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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2004
This book gives all Shadows fans a real insight into the life and times of Messrs. Marvin; Welch and Bennett.
Mike Read has captured a really strong feel for a band which created musical history.
A must have for all Shadows music lovers.
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on 17 November 2010
Having recently been given this book by my big brother in New Zealand, who is also a devoted fan of The Shadows, I've just finished reading it & thoroughly enjoyed it. Ok, the media is often blamed for hyping up news of celebs in the music, film, stage & other businesses in the public eye, but this book puts right a lot of the rumour that has emanated over the years about 'who did what' & 'who fell out with who' etc, etc.

It's an easy read that well describes & captures the characters involved in the life of probably the world's top instrumental group ever, the Shads.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book & I would recommend it to others who have interests in pop/rock memorabilia. Some of the legends in the music business have added their tributes to the Shads at the back of the book.
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on 29 October 2014
What a shame. Having read a biography of Cliff Richard, I wanted to find out more about the Shads., as they were barely mentioned. I saw that Jet Harris had a autobiography, but he was with the Shads for only a short period. Bruce Welch too had a publication in the 80's, but I wanted to find an unbiased journalistic 'objective' well written piece (not that Bruce's is or isn't any of those - have not read his). However, this seems to be the only book I could find relating to the Shadows.

Unfortunately it is immensely disappointing. It is written in what seems to be a 'lightly humourous' style, with convoluted paragraphs, stupid jokes, a lack of reference to milestones in the career of Cliff (which would give a time context), and largely seems to comprise of a series of out of context anecdotes strung together with an imprecise text. It is written in chronological order, but there is no sense of satisfaction reading it. This is a poor piece of work, written in the 80's, and lacking the discipline and authenticity of many of today's competent biographies of stars of the sixties or seventies.

What a great shame. As the only real work on the Shads, I was so looking forward to reading it, but the style has defeated me, and I have given up not half way through. It is too thorough in places, and too trivial in others. The style is exemplified by the use of the ! two or three times in each paragraph. Simply removing all of these would reduce the text by several pages, and also make it more readable. Even he picture captions are repeatedly childish, but for Shads fans at least there are quite a lot of them.

You get an idea of the early days, which are accounted for by each of the early members, with a chapter each, but strangely all in that same flippant style - was this Mike Read 'overlaying' the text with a 'Radio One' mentality? Others may have been able to give you a better idea of the nature of this text - I just don't know how to describe it! Poor would come close.

Still, this is the only book there is! I wonder if it has been 'dumbed down' and turned into a superficial, lightweight text in part due to the conversion of some of the group to the beliefs of Jehovahs Witness - who always play down their own ego and their private lives.

And finally, it may be best just to re-visit the music. If you look for anything written by Hank, you won't find any text, but a fabulous array of Music CD's of all sorts. The genius and their heritage is in the music, not in the written word.
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on 26 May 2014
As most of you know Mike is a huge fan and on his radio show usually more often than not he sneaks a Shads track on somewhere..great.
This book is long long overdue a reissue and update, but failing that this really is an essential read for fans of the band.
Containing many b/w and colour photo, s and interviews with existing and past members with the exception obviously of the late John Rostill.Brue recalls John, s death(he discovered his body),and it is quite obvious that it hit him and Brian really hard.
The book isnt big but it does cover a lot of ground, from the early days as The Drifters, the name change( by Jet), the false starts until Apache came along, the ensuing hits, the emergence of Beatles, Stones et al and the effect it had on succesive minor chart hits, the first disbanding, the MWF period and ofcoures Eurovision, a certain 20 Golden Greats album, and the resurgence of interest in the band.
Obviously the band continued throughout the 80, s with releases on Polydor which is I feel a hitty missy period, the odd exception here and there.
I certainly think a new biography should be published, as to my mind, they are too frequently omitted or not mentioned at all in the history of Rock N Roll( esp.British R N R).They were the consumate beat group of the 60, s and the first really big band to formulate the classic 4 man line up, that influenced so many of the bands that came after, bands often sighted as THE 60, s band.
Now that, despite the Shads Reunion shows, and Cliff reunion shows, it does finally seem to be the end of the road for The Shads as such, please someone, give them the credit and FULL recognition they deserve, and give us fans( many around the world),the biography they have surely earned.
This book however, until then, is quite adequate enough to fill that gap, for now.
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on 2 June 2011
Compulsory purchase for Shadows fans and indeed fans of Olivia Newton-John.

Mike Read removes by interview all the naughty bits and gives us fans a polished and cleaned up version of the Shadows story with all the genuine heartache bits removed for suitable public consumption. Ends at 1982 when Brian Goode takes over from Peter Gormley (friendly Aussie, g'day-mate, etc).

Merits an updated version into the 21thC to final reunion with Cliff in 09/10.

No useful venue/touring/concert/programmes/stubs info data.
Info on records only on vinyl up to 1982.
Non vinyl formats ignored.
EPs releases and charts ignored.
No sales stats of success in UK/world.
Concentrates mostly on 1958 to 1968 era.
Not much on wonderful Marvin Welch and Farrar 1970's era.
No compact stories on Brian Locking, John Rostill, Alan Hawkshaw, John Farrar, and then Alan Tarney, Trevor Spencer, Cliff Hall, Alan Jones, George Ford, Alan Ainsworth, John Fiddy, Peter Vince, Malcolm Addey, Peter Gormley, Brian Goode, John Friesen, Record Scene shop in Ashford, Norrie Paramor + his daughters. etc.
But lots of non-juicy (u-certificate) tit-bits (over 40x) on Olivia Newton John with the Shadows/Cliff.
Cliff Richard's true s/orientation (nudge-nudge).

Nevertheless, despite some obvious major short comings, thoroughly recommended.

FUN: Still Hank Marvin's no.1 all time favorite bed-time book.
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on 27 January 2015
I have previously owned this book but, have been unable to find it in recent years, so an opportunity to buy another copy could not be passed by.
It is a definitive story of Britains undoubted top instrumental group of the sixties packed with individual member stories, pictures and discography up to July '82.
A mine of information and nostalgia for any Shadows fans...
Well written by former Radio One presenter Mike Read. Well worth owning....Again!
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on 28 February 2016
As a lifelong Shadow's fan this book was a must.

I already have Bruce Welch's autobiography which was a marvelous view of the Shadows life and a book regularly reread.

Mike Read's book filled in many more facts and I liked the use of anecdotes from all the Shadows and from Cliff.

It may have taken me a long time to find a copy but it was well worth the wait.
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on 13 August 2013
What an imformative book, a must for all Shadows fans, contains some wonderful stories and photos about Britains favourite Instrumental group. Keep up the good work
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on 19 November 2014
Had this book years ago and was really glad to find it again. If you are a shadows fan this is great reading
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on 28 April 2016
Nice book quick delivery, will buy from again, highly recommended
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