Malcolm Campbell's Shadows Website was launched on 12 March 2003 to provide supplementary information about A Guide To The Shadows And Hank Marvin On CD (1999) and The Shadows At EMI (2001). Work on the Website began in October of the previous year, but its conception coincided precisely with the publication of The Shadows At Polydor, the third in the series of books written about the recorded legacy of our favourite group. A description and overview of each book was accompanied by a number of extracts and reviews, as well as purchasing information. Other sections included a few reviews which first appeared in the fanzine Shadsfax, some brief topics of interest, links to a number of classic Shadsites, a short feature about the guitarist Chris Watts, and a discussion of the modern-day instrumental music scene. By 26 August 2005, these short sections had been expanded into more substantial topics with a greater representation of colour images.

The CD Guide in 1999 set out to provide an exhaustive profile of Shadows and related CDs from 1984 to the present day. Despite the absence of illustrations it sold out within a few years. The aim of the next two books was to deal historically with The Shadows' recorded legacy, both from the EMI years (1959–1980) and the Polydor years (1980 onwards). Naturally the EMI Book was of greater interest to Shadows enthusiasts as it represents the bulk of the group's work. It was shortlisted on the Website bibliography for Channel 4's "The Real Cliff Richard" in March 2003, and is also one of the few books on the 1960s on the listing for the Department of Music at Skidmore College, the foremost popular music institution in North America. Again, it was noted that this book did not contain photographs, yet now in August 2005 it is close to selling out (with no current plans for a reprint or reissue). The Polydor Book went some way to making amends by including a substantial collection of stage shots of The Shadows by respected photographers John Hank Humphrey and David Hawley.

In April my son Richard and I attended the 43rd International Cliff & Shadows Fan Meeting in Tilburg, and between us we were able to provide a pictorial and descriptive account of a memorable weekend, which can now be found in the Shadow Music Events section. Work on the Website resumed in Spring 2004, which coincided with the reunion of Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett for their Final Tour. I wrote an account of the opener in Scarborough, and soon the section The Shadows' Final Tour: Reports And Photos was formed, comprising contributions from 14 other fans who enjoyed performances at venues all across the UK. On the Sunday preceding the last date of the tour, there was a Shadows Fan Gathering in London's Bonnington Hotel: an account of the performances with a collection of photos was soon online, and it can now be found in the events section. In May an article, The Cream Of The CD Crop, recommended several EMI CDs as a basis for a first rate collection of Shadow music. Also in May there was a competition for two signed copies of the latest 2CD release Life Story. Later that year there was news of my next book, an updated expanded version of the CD Guide, illustrated in full colour, and co-authored by Shadows authority Les Woosey, with photos from Angélique von Söhsten, John Hank Humphrey and David Hawley.

In 2005 a new phase of Website expansion got underway, with the specific aim of providing a substantial and more broadly based resource on The Shadows. I wrote the official main Tour Brochure Articles for both the Hank Marvin Guitar Player Tour (2002) and The Shadows Final Tour (2004–2005), the texts of which were incorporated in this Website. By February I had written the CD/ DVD Liner Notes of a number of releases including those for the 2CD / DVD of the Final Tour, the texts of which also made their way online. In April the updated illustrated A Guide To The Shadows And Hank Marvin On CD 2005 was published to provide the most comprehensive coverage to date of Shadows and related CD product. A description, reviews and sample pages were added to the Website over the coming months. The summer of 2005 was also spent expanding several features. Notably, the Shadow Music Reviews section was broadened to take in over 50 articles written in the period 1999–2005, now carried forward to 2008, with track listings and colour images in most cases. Two sections were created on 26 August 2005. The first, The Shadows: The Japanese Connection, documents the group's visits to Japan, with new vinyl and CD discographies, and a fascinating translation of a set of liner notes by Mike McWilliams. In addition, the section Website Info & Updates was created to provide readers with a feel about the origin and development of this Website, together with a page which can be checked to seek out quickly the recent updates.

Two further new sections were created on 1 September 2005. The first simply merged the Tilburg and Bonnington reports and photos into a new section called Shadow Music Events. Also, the Topics of Interest section was streamlined to some choice illustrated articles in the newly-named Miscellaneous Topics feature. A new section, The Shadows As Composers, was formed to provide readers with a detailed breakdown of group and individual compositions from 1959 onwards, with notes on the various tracks. Further illustrated features on Radio Luxembourg by The Shadows and Cliff & The Shadows sought to shed light on some memorable recordings.

November 2006 saw the publication of A Pocket Guide To Shadow Music, a collaborative effort with Les Woosey and Rob Bradford which presented a concise analysis of every Shadows track made available on commercial recordings up to that year. The Shadows and The Ventures are often mentioned in the same breath. A track by track assessment of their convergent recorded work called The Ventures & The Shadows: Walk, Don't Run, Apache And Beyond appeared in the instrumental magazine Pipeline 74 [2007] 11–28 and was soon taken into the website in modified form; the opportunity was taken to work in wealth of colour illustrations. Leading on from this came a collaboration with instrumental expert Dave Burke to provide the first comprehensive coverage of The Ventures’ commercially released recordings in their most productive and admired period, the 1960s. The book Driving Guitars: The Music Of The Ventures In The Sixties, mirroring the format of the Shadows Pocket Guide, was published in July 2008, and in less than 4 years was sold out completely.

The first major development for 2012 is that three of my music books have been published as free downloads for personal use only: The Shadows At Polydor, A Pocket Guide To Shadow Music and Driving Guitars: The Music Of The Ventures In The Sixties. Additional features will be published on this website throughout 2012.

MC, August/September 2005 & February 2012

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