Blues rock guitarist Bernie Marsden's hot licks helped launch the career of Whitesnake, as he played on the group's first eight releases, and lent a major hand in composing some of the band's most renowned songs. Initially inspired to play the guitar as a teenager due to such authentic blues players as Howling Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, Marsden later picked up on such '60s white blues players as Peter Green, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. The early '70s saw Marsden briefly join several renowned groups - Juicy Lucy and UFO - but each time, the guitarist exited before a full-length album could be completed (Marsden was also a member of a group that drummer Cozy Powell attempted to put together, Hammer, before quickly disbanding). The mid '70s saw Marsden join British prog rockers Babe Ruth for a pair of releases, 1975's Stealin' Home and 1976's Kid's Stuff, before the group broke up, as well. Marsden then supposedly turned down an offer to play with Paul McCartney, and eventually joined up with former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale in Whitesnake.
Early on, Whitesnake pursued a much more bluesy and hard rock-based sound than their latter-day (and much more successful) pop-metal direction, as Marsden played on such albums as 1978's Snakebite and Trouble, 1979's Love Hunter and Live at Hammersmith, 1980's Ready An' Willing, 1981's Live in the Heart of the City, 1982's Come and Get It, and 1983's Saints and Sinners. Although the group achieved substantial success throughout Europe, Coverdale wanted to pursue a more mainstream sound to crack the lucrative U.S. market, which led to Marsden's exit soonafter. Subsequently, a pair of Marsden-Coverdale compositions would be dusted off and re-recorded by Whitesnake in the late '80s ("Here I Go Again" and "Fool for Your Loving"), both of which became sizeable worldwide hits.
It was during his tenure with Whitesnake that Marsden also managed to find the time to issue a pair of solo albums, 1979's And about Time, Too! and 1981's Look at Me Now. But instead of pursuing a solo career full-time after his dismissal from Whitesnake, Marsden opted to form a new band, Alaska, who only managed two releases, 1984's Heart of the Storm and 1985's The Pack, before breaking up. After laying low for the remainder of the '80s, Marsden resurfaced in the '90s, guesting on recordings by such artists as Forcefield and Walter Trout, and forming a new group along with his ex-Whitesnake bandmate, guitarist Mick Moody, called the Moody Marsden Band. The band usually relied on playing classic Whitesnake tunes live, and issued such recordings as 1992's Never turn your Back on the Blues, 1994's Live in Hell: Unplugged and Real Faith, plus 2000's The Nights the Guitars Came to Play and Ozone Friendly (the latter of which was a reissue of Real Faith, albeit with a slightly different tracklisting). The early 21st century saw the duo joined by another former Whitesnake bandmate, bassist Neil Murray, which resulted in the formation of a new group, Company of Snakes (with a pair of releases soon following - 2001's Here They Go Again: Live and 2002's Burst the Bubble).
Marsden has also sporadically issued further solo recordings, including 1992's The Friday Rock Show Sessions and the 1995 Peter Green tribute, Green and Blues. In addition to his music career, Marsden has also tried his hand at acting (the German TV movie, Frankie), and has provided soundtracks for several movie projects in both Germany and the U.S., plus serving as the art director, producer, and author of the three part TV series, The Delta Blues 1926 - Urban Blues 1960.