Sunday, July 21, 2013
Back in the pre-"Clapton Is God" early 1960's, The Shadows' Hank Marvin was England's greatest rock guitarist, backing up Sir Cliff Richard and taking the lead on The Shadows' many instrumental hits. Among other things, Marvin introduced the Fender Strat to England, and was an early proponent of echo effects and whammy bar bends. More important, he was one of the few rock guitar players of any era who was able to build a career as much on instrumentals as on playing off a singer wailing pop tunes. I don't know if it's still the case, but for years, The Shadows had the third largest number of songs ever on the British charts (Elvis and The Beatles were one and two). At least half were features for Marvin's sparkling leads with nary a vocal line to be heard. Sure, the times have passed Marvin by, but that's not really Marvin's fault. His playing remains flawless.