Despite a few uncertainties, chiefly relating to release-dates for Singles, a clear enough picture emerges of the Japanese public's exposure to Shadows recordings over the 1960s. The first three years of the decade saw them establish themselves as the UK's premier instrumental group, and their fame spread rapidly, notably to France and Australia. Over these years market penetration of Japan, receptive as the country was to instrumental music of every description, was relatively low-key. Though there were a couple of home-produced compilation LPs, the first two UK primary Albums were not issued in Japan until 1964 and 1965 respectively. 1965 indeed witnessed something of an upturn, notably with the appearance of both Dance With The Shadows and The Sound Of The Shadows — Japan was now beginning to catch up, though there was no awareness at all at this stage of the many fine numbers that had seen the light of day on UK EP.

It was 1966 that brought a real surge of interest: a number of Singles were concocted from older numbers, while Japanese-devised EPs and Albums presented the record buyer with an impressive range of Shadowmusic. But the high point was reached in 1967, the year the group visited Japan and brought out an Album tailored for that market. Their visit clearly paid dividends in that, in the course of 1968/1969, thin years for the group in their native country, further compilations, and a live set, saw the light of day. Thereafter however their fortunes were very much on the wane, the 1970s seeing practically nothing apart from Japanese clones of UK primary Albums. Remarkably, throughout the 1980s, when a certain amount of Polydor material was issued, EMI product was represented by a solitary pair of LPs from an instrumental box set. It was left to compact disc to pick up the story with The Best Of The Shadows in 1990.

Taken as a whole, Japan's vinyl product, for The Shadows as for many other UK artists, has gained an awesome reputation, not only for presentation (quality glossy sleeves with unusual and striking artwork and so on) and for visual appeal (the red vinyl issues looking stunning when swept by the stobes of Japanese direct drive turntables), but also for what one Shadows critic termed "exemplary sound quality": this latter is a myth, pure and simple. The standard of the vinyl pressings was indeed high; the quality of sound reproduction was often abysmal in comparison with what was achievable with UK masters. The chief problem here is to be found in the Albums of the 60s, as often as not labelled "Stereo" to satisfy record-buyers more technologically demanding than their UK counterparts — wholly misleadingly. By and large it is evident that Japan quite simply was not supplied by Columbia/ EMI UK with a steady supply of stereo masters. What they did to satisfy the home market's desire for stereo pressings was to tamper radically with the mono masters in order to give them a semblance of stereo, often with alarming results.

One detailed example of many must suffice. On several of the tracks of The Shadows '66 listed below, the following procedure was implemented, described for us here by Les Woosey:

"Only five of the fourteen tracks included on the LP are in stereo (all four recordings from the October 1964 UK EP Rhythm & Greens plus BLUE STAR from the Shadows' first UK LP in 1961). They are all standard stereo layout and none is remarkable.
The majority, seven of the nine remaining tracks, are basically mono recordings but they have all been processed in precisely the same way, that is, by having the balance shifted completely to the RH channel. I believe this is an audio trick to fool the ears into 'hearing' some differences. Over headphones, there is no semblance of separation and all the sounds (in the case of this LP) are heard towards the far Right. The Left and Centre of this (enclosed) audio experience are largely devoid of sound. Conversely, when listening over speakers you would swear that you were hearing a form of 'stereo' sound — especially when standing in the (normal) central position between the sound sources. I am sure that this 'trick' involves racking the mono balance way over to one channel or the other and then boosting the residual sound level of the remaining channel."

These are not isolated examples by any means. Alternatively, as indicated above, there are cases where the mono balance has been pushed over to the LH channel rather than the Right, giving an appearance of stereo but with no instrument-separation, and there are other signs of interference ("intervention" here is too charitable a term), both major and minor. In the last resort, these manipulations, especially when compared directly with their mono equivalents from the UK, reveal themselves as a swirl of imbalance and instability, at times bordering on the grotesque. However quiet the playing surfaces of Japanese vinyl records proved to be, the grooves of the 60s, certainly as far as The Shadows go (and Cliff Richard too??), were not infrequently filled with dross.

Note: for a fascinating study by Peter Bambini of Japanese red vinyl product with particular reference to Cliff Richard, refer to the final entry on THIS PAGE of John Panteny's Website. Warm thanks to John Panteny for generously supplying many of the scans, and thanks also for contributions from Jan Flatby and Les Woosey.


While reliable release-dates can usually be established for EPs and LPs, Singles are a different matter, as discographies specify years on a wholly arbitrary basis without regard for sequential catalogue numbers or even for pointers provided by the documentation. Here is a list of pairings with dates deduced from (rare) clues on record sleeves, and from comparison with firmly dateable Beatles Japanese Odeon Singles. Entries in bold are pairings with UK equivalents.

{'Stern von Afrika' ['Star of Africa']: Erwin Lehn und das Südfunk-Tanzorchester} / Apache Columbia LL 262

Les Woosey has kindly provided the following breakdown of this release:

Japanese Singles habitually come in a clear plastic sleeve. This sleeve houses the insert with pic to the front; the record in its sleeve is slipped in behind this insert.

The front of the Columbia Records sleeve. The reverse is similarly patterned but has Japanese script at the bottom.

The Nippon Columbia Co. label for APACHE. The other side is similar but includes details of the Erwin Lehn recording. There is no indication as to A or B-side status; however, the insert plainly suggests APACHE is secondary (see below).

The front/reverse of the insert card. The insert card is double sided and the reverse looks just like any normal Japanese EP rear — in this case there is a box at the top enclosing the Single's title details ("Stern" comes first) and underneath the box there are words about each of the two tunes, in Japanese throughout. In all, 38 lines of the script relate to "Stern", then at the end there are just five lines devoted to "Apache".

Detail from the back cover above:

Translation by Mike McWilliams:
On the B side is Apache, which was a huge chart hit not only in England but all of Europe. It is played by the guitar group "The Shadows". "Apache" is the name of a native American tribe. It is a very exciting western style number at a fairly fast tempo.

Kon-Tiki / Man Of Mystery Columbia LL 3002

(with special thanks to Yaeko Sata for this scan!)

FBI / Blue Star Columbia LL 3066

Guitar Tango / South Of The Border Odeon CM 1006 (& OR 1560, 1966)

Geronimo / Shazam! Odeon OR 1031

Gonzales / Theme From A Filleted Place Odeon OR 1130

Blue Star / Apache Odeon OR 1559

Shindig / Foot Tapper Odeon OR 1589

Driftin' / The Miracle Odeon OR 1627

Mary Anne / Chu-Chi Odeon OR 1648

Spring Is Nearly Here / Thunderbirds Theme Odeon OR 1671 (and 1977, EMI EMR 20 211)

Bombay Duck / Maroc 7 Odeon OR 1709

Friday On My Mind / Stardust Odeon OR 1771

The Wild Roses / Omoide No Nagisa Odeon OR 1813

{HM: London's Not Too Far} / Running Out Of World Odeon OR 1898

Slaughter On 10th Avenue / {HM: Midnight Cowboy} Odeon OR 2405

Proud Mary / Something Odeon OR 2718

Turn Around And Touch Me / Jungle Jam Odeon EOR 10 573

Let Me Be The One / Stand Up Like A Man EMI EMR 10 752

Theme For Young Lovers / Guitar Tango EMI EMR 10 820

EP & LPs: With UK Equivalents

The following EP and LPs have UK equivalents. Some Japanese issues had distinctive artwork, and/ or different running orders (for instance the 1967 issue of the LP Jigsaw), thus:

Thunderbirds Are Go (1966)

First releases only are listed, not reissues:
The Shadows (debut LP UK 1961, Japan 1964); Out Of The Shadows (UK LP 1962 Japan 1965); The Shadows Greatest Hits (original mono LP UK 1963, stereo UK 1971 or 1974 ~ Japan 1975); Dance With The Shadows (1965); The Sound Of The Shadows (1965); Shadow Music (1966); Jigsaw (1967); Shades Of Rock (1970); Rockin' With Curly Leads (1973); Specs Appeal (1975); Live At The Paris Olympia (1975); 20 Golden Greats (1977; THE WAR LORD is listed, but what appears on the record is the much favoured SPRING IS NEARLY HERE!); Tasty (1977); String Of Hits (1979)
— Also Cliff LPs with Drifters' / Shadows' numbers included:
Cliff On Stage! (1966 = UK LP Cliff 1959); Cliff's Birthday Party (1967, = UK LP 21 Today 1961); The Young Ones (1963, a 10-inch record with THE SAVAGE only from The Shadows; full 1961/62 UK version Japan 1966); Summer Holiday (1964); Wonderful Life (1965); Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp (1966); Finders Keepers (1967); Cinderella (1967); Established 1958 (1969); Thank You Very Much (1979)

EPs [33 1/3] & LPs: Distinctive Japanese Issues

What's Mysterious Sounds? Columbia ZL 3514 (10-inch): FBI / The Stranger [Man Of Mystery listed on sleeve/label] / Midnight / Apache / Wonderful Land / Blue Star / Kon-Tiki / The Savage / The Stranger / The Frightened City

Mike McWilliams offers the following explanation of the (to our ears) curious title:

"This is not a translation probably. All over Japan on T-shirts, adverts and all sorts of other places you will see meaningless English phrases. What they do is choose what they consider to be "nice" words and just put them together without much thought to the meaning. The look and sound of the words is more important (and probably judged likely to sell more albums in this case). The mysterious probably has its roots in MAN OF MYSTERY (if that is on the album)."

Apache Odeon OP 4054: Apache / Perfidia / Gonzales / Guitar Tango

Guitar Tango Odeon CW 1009 [10-inch]: Guitar Tango / The Breeze And I / Spring Is Nearly Here / Are They All Like You / Foot Tapper / Perfidia / South Of The Border / The Bandit / The Rumble / Tales Of A Raggy Tramline

Greatest Hits Odeon OP 7064: Apache / Man Of Mystery / The Stranger / FBI / Midnight / The Frightened City / Kon-Tiki / 36–24–36 / Wonderful Land / Stars Fell On Stockton / Guitar Tango / The Boys / Dance On! / Geronimo

Blue Star Odeon OP 4196: Blue Star / In The Mood / South Of The Border / Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Shindig Odeon OP 4200: Shindig / Foot Tapper / Fly Me To The Moon / The Breeze And I

Driftin' Odeon OP 4216: Driftin' / Theme From Giant / Mary Anne / Theme From Shane

The Shadows '66 Odeon OP 7453: Rhythm And Greens / My Grandfather's Clock / Granada / The War Lord / The Lute Number / Valencia / Don't Make My Baby Blue / Blue Star / Stingray / The Drum Number / Adios Muchachos / What A Lovely Tune / Ranka-Chank / Alice In Sunderland

The Best Of The Shadows Odeon OP 7578: Blue Star / Shindig / South Of The Border / The High And The Mighty / The Savage / Guitar Tango / Chattanooga Choo-Choo / Apache / The Lonely Bull / Perfidia / In The Mood / Tonight / FBI / Bossa Roo

Spring Is Nearly Here Odeon OP 4247: Spring Is Nearly Here / The High And The Mighty / Sleepwalk / Man Of Mystery

The Wild Roses Odeon OP 4274: The Wild Roses / Kimi To Itsumademo / Omoide No Nagisa / Gin-iro No Michi

Stardust Odeon OP 4276: Stardust / Maria Elena / Londonderry Air / Somewhere

The Shadows Deluxe Odeon OP 8026: Spring Is Nearly Here / Perfidia / Foot Tapper / Mary Anne / South Of The Border / Driftin' / Little 'B' / Blue Star / Apache / Five Hundred Miles / Brazil / Geronimo / Nivram / Shadoogie

Mary Anne Odeon OP 8069: Mary Anne / Scotch On The Socks / The Boys / Theme From Giant / Quatermasster's Stores / Jet Black / The Miracle / Driftin' / The Dreams I Dream / Mustang / Theme From The Boys / Theme From Shane / The Girls / Atlantis

Thunderbirds Are Go! Odeon OP 8108: Thunderbirds Theme / Lady Penelope / Zero X Theme / The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt / Feelin' Fine / Back Home / Saturday Dance / Spring Is Nearly Here / Shotgun / Sweet Dreams / Main Theme / This Hammer / Chu-chi / All Day (AV) [This was the only truly "Japanese" variant in The Shadows' recorded work: see CD Guide 2005 Edition, p. 242.]

Early Hits Of The Shadows Odeon OR 8135: i.q. Greatest Hits under 1964 above

The Shadows In Japan Odeon OP 8259: Omoide No Nagisa / Kimi To Itsumademo / Londonderry Air / The Tokaido Line / Alentejo / Evening Glow / The Wild Roses / Gin-iro No Michi / Naughty Nippon Nights / A Thing Of Beauty / Let Me Take You There / Holy Cow

Best 8 [2 EP] Odeon OP 4323–4: Apache / Stardust / Foot Tapper / Spring Is Nearly Here // Blue Star / Little 'B' / Mary Anne / Maria Elena

The Shadows Sing Odeon OP 8359: San Francisco / The Letter / The Day I Met Marie / Last Train To Clarksville / A Better Man Than I / Five Hundred Miles / One Way To Love / {London's Not Too Far: Hank Marvin} / Let It Be Me / Bombay Duck / Somewhere / A Little Bitty Tear / Tomorrow's Cancelled / In The Past

Live In Japan Odeon OP 8863: Shazam! / Dance On! / Nivram / Apache / Exodus / Foot Tapper / A Little Bitty Tear / Putting On The Style / Slaughter On 10th Avenue / Don't Make My Baby Blue / The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt / Somewhere / Little 'B' / FBI

All About The Shadows [2 LP] Odeon OP 9354 B:
Record 1 Apache / Bombay Duck / The Savage / Omoide No Nagisa / Geronimo / FBI / Blue Star / Guitar Tango / Foot Tapper / Kimi To Itsumademo / Spring Is Nearly Here / Driftin'
Record 2 Perfidia / Green Eyes / The Breeze And I / Adios Muchachos / Granada / Maria Elena / The High And The Mighty / Fly Me To The Moon / Tonight / In The Mood / South Of The Border / Tennessee Waltz

The Shadows ('Golden') Odeon OP 9709: Stardust / Londonderry Air / Tennessee Waltz / Omoide No Nagisa / Somewhere / In The Mood / Spring Is Nearly Here / Blue Star / Apache / Maria Elena / Nivram / The Wild Roses / Let It Be Me / Little 'B'

Super Electric Guitar Collection [Records 4/5 of a 10 LP set) EMI WR–59104/105 (101/110):
Record 4 Apache / Bombay Duck / Geronimo / Blue Star / FBI / Spring Is Nearly Here / The High And The Mighty / Fly Me To The Moon / South Of The Border / Perfidia / Guitar Tango / Omoide No Nagisa
Record 5 The Breeze And I / Green Eyes / Adios Muchachos / Granada / Stardust / Tonight / The Savage / Foot Tapper / Driftin' / In The Mood / Kimi To Itsumademo / Tennessee Waltz

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