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Rock 'n' Roll, I Gave You the Best Years of My Life: Life in the "Shadows" Paperback – 27 Sep 1990


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140119841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140119848
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 903,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Redmond on 10 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is an absolute 'must read' for anyone who claims to be a fan of The Shadows. It documents life prior to the Shadows for Bruce Welch (with partial references to Hank Marvin), the hard times that both guitarists endured in London, right the way through to hitting the big time with Cliff.

It also documents Bruce's frustrations with the group and its personnel, and gives an insight into the internal discord that caused the split of Britain's founding father's of Rock 'n' Roll. Proof is given that the Beatles copied the presentation and professional methods of Cliff and The Shads to futher their own careers, and there is testimony from many of the Britain's great guitarists (who are now themselves world-beaters) as to the importance of the groups contribution to music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Castle on 26 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I played rhythm guitar myself in several bands in the sixties and seventies. My three top rhythm guitarists (in no particular order) are Bruce Welch, John Mc Nally (The Searchers) and Don Wilson (The Ventures).
Bruce not only gives loads of informations about himself and The Shadows, but displays an amazingly wide knowledge of the pop industry and its various fads and trends. He also tells the facts about why Tony Meehan, then jet Harris, left the group plus that affair between Cliff Richard and Jet's wife.
I was always interested in what gear other groups were using and I wish Bruce had told a bit more about that. Such as:
He used a Fender Jazzmaster as a rhythm guitar at one time, Why? It was usually a lead guitar in American groups (Ventures, Beach Boys) and a few British ones (Hunters, Tremeloes).
Did Hank ever use it?
The Shadows mostly used Fender guitars, why not Fender amps?
Why did they change to Burns then back to Fender again?
A great book and I wished it would never end!
Any chance of another, Bruce?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Sanders on 31 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed this book from a friend in the late 1990's and was pleased to see a copy at a reasonable price on Amazon as I 'd been after one since the 90's.

This is a very informative and candid book on Bruce Welch's life in the 1950's onwards, from his schooldays, meeting Hank Marvin and their musical journey from skiffle groups playing working mens clubs in Newcastle to being discovered in London at the legendary 2I's club in Soho, London and the chance meeting with Cliff Richard's then manager which helped bring them to the fore as household names.

Bruce Welch writes a frank and honest account of his life and music and it is a great read.

Reading the early years chapters of the late 1950's in London, took me right back to when I was starting out with my old band of school friends in 1982 a mere 25 years later from Bruce and the Shadows, hoping to find fame and fortune. Reading Bruce's experiences took me right back to my own.

I did get to speak with Bruce at length about Hank's first Fender Stratocaster and his life in the Shadows on the phone, he really is a nice genuine man and genuinely interested in fans of the music.

A lot of the famous faces of the 50's and 60's are mentioned, people like Wee Willie Harris, Vince Taylor and many other well known names that came out of the 2I's coffee bar era of the late 50's.

A great book if you want to discover how British Rock n Roll evolved from copying the early works of Buddy, Elvis, Eddie and Gene and then carved its own path, writing its own music and taking the music back to the USA.

Getting a rare book to find but worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Casali Enrico on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Hardcover
June 17, 1959 The Shadows recorded "Apache" and the legend began. After 50 years are still with us, a milestone in the music scene. Not only great musicians but also writers, actors. Bruce Welch's book tells in great detail their history, an incredible series of events that only life can give, more than any movie. Thanks Bruce for this memory, thanks for being with us Shadows!
Enrico CASALI
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ed on 29 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read for all those interested in the early years of British guitar bands. It would be good if it was to be updated to include the farewell tour of the Shadows, and why Jet Harris was not invited to at least have a walk on part in the tour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. M. Higginson on 4 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is agreat book Bruce tells it as it is he's a nice guy I've met him a few times so if you're a shadows fan this is great read it would be nice if hank marvin did one to back Bruce's up enjoy,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ShadowOne on 4 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. You get the story of Bruce, The Shads and the continuing adventures rock'n'roll and music business. Honest book, where the facts are right.
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