Next in line chronologically is Elton John’s 1983 No. 5 (No. 4 in the USA the year after), I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES. Hank’s chiming guitar effectively mimics the cadences of Elton’s vocal delivery, but the accompaniment scarcely does justice to the richly textured original with its vibrant backing vocals - and, of course, that harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder.

Silky smooth white soul, incisive vocals underpinned by searing sax and delicate acoustic guitar. George Michael’s CARELESS WHISPER was a chart-topper here in 1984 (and, marketed under ‘Wham! Featuring George Michael’, the next year in the USA). In The Shadows’ rendition of this sophisticated number, piano and guitar combine to produce one of the most satisfying tracks on Simply ... Shadows, with a marvellously free-flowing contribution from Hank throughout the second half.

1984 saw the release of Foreigner’s gospel-tinged rock ballad I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS, penned by group member (formerly of Nero and The Gladiators) Mick Jones: in 1985 it reached Number One on both sides of the Atlantic. As a specimen of lavishly produced AOR it is hard to fault. In The Shadows’ hands it is a relatively restrained affair, with a sadly anaemic effort made to represent The New Jersey Mass Choir of the original! The injection of a second guitar part from Hank in the second half does little or nothing to dispel the overall impression of tedium.

Of the three further numbers that charted in 1985, one was a hit in the USA (peaking at No. 2) and in the UK (peaking at No. 3). Tina Turner’s WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO, from the soundtrack of the movie ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, lends itself admirably to instrumental treatment, and The Shadows’ version reflects much of the brooding intensity of the original, building to an impressively resounding climax.

A mellower high performer from 1985, WALKING IN THE AIR, from the 1982 30m TV cartoon ‘The Snowman’, took Aled Jones to No. 5 (composer Howard Blake, in a muted version featuring Peter Auty, was markedly less successful, stalling at No. 42, and in 1987 at No. 37). The combination of celestial voice and imposing orchestral accompaniment raised this piece above the level of an agreeable tune. The Shadows’ shrunken production and the thinness of the sound conspire to move this track way down the list of contenders for Best Number on Simply ... Shadows.

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