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The Shadows: Greatest Hits Live

The Shadows

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Album Review

A straightforward summary of the Shadows' first three years of habitual hitmaking, opening with the pounding flurry of "Apache," then tracing through the next eight smash singles, with a handful of attendant B-sides (and one EP cut, the title track from The Boys) to round the package out. There is no denying the sheer brilliance of this early sequence. Hits like "Wonderful Land," "FBI," and "Man of Mystery" utterly rewrote the guitar's role in rock, not only musically, but culturally as well. Unquestionably, the Shadows' importance and impact diminished as the years passed, but at the outset of their career — the period documented here — they were untouchable. It is for that reason that Greatest Hits is still regarded in some quarters as the finest Shadows album of them all, an accolade which no other compilation (and goodness knows, there's been enough of them) has ever been able to dismiss. Even the sleeve screams "masterpiece." [The 2004 expanded reissue of Greatest Hits is, if anything, even more enjoyable than the original LP, and that original was one of the prizes of the early-'60s EMI pop catalog to begin with. For starters, the remastering in 24-bit digital audio allows you to practically hear the action on the strings — as well as every nuance of the playing — on Bruce Welch's rhythm guitar, on top of Hank Marvin's lead; and Jet Harris' bass and Tony Meehan's drums on "Apache" seem like they're in the room with you; and that's just the mono mix, which comprises the first 16 tracks here. The second 16 tracks are the stereo mixes, which give you an even closer listen to the guitar parts. The mono mixes are stronger as pure listening experiences, but the stereo versions will please the audiophile audience. The original LP's 15 basic tracks have been expanded by one with the addition of the "lost" A-side, "Quartermaster's Stores" — which had been scheduled as an A-side before "Apache" came to their attention, and was considered a great lost single — in both mono and stereo. The annotation is as thorough as the sound is crisp, and the overall listening experience is a delight.] ~ Dave Thompson & Bruce Eder, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1960

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Shadows are usually thought of as the quintessential British instrumental group and, along with the American band the Ventures and the Swedish group the Spotnicks, one of the most popular instrumental groups in the world. But that barely tells the story of their true significance in the history of British rock & roll — including the fact that they were the first home-grown British rock & roll band to dominate the U.K. charts; or that they weren't originally an instrumental group,...
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The Shadows: Greatest Hits Live, The Shadows
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