Big Jim Sullivan was not only the finest exponent of his beloved instrument – the guitar, he exuded warmth and love from his whole being and was probably the finest human being I was ever deemed fortunate enough to know and work with.
He was very young, a little inexperienced, and needed help with reading music when first we met ... but his determination to conquer these early deficiencies came ...through loud and clear.
I didn’t care about his reading, I wanted his true talent, his own interpretation of the guitar part that I had written, to emerge.
Jim always came up with something far better than I had taken hours to write.
Because of his big generous heart, Jim Sullivan made sure that his finished version was always mind-blowing, his musical generosity meant that his main aim was to ensure that I, as his MD, would receive the plaudits.
Such was the nature of this great and wonderful man.
I shall miss him so terribly.
Les Reed OBE
There are two types of session guitar players.
One reads and only plays what the "dots" say.
The other adds that something special and plays notes and solos you dream of.
Big Jim Sullivan was such a player.
While his work on my songs such as "We Will", "No Matter How I Try" and "Why, Oh Why, Oh Why" was special...........his acoustic work on "Alone Again (Naturally)" is masterful.
The gifted guitarist I now work with, Bill Shanley, is the first to acknowledge this, performing Jim's solos himself at our concerts.
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.