October 2, 2012 – Big Jim Sullivan was born James George Tomkins on February 14, 1941 British guitarist born in Middlesex. In 1959, he met Marty Wilde at The 2i’s Coffee Bar, and was invited to become a member of his backing group, the Wildcats, who were the warm up act on the television series, Oh, Boy!.
The Wildcats backed Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on their tour of Britain in 1960. In the 60s and 70s he also played on hits by Billy Fury, Frank Ifield, Adam Faith, Frankie Vaughan, Helen Shapiro, Freddie and the Dreamers, Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Georgie Fame, Bobby Darin, Little Richard, The Walker Brothers, Donovan, David Bowie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Benny Hill, The New Seekers, Thunderclap Newman, Love Affair, Long John Baldry, Marmalade, Small Faces, The Tremeloes, Rolf Harris, George Harrison and many more as well as being a member of Tom Jones’ band.
He performed on no less than 55 No.1 hits singles during this time!!!
In 1975, he teamed up with Derek Lawrence, to form the record label, Retreat Records. They produced various artists over a period of about two years. Amongst them were Labi Siffre, Chas & Dave and McGuinness Flint and he produced and arranged Siffre’s “I Got The …” which was sampled by Eminem.
Jim and Lawrence went to the United States during this period, to produce the glam metal band, Angel. In 1978, he became part of the James Last Orchestra for nine years, and also toured with Olivia Newton-John after her success with Grease.
In 1987, he began composing music for films and jingles. Later, he and guitarist Doug Pruden toured as the BJS Duo, and he also played in the Big Jim Sullivan Band with Pete Shaw, Duncan McKenzie and Malcolm Mortimore. In 2006 he was featured in the Guitar Maestros DVD series with Doug Pruden. Sadly Jim died from complications of heart disease and diabetes at age 71 on October 2, 2012.