• ARTICLE IN : THE TIMES

    FROM STRAT TO FINISH


    by Bob Stanley


    Tonight the shadows play their final gig. Our correspondent celebrates Britains original rockers
    There wasn’t much he could do about it, but it always needled John Lennon that he was five days older than Cliff Richard. To him, Cliff and the Shadows were the old guard, showbiz to their panto’d socks, the deadwood that the Beatles would wash away From today’s vantage point it all looks rather different. The Shadows represent an era of naive optimism, a postwar paradise of new flyovers and new towns with jobs, cars and TVs for all: tower blocks would save our souls and Wonderful Land would be the soundtrack. Just as much as the Beatles’, the Shadows’ sound is modern. It’s 15 years since they last toured. Hank B. Marvin gave notice and moved to Australia, where he now works solo. The rhythm guitarist, Bruce Welch, has devoted his time to Shadowmania, an international love-in for Shads fans, with occasional shows at which tribute bands such as Reflections from Norway and FBI from the Netherlands get to support Welch’s own Moonlight Shadows. The drummer, Brian Bennett, hasn’t exactly sat around flicking playing cards into a top hat, either — on this tour he’s selling six new albums of his own soundtrack music. They have set aside personal squabbles for this final tour, which ends at the London Palladium tonight.
    Possibly because there is no pressure to carry on, Bennett says it’s the most enjoyable tour they’ve ever done. In Croydon they received a standing ovation before they’d played a note. In Plymouth a young blonde jumped on stage and danced provocatively in front of Marvin as his trademark specs steamed up. Danny Baker virtually wept when Marvin turned up recently at his Radio London studio. The Shads seem shocked and overwhelmed by this wall-to-wall affection. “Just staggering, a really, really strong response,” says an emotional Welch. It’s hard to imagine now, but before the Shadows there were no British rock’n’roll bands. Forming at the legendary 2Is coffee bar on Old Compton Street in 1958, they were the cream of the nation’s nascent rock scene, drawn to the hub from Cheshunt, Newcastle upon Tyne and Southampton. Tony Meehan, the original drummer and the only Londoner, was just 15 when they first toured. The original bassist, Jet Harris, was the first person in Britain to own the new-fangled bass guitar. They had absolutely no predecessors. At first the Shadows were merely Cliff Richard’s backing group — hence the name — in the days when he was a bona-fide rocker (again, hard to picture, but one listen to Move It shows Cliff had the chops). Then, in 1960, two things happened: Richard brought Marvin a shiny red Fender Stratocaster back from America, then the Shadows recorded a richly atmospheric instrumental called Apache. Released in the same month as Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini, and Tommy Steele’s What a Mouth, it could hardly fail. Richard played the spooky intro on a Chinese drum, Marvin’s Strat cut clean and true, the whole thing was super-evocative, brand new and loaded with mystery. The fact that Marvin (real name Brian Robson Rankin) had bad skin and NHS specs didn’t stop a generation of teenage boys from wanting to be him. Just out of the rationing era, with everything battleship grey or bottle green, tunes such as FBI, Kon Tiki and Peace Pipe were multicoloured flashes — way ahead of a torpid entertainment business. “There wasn’t a music industry; that’s what you have to remember. We were playing variety bills,” Welch explains. “Our support acts would be dancing girls, a unicyclist, a dove act, birds flying all around. “Once we topped the bill in Loughborough — second top was an elephant. Rock’n’roll was very much in its infancy.”
    The Shadows ruled the charts from 1960 to 1963 with five No 1s, in addition to the hits that they had with Cliff Richard. In France they were also huge and played the Paris Olympia with Quincy Jones and Ella Fitzgerald cheering them on. At home they were rewarded with a three-month panto stint in Stockton-on-Tees. When the Beatles broke the back of the showbiz industry in 1963, the Shadows seemed antique overnight. The Colston Hall in Bristol was where the Shadows first played without Richard, 46 years ago. It was also the venue where the songwriter Jerry Lordan first played them Apache. “I was nervous the first time we played here,” says Marvin (who seems to have stopped ageing at about the time they did Eurovision in the Seventies). “Bruce wasn’t. He was drunk.” The Shadows’ stage patter on “an evening of pure neuralgia” is by turns corny, cute and charming. Marvin was touched by a group of Japanese fans who had flown over to catch the first two shows. The Shads invited them backstage “because we wanted to show them some good old English hospitality. Then we mugged them.” Their sound is perfectly matched by the municipal but curvaceous Colston Hall, built on the eve of the rock’n’roll era and barely altered since: clean, crisp, modern. Early on, Marvin forsook rock’n’roll thrash chords for the single-note stylings of Django Reinhardt. With Welch — these days a dead ringer for John Kerry — providing the perfect foil with clipped rhythm guitar, the Shadows’ uniqueness remains in their simplicity. The White Stripes’ producer Liam Watson uses mid-Sixties Shads as a blueprint. Pete Townshend of The Who has called their sound “superbly airy”, and for Brian May of Queen they were “the heaviest, most metallic thing around”. Neil Young gladly admits his debt to Marvin: compare Cortez the Killer with Atlantis. The minimalism and expressiveness of Marvin’s playing has the men of Bristol — a large percentage of whom are similarly bespectacled in unintentional tribute — looking teary. Plenty of them are, like the band, of retirement age. According to Welch, many have splashed out their savings on the red Fender Stratocaster they dreamt of as kids and are forming Shadows cells around the world, such as the Light Valley Shadows, from Sweden, and the Shaddicts, from the North West. Tonight will be their last chance to pay their respects. “It’ll be an emotional day,” says Welch, “a lump in the throat.” What does he think he’ll do tomorrow? “Life will go on. I’ll walk the dog . . . actually, I think we’ll all be in hospital. We’re absolutely buggered.”
    THE BOYS IN THE BAND
    • 1958 Hank B. Marvin (lead guitar), Bruce Welch (rhythm guitar), Jet Harris (bass), Tony Meehan (drums)
    • 1961 OUT — Tony Meehan (becomes record producer, now studying psychotherapy); IN — Brian Bennett
    • 1962 OUT — Jet Harris (solo career curtailed by car crash in 1963, now preparing national comeback tour); IN — Brian “Licorice” Locking
    • 1963 OUT — Licorice Locking (full time Jehovah’s Witness); IN — John Rostill (dies 1973)
    • 1968 The Shadows split, re-form, split again in 1990.
    • 2004 Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett, Mark Griffiths (bass), Cliff Hall (keyboards) — apparently Locking has been turning up and playing at Welch’s Shadowmania dos. Rumour has it that Cliff Richard might appear at the Palladium.

  • Uit dagblad METRO

  • IT's ALL OVER NOW...The Shadows bid farewell to fans Britain

    IT's ALL OVER NOW...

    The Shadows bid farewell to fans
    Britain's most successful instrumental group, The Shadows, performed their last show last night.
    The concert marked the end of a sell-out 37-date UK tour by Sir Cliff Richard's former backing group.
    The Shadows notched up 12 Number Ones both with Sir Cliff and on their own.
    They had dozens of Top 10 hits over more than five decades and were Britain's most imitated and influential act before the Beatles.
    Last night, Sir Cliff was joining the band in concert to perform with them in numbers like The Young Ones and Summer Holiday to say farewell to the group's legion of fans.
    It is the first time that guitar legend Hank Marvin, 62, drummer Brian Bennett, 64, guitarist Bruce Welch, 62, and Sir Cliff have all been on stage together since 1989.
    Sir Cliff said: "I'm very happy to be here. I started with these guys years ago and this is going to be the last show. I wouldn't miss it for a million.
    "We don't get together that often but when we do it is always fun and the audience is terrific.
    "When we started rock 'n' roll was in its infancy. We kind of kicked off rock 'n' roll in Europe. This is a historic end to that whole chapter."
    He added: "We're still all alive and we're very grateful for that."
    Last night's concert at the London Palladium came after it was announced last week that Welch and Bennett, who joined the band in 1961, were both being made OBE's.
    Marvin turned down the honour for "personal and private reasons".
    Sir Cliff was knighted in 1995. Tonight Marvin, who inspired the likes of Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and Brian May, said: "The last number is going to be very hard for us. It's going to be very emotional. There will be tears in our eyes."
    Asked if they would ever produce music together again he said: "You can never say never. It took us 14 years to get this far - The Shadows final tour - but who knows.
    Welch said he thought it was "a wind up" when he got the letter about the OBE and had to ring up Downing Street to check the letter was not a joke.
    The Shadows began their chart life as The Drifters backing Sir Cliff and working on 35 hits with the Peter Pan of pop.
    They then hit the charts on their own with songs like Apache, which was No 1 in 1960 for 21 weeks.
    Sir Cliff tonight presented the band with a Gold Disc to mark over 100,000 sales of the double CD Life Story - the Very Best of the Shadows, released in April.
    This year's tour was said to be the first time Marvin and Welch had seen each other in 14 years, since the end of the 1990 tour.
    Welch had spoken of his hurt at "getting the elbow" from Sir Cliff after working on three albums together but they saw each other last year at a charity function.
    The band said they had experienced ups and downs like any other group but that they were very good friends.
    Uit DAILY MAIL van 15/06/2004

  • Het 10.000ste bezoek aan dit blog gaat zich eerstdaags aanko

    Het 10.000ste bezoek aan dit blog gaat zich eerstdaags aankondigen. En dit laten wij niet onopgemerkt voorbijgaan. Bij nummer 5000 ging onze drummer Piet met de eer lopen. Dit gaan wij dit keer niet laten gebeuren.... Wat moet u doen om een exemplaar van onze video van onze 20ste verjaardag in de wacht te slepen ? Wel, als u ons een mailtje kan sturen met een 'printscreen' van onze weblog met de teller op 10000, dan komt U in aanmerking voor een exemplaar. Moest het zo zijn dat er meerdere personen het klaarspelen om nummer 10000 te zijn, dan zal het lot bepalen wie de video krijgt : er wordt slechts één exemplaar verloot. Hoe moet u dit voor mekaar brengen ?
    U opent een leeg WORDdocument, dan gaat u naar het scherm van ons blog met de teller op 10000 goed in het zicht; u drukt dan op de toets 'printscreen'. Dan gaat u naar uw word document en drukt CTRL+V en de printscreen staat in het WORD document. Daaronder zet u uw 'gewoon' adres zodat wij weten naar waar de video te sturen. Zend dit WORD document als attachment aan een e-mail naar ons adres (klik rechts op het ronde logo e-mail) en klaar is kees. Veel geluk !
    Ik wens te onderstrepen dat over de toewijzing van de video géén discussies worden gevoerd.

  • Onze drummer schrijft

    FOLLOWING THE SHADOWS

    Onze drummer Piet heeft niet minder dan 8 concerten bijgewoond van de Shadows Final Tour ! In ons infoblaadje vindt U het eerste deel van zijnverslag. Klik daarvoor in de rechterkolom op de bruine banner 't Syndikateetje

  • FOR ALL OUR ENGLISH-SPEAKING FRIENDS :YOU CAN SEE ALL INFO O

    FOR ALL OUR ENGLISH-SPEAKING FRIENDS :YOU CAN SEE ALL INFO ON OUR 20th ANNIVERSARY VIDEO BY CLICKING IN THE RIGHT COLUMN ON THE BROWN BANNER ONZE/OUR VIDEO - KLIK HIER - CLICK HERE

  • JONG TALENT

    Tijdens ons optreden in Almelo werden we onverwachts muzikaal bijgestaan door de kleinzoon van Ferry Uspessy , een van de mede-organisators van de Rembrandt Fiesta . Zoals u kan zien is de opvolging van The Shadows nog voor jaren verzekerd....
    Completely unexpected we were joined by a young guitar player during our gig in Almelo. It was the grandson of Ferry Uspessy , one of the organizers of the Rembrandt Fiesta . Shadowmusic is still to go on for many, many years !!!