The Shadows At Polydor is designed to complement The Shadows At EMI. This time The Shadows’ recorded output from 1980 to 1990 is the chief focus of attention, and the relevant discographical data are duly assembled and sifted.

However, the Polydor period almost from the start raised a particular issue which came to be of increasing importance in the minds of fans, to the point where it became something of a preoccupation: why did The Shadows devote themselves so wholeheartedly to cover versions, especially cover versions of material which those brought up on 1960’s music in particular had little or (more often perhaps) absolutely no time for? Is it the case, as so many long-term admirers of the group at the time hinted at darkly or even contended openly, that Hank Marvin and his colleagues were wasting everbody’s time, including their own? Is there any substance in the claim by certain group members (which surfaced some time after The Shadows had ceased to exist) that there was no room for inventiveness or creativity in the world of record marketing? These and related questions are aired, and an attempt is made to answer them by looking closely at the actual covers in relation to their originals.

Built into the main entries on the individual releases is an indication (where appropriate) of UK chart performance. Some may consider this a superfluous exercise, particularly after the spectacular showing in the first half of the 1960s. But the fact is that we do need to keep reminding ourselves that The Shadows did make the charts throughout the 1980s, and there were good reasons why they did so.

As a diversion readers may find the Appendix on EMI cover versions of interest, because nobody seems to have gathered together all the relevant material. It takes the form of a rapid and unadorned summary (this is an Appendix after all), so there are no supporting arguments. However, I would very much like to hear from anyone who can amplify (or indeed prune!) the data presented here.

A new departure for this book is the incorporation (which many have asked for) of pictorial material. In particular, my thanks go out to John Hank Humphrey and David Hawley for generously placing at my disposal a wealth of photographs capturing the group on stage during the Polydor years. In the last analysis, I am sure that for many a fan the fondest memories of The Shadows in the 1980s will be as a touring band.

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