Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Performing and Interpreting Shadows' Music

Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (admin) » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:56 pm

Does anyone know the history behind Cliff Richard's decision to leave the Shadows or vice versa?

In the beginning the Shadows wrote great material for Cliff and he even performed one the original recording of Apache.

So why did the two factions not continue to perform and record together? I would have thought that having the Shadows and Cliff together would have been a forumla for success.
Life, as with music, often requires one to let go of the melody and listen to the rhythm

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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (nick_allen) » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:50 am

Well according to Bruce Welch, in his book, it was more a case of the Shadows breaking up, due to the traditional "internal dissension", and Bruce left in December 1968. Hank and a version of the Shadows continued to back Cliff for a while, at least on a tour of Japan. He also says that Hank and Cliff became very estranged, due to their divergent religious beliefs, and that Hank and John Rostill did not get on at all. I dare say everyone has their own version...
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (admin) » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:53 pm

Thanks Nick. I appreciate this information. While different members may have a slightly different interpretation of the events, there appears to be considerable overlap that the differing beliefs of Shadows personnel was central to the split.

While most people can share a recording studio for a brief period of time, getting on with one another is central to a group's sticking together. I am amazed that the Fab Four lasted as long as they did. Young adults can tolerate most conditions if it means success, however, as we age the strength of our convictions can take its toll.

I have read that The Shadows were quite united in the beginning and did not consider themselves to be "Cliff Richard and The Shadows." Is it the case then, that Cliff Richard only became the "front man" after Bruce departed? To this day I still cannot fully understand Cliff Richard's relatively poor showing in North America after perhaps "Bachelor Boy" and "Summer Holiday."

I am hoping that the Shadows' historians will step in here.
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (nick_allen) » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:44 pm

I'm by no means a "Shadows historian", but I was around at the time :roll: . No, Cliff was always the front man, from "Move It" onwards... I think in those days there had to be a front man, as far as the record companies were concerned - another mould that the Beatles broke.
Hank and Bruce were not on the record, but were hired to go on the road as part of Cliff's backing band, the Drifters (name later changed for obvious reasons). The personnel evolved into the Meehan/Harris version of the Shadows, and then later, when they made Apache, they became an entity in their own right, while still having a "day job" as Cliff's backing band.
A very brief potted history... :)
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (admin) » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:56 am

NIck: Goran made an interesting comment in one of his earlier posts on this Forum. In a nutshell, he was arguing that for instrumental groups the greatest share of the performance was in the work of the lead guitarist playing the melody line. The backup musicians, while important, had a lesser role to play. I hope I have not misinterpreted his comments.

I quite agree and wonder if the Shadows guitarists and drummer felt second fiddle to the voice of Cliff Richard and perhaps these feelings lead in part to the split of the group as well.
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (nick_allen) » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:38 pm

I don't really think so, Peter. Those guys came from a period before (only just before, but a few years make a big difference!) the "superstar guitarists" (Clapton, Beck, Page, etc etc...), when it was natural and expected for the singer to be the "star". And indeed, apart from Bert Weedon (if he means anything to any of you!) Hank and the Shadows were the first British "star instrumentalists" in pop/rock music, and effectively achieved "co-star status", if you like, with Cliff.
Also, with regard to your earlier comment about Cliff's lack of success in North America - while he has proved himself to be a lasting "all-round entertainer", I really don't think he had anything special or original enough at the time to make him stand out from the Bobbys, Frankies, Pauls, etc (let alone Elvis!!) who ruled the US charts pre-Beatles. On the other hand, both Cliff and the Shadows are still idolised by those "of a certain age" here in France!!
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (admin) » Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:16 pm

Thanks for your continued comments, Nick. I have to say that Cliff Richard's following is well deserved in my view. He has had a fantastic voice over the years and deserves much credit for his performances and recordings. I concur that his voice was not just noticeably different from mainstream vocalists in North America at the time, but to my way of thinking the quality of his voice was superior.

Although he did not make the charts often in Canada, I am reminded by a number of his recordings which did make it to our radio waves in the early to mid-sixties. From my memory these included: Bachelor Boy, Summer Holiday, Constantly and Just A Little Bit Too Late. Long before I knew much about the Shadows I admired the instrumental backing on these songs. A friend who moved from England had the Traveling Light/Dynamite 45 which was recording in the late 50s.
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (pussycat) » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:33 pm

Cliffs first group was the drifters.
they had Paul Samwell on bass and Terry smart on drums.
Cliff didn't appreciate Samwell's bass playing and Smart left to join the navy.
They were replaced by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan.
The first gig as the famous 5 Cliff, Hank,Jet ,Bruce and Tony was the free trade hall Manchester in January 1959.
Jet Harris told me he left because Cliff was having an affair with his wife.... Who knows?
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (royclough) » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:56 am

That is well documented that he had an affair with Jet's wife, Carol, before he found himself so to speak.

However according to other sources Jet had become unreliable due to a alcohol problem, though it is my theory that there was friction between himself and Bruce Welch.
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (romo1950) » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:57 am

A good friend of mine owns Burns guitars in London, he is still working with Hank and shadows members from through-out the years, They are still producing a Marvin signature Burns, he also hand built the guitars they used on their recent tour, I am sure he is very close to these guys and can maybe answer questions about the band.
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Re: Cliff Richard and The Shadows' Parting

Postby (doctorno) » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:13 pm

romo1950 wrote:They are still producing a Marvin signature Burns ...

Yes, and this is a wonderful guitar ;-) ...
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