29 September 2009

'Should have taken Harrison's advice'

According to the great Hank B. Marvin, the Shads were 'idiots' to remain an instrumental-only group.

In fact, according to HBM, none other than George Harrison (of the Beatles singing/strumming combo) once advised them to start singing on their records. [My itals]

Well, George was taking the piss and trying to sabotage their possible seeping into the Beatles' own sales - or something like that, but definitely not sincere advice about "singing".

The Shadows were always the perfect vocal backing band of the doo-wop school such as demonstrated on dear Cliff's white trash version of Willie and the Hand Jive.

Despite their many changes and even efforts in the 1980s to go vocal, they were thwarted by the sheer blandness of their bald-tread voices - individually or in their 'Summer Holiday' cheesy harmonies, their vocal chords were completely without distracting character or timbre. They were the perfect foil for Cliff's own somewhat characterless singing and even on their own records, we turned the voice channel down after a few playings.

I remember on Oh Cangaceiro wondering when the lead singer was coming in and then realising he and everyone else had been in for the past several bars, just not made any impression on my ear-drums.

Can't you just see Harrison bursting giggling into the studio with a

"Wait til you hear this, lads - I just saw that Hank Marvin geezer from the Shadows and guess what I told him? Yeah, I said they should take up singing, like, and forget all that Fender stuff and swaying in step ... and you know what? I thinking he fookin' bought it."
(Sounds of hilarity and merriment)

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