The Shadows have proved themselves the UK's premier instrumental group, surpassing all rivals by a fair margin in terms of sustained record sales, influence and prestige. Yet, over 40 years further on, with a number of impressive achievements to their credit in this new millennium, there has been nothing remotely approaching a comprehensive run-down and analysis of their considerable recorded output. This Pocket Guide sets out to remedy this omission by looking closely at the 572 tracks released through legitimate channels, from the first single made by The Drifters in 1959 through to the acclaimed set taped on the Final Tour of 2004.

I - Preface

We are privileged to be able to include a Preface penned by the frontman of the brilliant Rapiers, Colin Pryce-Jones, whose formidable technique and complete mastery of a range of musical styles have established him as one of the foremost guitarists of his generation.

II - Introduction

The myth that popular music in the years running up to the advent of The Beatles was void of talent and direction has been in circulation for so long that it has attained the status of conventional wisdom: not that the term 'wisdom' is an apposite term for the prejudice and ignorance that spawned this fiction. The Introduction discusses the early 60s scene, and refutes systematically the arguments adduced to bolster the achievements of The Beatles as "saviour gods".

III - The Recordings

The book offers (quote from the Introduction) "a track-by-track profile of The Shadows’ recorded work as it became commercially available, taking in anything from anecdote and press reportage to musical history and personal reminiscences, together with analysis and assessment both of individual songs and of the succession of primary Albums — the kind of coverage if you like provided from different angles on Beatles musicology by Ian MacDonald, Steve Turner, David Rowley and John Robertson/Patrick Humphries. Interspersed among the pages devoted to the 572 individual numbers from the years 1959 to 2004 are over 300 greyscale cover scans of analogue and digital product, many furnished with commentary on various aspects of the group’s evolving worldwide discography." --- For specialist/'insider' information and various insights we relied on a number of experts, notably Stuart Duffy, Mo Foster, George Geddes, Ulrich Sasu and Ray Steer, who undertook to look over the whole of the initial first draft over a period of several months and to comment on it.

IV - Appendices 1 to 4

Ever wondered what numbers, and how many, The Shadows performed on stage, TV or radio but never recorded for official release? The first Appendix will tell you just that, and also give a brief indication of date/ performance for each item. Appendices 2/3 round up The Shadows' performances many remember with particular fondness, those broadcast by BBC Radio and Radio Luxembourg in the 60s. The final Appendix provides a fascinating glimpse into the perceptions of a culture far different from that familiar to most likely readers of these lines. Mike McWilliams of London has translated the sleeve notes of a Japanese annotator on a 1962 single release from 1962, offering enthusiastic comment on two UK lead titles, KON-TIKI and MAN OF MYSTERY.


The striking artwork of the front and back covers is primarily the work of Richard Campbell, with onstage shots from David Hawley brilliantly capturing the colour and atmosphere of The Shadows onstage. In the book itself there are over 300 greyscale images of Shadows vinyl and CD product worldwide spanning the years 1959 to 2004, with commentary on many rare and unusual releases, and on trends in, and aspects of, the group’s discography as it evolved.

Return to Home / A Pocket Guide To Shadow Music