My dad doesn’t historically have the coolest taste in music, but a funny thing happened when he came to New York last year for a visit. I took him up to Sirius for a survey of the 36th floor view and more importantly a gorging on gear, glamor, and satellite tech photo ops. While we were talking to Jose Mangin, telegenic Hard Attack metal channel founder and prophet, a dapper clean-shaven Andrew WK walked in and started shaking hands. Before Mr. Hard Party Kit Kat could get a word in edgewise, though, an idea popped into my dad’s head and he sprung into a lecture to us young ‘uns about the Shadows and Hank Marvin, the original guitar hero. That’s Hank with the long face with 1960s instrumental outfit the Shadows up above.
I inherited a Shadows CD somewhere, but I really only knew them from interviewing Tony Iommi for Sirius. Turns out he’s an unsung hero of the Sabbath sound, I think his rapid-fire approach to the Strat is an overlooked indirect influence on metal guitar playing. Joe Satriani covered a Shadows song, so he knows. Tony Iommi knows. Look at the synchronized steps the Shadows use in the video — you can bet the Scorpions know. The suspenseful James Bond theme used from Moonraker through the N64 Goldeneye game is played by Hank Marvin, so 007 knows. Now you know, too. I’m impressed that the Shadows were a hit machine as an instrumental guitar group, that’s uncommon. I guess I like the gunslinger approach to the six-string, from Hank Marvin to Link Wray to Andy McCoy. Add your own distortion, and those triplets are Slayer.
Hip hop music cut its teeth on the drum break in “Apache.” So did Lemmy Kilmister, who began his life on stage doing Shadows covers. If you see him at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, and want to drag him away from the video poker, pull his ear about Hank Marvin.