27 September 1979 – James ‘Jimmy’ McCulloch was born 4 June 1953. From the age of 11, the year he picked up a guitar for the first time, he played in a band called The Jaygars which later changed it’s name to ‘One in a Million’, the Glasgow psychedelic band. Being a protegé of Pete Townshend of the Who and Hank Marvin of the Shadow, proved recognition of his tremendous talents when at age 11 he picked up the guitar and started convincingly imitating Django Reinhardt.
He rose to fame in 1969, just 16 years old, when he played with Andy Thunderclap Newman recording the mega hit “Something in the Air”. The band disbanded in 1971 and in October he was touring with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.
In 1972 at 18, Jimmy joined the blues rock band Stone the Crows, replacing Les Harvey who died from getting electrocuted on stage. He helped the band to complete their Ontinuous Performance album, playing on the tracks, “Sunset Cowboy” and “Good Time Girl”. That band gave it up in 1973 and Jimmy did some session work in Blue and played guitar on Brian Joseph Friel’s first album, under the pseudonym ‘The Phantom’, after which in 1974, he joined Paul McCartney’s Wings playing lead guitar. He was also the composer of the anti-drug song “Medicine Jar” on the Wings album Venus and Mars, and the similar “Wino Junko” on Wings at the Speed of Sound album.
While in Wings he also formed his own band, White Line, with his brother Jack on drums and Dave Clarke on bass, keyboards and vocals.
In September 1977, McCulloch left Wings to join the reformed Small Faces during the latter band’s 9-date tour of England that month. He played guitar on the Small Faces’ album, 78 in the Shade. In early 1978, McCulloch started a band called Wild Horses with Brian Robertson, Jimmy Bain and Kenney Jones, which he had left that spring. In 1979, McCulloch joined the credited super group The Dukes with singer Miller Anderson, Ronnie Leahy on keyboards and bassist Charles Tumahai. His last recorded song, “Heartbreaker”, appeared on their only album, The Dukes.
On 27 September 1979, McCulloch was found dead by his brother in his flat in Maida Vale, North West London. Autopsy found that McCulloch died from a heroin overdose. He was 26.
A melodic, heavily blues-infused guitarist, McCulloch’s rig normally consisted of a Gibson SG and a Gibson Les Paul and he occasionally played bass guitar when McCartney was playing piano or acoustic guitar.