Monday, 4 July 2011

Mono Mondays: The Shadows

The Shadows - Top Pop Stars 1963
Here's the first in what I hope will be a regular weekly feature on Retrospace looking at some of the great musical acts from the era of the mono recording, delving into artists from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Hopefully highlighting some classic tracks, notable current CD releases and linking up with fellow bloggers and webmasters along the way.

I'd like your interaction too, if there's a band or singer from this era you have a particular memory of, be it seeing them live or just going out and buying their record, or someone you'd like to see featured, get in touch...
The Shadows - FBI - Columbia Single, 1961
This weeks Mono Mondays kicks off with Britain's Premier Instrumental Group: The Shadows

Originally Cliff Richard's Backing Group The Shadows were originally called the Drifters. Consisting of Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan they changed their name in late 1959 from The Drifters to The Shadows to avoid confusion with the American group The Drifters.


The Shadows released a few minor singles before scoring their first Number One with Jerry Lordan's Apache in July 1960, which knocked Cliff Richard's Please Don't Tease off the top spot (a track they also played on).

In September 1961, The Shadows topped the album, single and EP charts with their self-titled debut album, their single Kon-Tiki and the EP The Shadows To The Fore.

Tony Meehan left The Shadows in 1961 and was replaced by Brian Bennett, subsequently Jet Harris also left in early 1962 and was succeeded by Brian Locking and later John Rostill.

Los Shadows - Columbia EP, 1963
The Shadows scored no less than 5 number ones during the 1960s including Apache, Kon-Tiki, Wonderful Land, Dance On! and FootTapper.

The Shadows wrote many of their own compositions for Cliff and themselves, this included two Pantomime scores for Cliff and one for Frank Ifield.

Although The Beatles are regarded as the first British band to actually write their own material The Shadows had actually been doing this for a couple of years before the Fab Four impacted the charts.

After several chart hits with and without Cliff, The Shadows disbanded in 1968. They did reunite on several occasions and Hank Marvin performed solo for a while before forming a vocal group with Bruce Welch and John Farrar called Marvin, Welch and Farrar. 

Due to popular demand The Shadows eventually reformed in the early seventies and had success with their 1975 Eurovision Entry Let Me Be The One as well as two successful albums 20 Golden Greats and String Of Hits.


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