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stupid jokes, a lack of reference to milestones in ...
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.