Sunday Music – Apache

Posted on Sun 02/28/2016 by

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Today’s music video is Apache and the song is performed here by the legendary English band The Shadows.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by DiscoBar80

The first music Post I did was back in December 2008. I was away with my good lady wife, and we were visiting our daughter and her family. I had limited access to a computer, and I thought it was rude of me to be visiting with family, and then sit in front of a computer for hours on end. So, for something I could do that wouldn’t take much time, I added a music post. It was perhaps my favourite Instrumental, Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny. I found the clip and wrote a short piece about it, and then it was back to family. That Post is at this link.

When I got back home, I thought I could make it a regular thing, and my Sunday Music Posts began. For the first few months I concentrated mainly on Instrumentals, and I didn’t realise just how many of my favourite songs were in fact Instrumentals. I actually included a couple of songs by this band I have featured today, The Shadows, as at the time in the 60’s, when they were so huge, I was just one of their many fans. I was just starting out on my own musical journey as my own tastes on music refined, and I just loved guitar music.

What I did find however was that I liked guitar music best when the instrument was played just in its purest form. So many bands were experimenting with the sound from the guitar, and while some it was good, some of it was also just plain noise in my opinion. I liked the occasional effect that was introduced, but when the electronics took over, that pure string sound of the guitar just became distorted.

TheShadows01Luckily, this band, The Shadows were just huge at that time in the early 60’s, and they were probably one of the bands at the very genesis of what later became known as The British Invasion. They produced hit after hit after hit. They actually started out with the name The Drifters, but there was already a band with that name in the U.S. so they changed the name to The Shadows.

They were the backing band for that huge star at the time, Cliff Richard, and he had already had a number of hits, performing as Cliff Richard And The Shadows, and while I thought his songs were okay, I was not as enamoured as some were about them. However, virtually every song The Shadows brought out in their own right I did like.

The band formed up in 1958 and it wasn’t until the sixth song with Cliff Richard that they released a Single under just their own name. They were the very first backing band to come out from behind a huge singer, and then have their own monster career.

That first song they released on their own was the one I have featured today, Apache, released in mid 1960, and the song was written by Jerry Lordan. It features the beautiful guitar work of Hank Marvin, that pure guitar sound with virtually nothing added other than some echo and the clever use of the tremelo bar.

By now, Hank was playing that beautiful red Fender Stratocaster he so famously used for most of his career. Cliff Richard, now a huge star in his own right was the one who actually got this guitar for him, ordering it from the U.S. in 1959, and then giving it to Hank.

The song was recorded in the Abbey Road Studio. Hank fooled around with an early echo chamber another guitarist couldn’t get to work to his satisfaction, and he did get it to give the effect he wanted with this song. The almost haunting melody from the Bass guitar was done by Jet Harris, later to leave the band. The Rhythm guitar is played by Bruce Welch, and the studio version was done on a wide bodied Gibson J200 Acoustic Electric guitar. The drums were played by Chris Meehan, and Cliff Richard himself played  a drum during the intro and in the tune, to give it what he thought was an authentic North American Indian feel to the song.

While there are numerous clips of the band performing this song during their long careers, the one I have selected is an old grainy clip of the original band performing the song back in 1960. That original band is the one shown in the above image, which is of their first album as just The Shadows, a self titled album released in 1961.

This one song has been covered by many bands across the years, but this one, the original and the most distinctive of them is far and away the best.

This song spent 6 weeks at Number One in the UK, and that was virtually unheard of at the time. The Shadows were in right at the start of that incredible time when so much beautiful music came out of the UK. By now, in the early 60’s the vocal groups had all but taken over, including that monster band The Beatles, but The Shadows, having forged their career a little earlier still remained at the top of the charts with nearly every song they brought out, further shown when their fourth huge hit, Wonderful Land, also written by Jerry Lordan spent 8 weeks at Number One, and with so many huge bands and artists coming out on virtually a weekly basis, that song with its eight weeks at Number One was the one song which spent more weeks at Number One in the UK than any song, during the whole of the 1960’s, an incredible feat.

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