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4.6 out of 5 stars114
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 April 2009
I bought this a while back from Woollies of all places before they went bust. I took it straight back after one listen through. To me some of the tracks don't seem to be originals. In particular, one of my all time favourite classic Shadows tracks 'Wonderful Land' doesn't have those great Norrie Paromor-arranged strings in the background which really make that record. I don't know what's going on with this compilation. The Shadows are one of the all time great British bands and the record company has to get any record release right. I'd go for one of the other compilations listed on Amazon. For example, The Shadows Greatest Hits (and possibly the 20 Golden Greats which seems to be better than/different to 50 Golden Greats though I couldn't swear to it). All I'd say is choose carefully before you buy.
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on 20 January 2011
This is OK because it's the Shads, but as remarked elsewhere, has been put through the bland-o-matic cleanup machine, leaving flat, thin, stuff to wash over our ears. Worse, there's a strange version of "Wonderful Land" from which the strings have been surgically removed, leaving a very dull piece of Shadowcraft. Given all the excitement about the strings at the time of the single's first release, this is ludicrous, and I can only imagine that a work-experience kid cleared that for release.

I once got a cheap market-stall cassette of a Cliff and the shads compilation (Italian issue I think) which featured a marvellous version of "the Young Ones" from which the annoyingly twee and intrusive strings had been excised. That was brilliant. This "Wonderful Land" isn't. So ... good because it's the shads. Bad because EMI don't know how to handle their back-catalogue. A five star band in a one-star reissue.
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on 2 October 2008
What a great opportunity to provide all of the best guitar instrumentals on just one compilation. I looked forward to this cd with real anticipation. This should be the cd that stays in my car. But it doesn't. The songs are there but they are all sanitised ("digitally re-mastered") and not for the better. Most of the tracks lame and weak in comparison to the originals. The mono tracks have been turned into stereo but manage to sound either muffled or ethereal. A very disappointing effort that is consigned to the back of the shelf. I suppose a reasonable buy for a real Shads novice but better to go for the "At Their Very Best" compilation which rather than just digitally altering the original songs, sees the Shads recording the hits again. Whilst losing some of the original rawness, "At Their Very Best" gives the songs in their glory but with modern digital recording.
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on 12 April 2006
Wonderful compilation on a double disc album of their greatest hits, BUT..

Having compared with earlier 20 Golden Greats compilation, EMI certainly screwed up on Disc 1. Did some random track comparison and found disappointing flaws.

Track 1: Apache: Over bloomed with less definition.

Track 15: Foot Tapper: Sounds in mono whereas its wide stereo in the earlier compilation album.

Track 19: Theme for Young lovers. Glitch at the start with double note and channels are switched.

Disc 1 is certainly flawed. The guys at EMI should have paid more attention to the quality.

Am disappointed with this compilation. EMI should recall and replace this double disc set.
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on 16 June 2009
If you haven't already heard any of The Shadows' material and you want an overview, then this is for you. If, like me, you have some stuff on vinyl from the early years, plus material from the latter part of their catalogue, then this is for you. Particularly if you want to try to learn to play some of it and need constant repetition of the track(s) without any fear of wearing out/ damaging the vinyl.

What is the stuff like? Well, for many oldies, like me, this is where it all began. You have lead, rhythm and bass guitars, drums, and mostly instrumental "tunes", all played by consummate musicians, inspiring us to want to play guitar. And it all still works, if you ask me. It inspired me back in the very early 1960s, when I was a pre-teenager, listening to the BBC Light Programme, and you were lucky to get any music that was worth listening to, and delights me now. Have a listen, budding guitarists of this generation, too. Try to play it as well as they did. I dare you...
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In the early sixties, instrumental hits were a regular feature of the pop charts in Britain and America. There were several great instrumental artists around. America had Duane Eddy, Floyd Cramer, B Bumble and the Stingers and the Ventures, to name a few. Britain had the Shadows and the Tornados. While the Tornados were very successful at the time, most notably with Telstar, the Shadows remained successful for the rest of the century.
The Shadows were also Cliff Richard's backing band and played on most of his hits in the fifties and sixties. Like Cliff, they made little impact in America but any Americans who enjoy the Ventures and Duane Eddy ought to give the Shadows a listen.
This compilation has all their big UK instrumental hits of the sixties and seventies including Apache, Man of mystery, FBI, Wonderful land, Dance on, Foot tapper and Don't cry for me Argentina. They also experimenting by doing a few vocal tracks and some of those are included here, among them being Mary Anne (a UK top ten hit), Don't make my blue, I met a girl, Dreams I dream and Let me be the one (their 1975 Eurovision song – like so many other Brits, they came second). The vocal tracks are good but it is their instrumental skills on which their reputation is built.
Most of their big hits came early in their career. In the eighties and nineties, they gave up worrying about hits and contented themselves with making albums of cover versions. A few covers selected from these albums round off this excellent collection. Among them is Albatross, an early Fleetwood Mac tune that always sounded very like a Shadows track, so it was an obvious tune for them to cover.
The Shadows, like most pop groups, has had its share of line-up changes. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch , two of the original members, remained with the group throughout. The other two original members, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, left early on, They teamed up as a duo and had some UK hits of their own including Diamonds. Of the other members that came and went, John Farrar is perhaps the most famous. He joined in 1970 but eventually had to leave because of other commitments – he became producer and songwriter for Olivia Newton John.
If you enjoy guitar instrumental music of the sixties, you'll love the Shadows. This compilation contains all the essentials, though a lot of Shadows music is available on CD for those who wish to explore further.
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on 26 January 2005
Forget the cover versions at the end of disc 2.The Shadows hits that fill the other disc and a half are the sounds that inspired a generation of guitar freaks.Worth buying for Wonderful Land alone,which is presented here in the original,undubbed, version before Norrie Paramor added the strings which grace the 45 rpm release.
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on 22 March 2010
I bought a couple of these items one for myself and one for friends here in Italy, and while I adore the Shadows and what they did, I was quite surprised that 'Blue Star' and 'All my sorrows' werent on the 50 Golden Greats CD's. My wife was in possession of a Shadows Audio Tape which she had brought back from Australia in the 1980's and everything was on it. So we are used to hearing Blue Star and All my Sorrows as part of the Shadows package.
I found these songs on youtube and have added them to my downloaded file ....does anyone know how to convert a FLV file to Plain audio?
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"50 Golden Greats" by the Shadows was released on a double CD in the year 2000. There are 27 tracks on disc # 1 and 23 tracks on disc # 2. The total running time is about 2 hours and 24 minutes.

On the Amazon website you can see all titles and listen to samples. Therefore I do not have to mention all of them. I will mention only some examples. I have divided this review into five sections.

SECTION 1
Famous hits by the Shadows, most of them original compositions by the band:

** Dance On, disc # 1, track # 14
** Foot Tapper, # 15
** Shindig, # 17
** The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt, # 25
** Genie with the Light Brown Lamp, # 27
** Stingray, disc # 2, track # 2
** Maroc 7, # 9

[The Ventures also play The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt. You can find their version on the album "Acoustic Rock" from 2000. Here is a link: Acoustic Rock.]

SECTION 2
Famous hits composed by Jerry Lordan

** Apache, disc # 1, track # 1
** Wonderful Land, # 10
** Atlantis, # 16
** Mary-Anne, disc # 2, track # 1
** A Place in the Sun, # 7

[The Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann also plays Apache; the Ventures also play Apache.]

SECTION 3
Vocal tracks, where the Shadows are singing:

** Mary-Anne, disc # 2, track # 1
** Don't Make My Baby Blue, # 3
** I Met a Girl, # 6
** The Dreams I Dream, # 8
** Let Me Be the One, # 12

SECTION 4
Cover versions of popular hits written by others:

** Something, by George Harrison, disc # 2, track # 11
** God only knows, by the Beach Boys, # 17
** Going Home, by Dire Straits, # 18
** Nights in White Satin, by the Moody Blues, # 20
** A Whiter Shade of Pale, by Procul Harum, # 21
** Imagine / Woman, by John Lennon, # 22

SECTION 5
Disappointing tracks:

** Man of Mystery, disc # 1, track # 2

[The Ventures play Man of Mystery on their album "Acoustic Rock."]

** Slaughter on 10th Avenue, disc # 2, track # 10

[The Ventures play Slaughter on 10th Avenue. You can find their version on "Walk - Don't Run: The Best of the Ventures." Here is a link: Walk Don't Run - The Best of the Ventures.]

The quality of the recordings is surprisingly good, considering that they were done many years ago. The quality of the music varies a lot. I think we have some - but not 50 - golden greats here. Many tracks deserve five stars; some deserve just three stars, while two deserve only one star. In my opinion, this compilation deserves a rating of four stars.

PS. See also 20 Golden Greats by the Shadows; released on vinyl in 1977; and released on a CD in 1987.
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on 5 September 2015
Some of my earliest musical memories are of The Shadows. My first ever concert was on their Silver Anniversary tour in 1983. I can still remember going with my dad to the box office to buy the tickets.

However, as I got into my teens and 20's I would never admit to liking them and would be too embarrassed to mention that gig and my first album being their 20 Golden Greats LP which my parents bought me one year for Christmas.

Somehow I got in the notion for listening to them again. The original LP is long gone so I upgraded to this collection which contains all of their UK top 40 hits, some B sides from their 60's heyday and a few tracks from their resurgence in popularity late 70's/early 80's.

The first CD is superb with almost all their best tunes on here: Apache, Atlantis, F.B.I and many more. Hank Marvin's guitar still stands out but I can't help but being impressed with Bruce Welch's rhythm guitar especially on The Savage. The only gripe is one which other reviewers have mentioned-the compilers including the original version of Wonderful Land without strings.

The second CD begins with their lesser known hits of the 60's and I'm thankful for the inclusion of the flop single from 1969, Slaughter On 10th Avenue which I'd never heard before. There are also a few vocal numbers which were not included on the original collection. They show that whilst they were no slouches in the vocal department, the songs themselves are little more than average. Mary Anne is in my opinion the best of these.

When the group returned after several year's hiatus in the mid 70's, they began to concentrate mainly on covers of contemporary hits. Some of the arrangements are reasonably adventurous (Something and God Only Knows however the disco style break in Riders In The Sky was ill advised!) but the others on the latter half of CD 2 on this collection are insipid and are bordering on muzak. It's a far cry from the inventiveness of their early recordings.

All in all it is very good value for money but the original 20 Golden Greats is still the better and more concise collection. All killer and no filler if you like!
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