The Shadows were the fore-runners of the guitar bands of the British pop scene of the swinging sixties. Original members were Hank Marvin (lead guitar), Bruce Welch (rhythm guitar), Jet Harris (bass guitar) and Tony Meehan (drums). The Shadows initially provided the musical backing for Cliff Richard in the very popular "Cliff Richard Show". They became stars in their own right when their recording "Apache" hit the No. 1 spot of the British chart in 1960 and remained there for several weeks. This was followed by a string of No.
1 hits including "KonTiki", "Wonderful Land", "Foot Tapper" and "Dance On".
In 1962 Jet Harris and Tony Meehan left to strike out on their own. They were replaced by drummer Brian Bennett and bass guitarist Brian Locking. Harris & Meehan managed to hit the No. 1 spot with "Diamonds". Success was limited and they faded away soon after.
The impact of the Shadows on the British pop scene of the sixties can only be described as historic.
The Shadows' trademark was the unique sound of Hank Marvin's lead guitar.
It was Hank who introduced the use of Echo or Reverb. He also frequently used the tremolo arm to produce an effect similar to steel guitar sounds.
Hank used a combination of Muting and Reverb in "Atlantis" and "Wonderful Land" to produce a "unique sound" which other musicians imitated.
A characteristic feature of Shadows' music was the brilliant rhythm guitar sounds of Bruce Welch in the background and bass guitar riffs by Jet Harris. A little known fact was that while all three used top of the range Fender electric guitars on stage, an accoustic guitar was used by Bruce Welch in most of their recordings.
During the sixties,the Shadows spawned a whole series of pop bands with identical make up, consisting of three guitarists and one drummer.
With the passage of time, their brand of music gradually faded in popularity. The Shadows disbanded in 1968 leaving behind a legacy all guitar music lovers will forever appreciate. Hank and Bruce continued playing by co-opting other musicians and there were occasional reunions with Jet and Tony.
In Nov. 1973, John Rostill, (who had replaced Brian Locking), was accidentally electrocuted by his own electric guitar.
Founder member Tony Meehan, died from head injuries due to a fall in Nov. 2005 at age 62.
Jet Harris passed on in 2011 at age 71 after a short illness. Harris had been given a special award by the US Fender Guitar Co. in 2010, for his role in popularising the bass guitar.