Big Jim Sullivan

3702_0111From: Middlesex, England

Born James George Tomkins, Big Jim Sullivan is best known as a session guitarist whose career started in 1958. In the 1960s and 1970s Sullivan was one of the most in-demand studio musicians in the UK. He has performed on about 800 charting singles over his career, including 54 UK #1 hits. At the age of 14, Sullivan began learning guitar and turned pro within two years. Sullivan took on the name Jimmy Sullivan because it was lyrically similar to Lonnie Donegan.

At a young age, Sullivan played with the likes of The Clay County Boys, The Soho Skiffle Group, Johnny Duncan’s Blue Grass Boys, Vince Taylor & The Playboys, Janice Peters & The Playboys, and The Vince Eager Band. He would eventually give guitar lessons to neighbour Richie Blackmore. Sullivan’s flexibility in playing different styles of music made him on the most sought-after guitarists throughout the ’60s and ’70s.

In 1969, Sullivan joined Tom Jones’ band, and it was during this time that he met and befriended Elvis Presley. Sullivan was an innovator of the talk box, which he demonstrated on Jones’ TV show. In the 1960s, Sullivan learned to play the sitar under the guidance of Vilayat Khan. Sullivan released two albums of sitar music under his own name. He would team up with record producer Derek Lawrence in 1974 to form the record label Retreat Records. In 1978, he became part of the James Last Orchestra for nine years, also touring with Olivia Newton John. Later in his career, Sullivan began composing music for films and jingles. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 71.

Artist Info: Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 album Sitar Beat
Sitar Beat

  • She’s Leaving Home
  • Translove Airways Fat Angel