Hank Marvin was born Brian Rankin on 28th October 1941 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Marvin's metallic, echoed picking and generous tremolo use on a Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster inspired a whole generation of guitarists including Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore and many others, who began their careers in groups imitating the Shadows in their own groups. Marvin, in his black, horn-rimmed glasses, was the ultimate cool guitar icon in late 50's/early 60's Britain.
After teaching himself guitar, banjo and boogie-woogie piano at school, Marvin's father presented him with his first guitar as a sixteenth birthday present. When his Crescent City Skiffle Group won a South Shields Jazz Club talent contest, he was asked to join Bruce Welch's Railroaders. On moving to London, Marvin and Welch operated briefly as the Geordie Boys before enlisting in an outfit called the Drifters, which evolved into the Shadows. While backing and, later, composing songs (such as The Day I Met Marie) for Cliff Richard, the quartet recorded independently and became generally acknowledged as Britain's top instrumental act.
After The Shadows disbanded (for the first time) in 1968, Marvin's subsequent solo career commenced with Goodnight Dick, and despite poor sales of this and two further singles, his 1969 album, Hank Marvin went to number 14 in the UK album chart, proving that Hank's fanbase was not only faithful, but was steadily growing in number. Yet despite contrasting moods and styles, the album was not far removed from the Shadows with its arrangements by Norrie Paramor (The Shadows' arranger) and composing contributions by Brian Bennett, the group's drummer.
Hank's affinity with Cliff Richard continued via their hit duets with Throw Down A Line and Joy Of Living, as well as Hank's residency as instrumentalist and comedian on Cliff's BBC television series.
In the early 70s, seeking a fresh artistic direction, Marvin joined Bruce Welch and John Farrar for two albums ( Marvin, Welch & Farrar and Second Opinion ) dominated by vocals and another (Marvin & Farrar) with Farrar alone ("a bit like Frankenstein meets the Beach Boys", concluded Marvin) before this project was abandoned partly through Marvin's personal commitments - notably his indoctrination as a Jehovah's Witness in 1973, and the gradual reformation of the Shadows.
After moving to Australia, Marvin turned out for the group's annual tour and studio album, while also recording albums such as The Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate , on which he led nine famous session guitarists. In 1982, he hit the charts with Don't Talk - intended initially for Cliff Richard - from Words & Music, which contained only one instrumental (Captain Zlogg).
After working with the Shadows during the late 80s Marvin went on to record prolifically during the following decade, much to the delight of his loyal fanbase. Hank B. Marvin has long been assured a place in pop history and is unquestionably one of the major influences on many rock guitarists, throughout the world, over the past 30 years. It is his stellar work with the Shadows in the 60s which made him such a legend.
In 2004, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett finally reformed as the shadows, undertaking an enormous farewell tour. 2004 ended with a sensational appearance by Hank, along with his son, Ben at the Strat Pack concert at Wembley Arena on September 24th. The band also released a new single, Life Story.
The success of the tour saw Hank and the boys go on the road across the U.K and Europe for the Shadows' Encore Tour.
Webpage created 24 July 2005. Last modified 24 July 2005.
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