"Memories: 36 Guitar Moods" 2CD Set by The Shadows
Take My Breath Away / Love Changes Everything / Albatross / Moonlight Shadow / One Day I’ll Fly Away / Chariots Of Fire / If You Leave Me Now / Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now / Memory / The Theme From Missing / The Third Man / A Whiter Shade Of Pale / Misty / Nights In White Satin / Going Home / Theme From The Deer Hunter / Candle In The Wind / Every Breath You Take
Even before the release in July 1960 of their blockbuster instrumental hit, the seminal Apache, which set them on the path to superstardom in their own right, The Shadows were already exciting widespread admiration for their work with the UK’s foremost singing sensation, Cliff Richard, notably on the chart-topping singles Living Doll, Travellin’ Light, and Please Don’t Tease.
In the early years of the 60s The Shadows dominated the charts both with Cliff (for whom they wrote numerous hits) and on their own account: they released a succession of ground-breaking Number One singles (Kon-Tiki, Wonderful Land, Dance On! and Foot Tapper), Albums and EPs. Rapidly becoming household names with regular spots on radio and TV, they mounted extensive tours in their home country and overseas, and built up an enormous following in the process, their records selling in untold quantities throughout continental Europe as well as Japan, Australia and most other parts of the globe.
Core-members Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett, already (and still to this day) role-models for a host of groups and individual musicians, steered the Shadows successfully through the 70s. Restored after a gap of eight years to the singles charts in 1975 with the Eurovision stomper Let Me Be The One, they released a chart-topping compilation album ‘20 Golden Greats’ in 1977, and, still more remarkably, a fresh all-instrumental set, ‘String Of Hits’ in August 1979, which climbed to No. 1 in March 1980 and remained there in the face of strong competition for three weeks. Versions of two evocative numbers associated with this album and released to become top-ten singles, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and Theme From The Deer Hunter (Cavatina), both performed recurrently on stage from the late 70s on, are included in the present set.
By the time The Shadows recorded ‘String Of Hits’ in 1979, the classic three guitars/drum line-up had been extended, both on tour and on record, by the incorporation of keyboards. The result, in line with current tastes, was a wider soundstage and a richer overall texture. Indeed, not least among The Shadows’ awesome list of achievements has been the fact that over the 80s and beyond they went from strength to strength with this line-up, appealing to music lovers across the board with a series of high-performing albums devoted in the main to instrumental readings of vocal hits of the day. No fewer than nine of these hit albums are represented in the present selection, extending from ‘Change Of Address’ (1980), through ‘Moonlight Shadows’ (1986) to their top-five hit album ‘Reflection’ (1990).
One of the many reasons why The Shadows from the start left their rivals lagging far behind was their readiness to turn their hand to, and their aptitude in mastering, diverse musical styles. The generous selection on these discs provides as good an illustration as any of their versatility. Their own take on classics of the instrumental genre was always distinctive, witness their version of Fleetwood Mac’s evocative Albatross, or Vangelis’ Chariots Of Fire, or, even more strikingly, Jean-Michel Jarre’s innovative Equinoxe (Part V). This last number, transformed by the group into a blistering guitar-led instrumental, has been a firm stage-favourite ever since it was recorded in 1980.
On top of that, The Shadows could handle hard-hitting and mellow compositions with equal assurance. At one end of the spectrum here we have an electrifying performance of Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow, eliciting a truly bravura display from Hank Marvin, and a punchy, no-holds-barred rendition of Jan Hammer’s Crockett’s Theme; at the opposite end, the group provide sensitive, relaxing versions of Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now and Ennio Morricone’s brilliant TV theme Chi Mai.
The 80s, to an even greater extent than the decade preceding it, was notable for big-production numbers, which, when transposed to a small-group context, require skill in both arrangement and performance if they are not to sound shrunken and lifeless. Listen here to how The Shadows rise to the challenge, losing nothing in drive and intensity, with Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero, and perhaps most strikingly of all, Whitney Houston’s impassioned One Moment In Time. In addition, they have always been skilful in evoking a mood, as with The Police’s Every Breath You Take, or Mark Knopfler’s Going Home or Vangelis’ riveting Theme From Missing.
All in all, then, ‘Memories’ provides an excellent retrospective of the diversity of The Shadows’ recordings from the period 1980–1990, a period that saw them consolidate their standing as one of the most accomplished and most admired instrumental groups the world has seen.
MC, June 2005
|Return to Home / CD/ DVD Liner Notes|