#59 F.B.I.

When you've got Lady Penelope in your fan-base ...

#59 F.B.I. – The Shadows

If you only know The Shadows from seeing them on some cronky episode of TOPS (either backing Cliff Richard or poncing around doing some stupid dance routine), it may be difficult to appreciate just what an influence they were on the development of (guitar-based) pop music. Although not nearly so well-known in the States as in Britain, there are a host of guitarists from both sides of the Atlantic who claim Hank Marvin as an influence; and by guitarists we’re talking the likes of Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler, Frank Zappa and Carlos Santana. I can also just about remember this track being no. 1 in one of NME top 100 of all time lists, in the seventies.

The Burns "Apache" - named after Hank

What made Marvin’s guitar playing memorable, was not so much the level of technical difficulty (the fact that all his tracks were easy to play is one of the reasons they’re so popular with budding guitarists!) but the sound. Achieved with a very high reverb and heavy use of  the whammy bar, Marvin achieved a very dreamy sound which was yet very clean (at times almost trippy – well before his time).

By this stage of their respective careers, Cliff Richard had graduated


Shadows roadies "co-ordinating trim"

from the Chinese drum that he played on ‘Apache’ (I use ‘graduate’ in the most general sense of  the word) although I don’t think that he’d managed to get his guitar back from Bruce Welch (a Gibson J20 no less).  I think Brian Bennett had replaced Tony Meehan on drums by this time but Jet Harris was still there, despite his burgeoning, if brief, solo career.

FBI was written by Hank, Jet and Bruce (what were their mothers thinking) and released in  1961. It  has been covered numerous times (though I can’t think why, the original is pretty definitive).

A classic track from a classic band.

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