MALCOLM CAMPBELL'S SHADOWS WEBSITE


SHADOWS AS COMPOSERS

INTRODUCTION



The following lists are concerned solely with the legitimately marketed recorded work of The Shadows (earlier The Drifters), on vinyl and subsequently CD, itemising:

(i) The numbers penned by the three longest-serving members, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett, whether in association with one another, individually, or with others outside the group (Categories #17).

(ii) The contributions of other Shadows personnel working singly or with colleagues other than Marvin, Welch and Bennett (Category #8). In addition, important contributions were made by certain group members (John Rostill above all) to category (i) above, as follows:

John Farrar: see 1B, 2B, 5B
Jet Harris: see 1B, 2B, 7B
Brian Locking: see 1B
Tony Meehan: see 2B
John Rostill: see 1B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B

(iii) As an addendum to the main topic, compositions by close associates of the group (Category #9).

The titles itemised in categories #1 through to #8 amount to 166. The listings are slightly different from those in the first edition of the CD Guide p. 293. Five pieces 'arranged' by the group or a group-member or associates are not included: MY GRANDFATHER'S CLOCK (#1), LONDONDERRY AIR (#1), THIS HAMMER (#1), MOZART FORTE (#1) and THE SKYE BOAT SONG (#8). Seven vocals were performed by The Shadows on the Final Tour of 2004 then released for the first time: IN THE COUNTRY (#1), I COULD EASILY FALL (IN LOVE WITH YOU) (#1), MY HOME TOWN (#2), SUMMER HOLIDAY (#4), GEE WHIZ IT'S YOU (#5), BACHELOR BOY (#6), PLEASE DON'T TEASE (#6). Also included this time round are three numbers previously provided with pseudonyms: SHOTGUN, FBI and GONZALES (all #2).

The individual contributions, taking into account also the significant part played by John Rostill and John Farrar as sole composer (then co-composer), are:

Marvin 12 (109)
Welch 1 (109)
Bennett 14 (91)
Rostill 4 (38)
Farrar 4 (16)

33 of the 166 titles are vocals, which are in red font in the main entries. The distribution here is:

Marvin 7 (18)
Welch 0 (18)
Bennett 0 (10)
Rostill 0 (6)
Farrar 1 (6)

Group-sourced A-Singles total 18, B-Singles 45 (the totals take into account Album tracks later released as Single sides).

Figures for A-Singles:

Marvin 3 (11)
Welch 1 (8)
Bennett 2 (7)
Rostill 0 (4)
Farrar 0 (2)

Figures for B-Singles:

Marvin 3 (39)
Welch 0 (41)
Bennett 1 (36)
Rostill 1 (6)
Farrar 0 (2)

The group was at its most productive in 1964 and 1966, releasing 17 original tracks in both years. Figures for the 1960s for the number of self-penned compositions (then the total number of fresh tracks released in the UK):

1960 0 (5)
1961 12 (27)
1962 11 (23)
1963 7 (15)
1964 17 (28)
1965 10 (23)
1966 17 (26)
1967 11 (34)
1968 8 (10)
1969 0 (1)

Ten group-sourced compositions were issued in the revival of 1973, and a further nine (two of these live versions of Marvin, Welch & Farrar tracks from 1971) in 1975. The remainder of The Shadows' career at EMI was less fruitful: one original track in 1976, six in 1977, one in 1978, two in 1979, one in 1980. Towards Polydor releases during the period 19801990 the group contributed a mere 30 new numbers, 24 of them in the first five years. A few fresh EMI-sourced items relevant to these listings surfaced on CDs issued during the 1990s, while The Final Tour 2CD of 2004 had a few group-penned vocal numbers not hitherto performed on record by The Shadows.

An important preliminary
The majority of compositions by The Shadows were collaborative efforts from within the group, involving in particular the three longest-serving members Marvin, Welch and Bennett. It is as well to define at the outset what the process of joint composition actually signifies in their particular case. For the majority of Beatles' songs (to take the most celebrated example), nearly all of them credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is generally possible to establish with absolute or near certainty who was responsible, either wholly or chiefly, for a given composition; or at least to make an educated guess. Not so with The Shadows: one can rarely assign definite roles for a given piece to one or other individual, despite the overwhelmingly strong presumption that in the very nature of things one or other group member would have been the leading contributor, particularly in the creation of the all-important basic melody.

Now throughout the whole course of The Shadows' recorded output (including the considerable number of songs written for Cliff Richard), the order of group composers has varied wildly (that is to say, there never was a policy of specifying invariably, say, Marvin/ Welch/ Rostill/ Bennett). It is tempting naturally to infer from the variations in credits that the order reflects the extent of the respective input, viz. if the name of Welch is listed first, he is to be held primarily responsible for that particular composition. Yet on a number of occasions group members have vigorously denied that any such system of primacy was ever applied, and there is no option but to accept in broad terms what they say, even though we may suspect from time to time that such a pecking-order was indeed operative. One obvious candidate is the placing of John Farrar's name first for all the relevant compositions on Rockin' With Curly Leads, an Album that throughout bears the stamp of his style and interests. Again, for co-credited tracks which are harmonically or structurally complex, or which are reminiscent of what may be loosely termed 'library music', or both of these things, Brian Bennett's sole or leading influence may plausibly be suggested. On a more general level, one might suspect (recalling his contribution to Cliff songs) that strongly melodic pieces very likely stem in the first instance from Bruce Welch, while lyrics conveying a 'message' seem more to belong to the domain of Hank Marvin. Other avenues could be explored, but it is perhaps as well not to advance further along the road of speculation, especially as in the case of non-collaborative numbers composed for The Shadows (which might be taken as stylistic markers), Hank Marvin can muster only twelve pieces (seven of them vocals), Brian Bennett fourteen, and Bruce Welch a mere one.



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