger - "Goin' Down Laughing" (deleted)
1983 Tiger - "Test Of Time" (deleted - unreleased when recorded in 1977, but released later by manager John Glover)
1992 Jim Sullivan - "Forbidden Zones - Guitar Tutoring" (deleted
1994 Tiger - "Test Of Time" (available on CD)
1998 Big Jim Sullivan - "Big Jim's Back" / "Tiger" (available on CD)
2001 Big Jim Sullivan - "Mr Rock Guitar" (aka Ultimate Rock Guitar) (available on CD)
2003 BJS Duo - "Hayley's Eyes" (available from Sullivan's
2003 Big Jim Sullivan - "Rockin' Rebels" (deleted)
2004 The Big Jim Sullivan Trio - "Jazz Cafe" (available on three CDs)
2005 The Big Jim Sullivan Band - "Live At Coolham" (available from Sullivan's website on two
2006 Big Jim Sullivan - "Guitar Maestros" (available on
DVD- Sound Techniques)
* [http://www.bigjimsullivan.com/ Big Jim Sullivan's Official Site] A more extensive biography of his career is listed here.
* [http://www.overzeal.co.uk Big Jim Sullivan's UK Hit Singles and Albums] A listing of nearly every UK Hit Single and Album that he played on.
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:dpfrxq95ldfe~T1 Big Jim Sullivan's entry on the All Music Guide]
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