The Shadows Re-Unite To Play Apache, Reminding Us How Cool They Were

The Shadows, an English rock & roll band, often don’t get the recognition they deserve due to their connection with Cliff Richard. While Richard was the face of the group from 1958 to 1968, The Shadows were the driving force behind his hits, initially known as The Drifters.

Pressure from the US vocal group, The Drifters, known for soul classics like “Under the Boardwalk” and “Save the Last Dance for Me,” led to the name change to The Shadows. The BBC 4 documentary “The Shadows At Sixty” (2020) sheds light on their journey, focusing on their breakthrough hit, “Apache,” originally written by Jerry Lordan and re-imagined by The Shadows.

The documentary clip offers a glimpse into the band’s camaraderie and their rehearsal space, with Hank Marvin demonstrating the iconic opening riff of “Apache.” Fans praise Marvin’s clean guitar sound, which has influenced a plethora of guitarists.

Lead guitarist Hank B. Marvin is hailed as a guitar virtuoso, influencing legends like David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, and Brian May. Meanwhile, drummer Brian Bennett receives praise for his skill and groove.

“Apache” has a fascinating history, with songwriter Jerry Lordan drawing inspiration from the Western movie of the same name. The Shadows’ version skyrocketed up the UK charts, topping them for five weeks. However, in the US, a cover by Jørgen Ingmann overshadowed their success due to EMI’s neglect to promote their version.

Despite their association with Cliff Richard bringing initial exposure, The Shadows struggled to shake off the perception of being merely his backing band as Richard shifted towards mainstream and Christian music. Nevertheless, their impact on rock & roll is undeniable, as showcased in the BBC 4 documentary.

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