Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Strand of Sand: The Shadows: "Atlantis"

This somehow reminds me of the last weekend before it's too cold to go to the beach; to sit and picnic; to happily just gad about, getting lost and then finding your way. It reminds me of these things because, as big as The Shadows were, the tide (so to speak) was turning against them. They had lost Meehan and Harris (replaced by Brian Bennett and Brian "Licorice" Locking, both from Marty Wilde's band) and thus had also lost some of the energy that made them so popular in the first place. "Atlantis" is a sprightly song that sounds almost ready-made for Winnipeg boys Young and Bachman to practice for hours on end, not to mention many others, but it is also a bit too polite, even as a song about a long-lost probably (how can anyone know?) mythical water kingdom can be.

The whole thing sounds unreal, Marvin's guitar as liquid as can be, the soothing strings a song that doesn't even sound like the 60s, or at least my understanding of the 60s; I don't know if The Shadows were at all envious, say, of the Surfaris (about to have a hit with this) or The Chantays (who had just had a hit as well). It could simply be that the saltwater-in-your-face abandon of The Surfaris or the hang-ten cool of The Chantays were simply beyond the experience of The Shadows; or perhaps it just wasn't their style, or that they were produced by Norrie Paramor, not a man given to adventure as much as George Martin or Joe Meek (how would they have sounded produced by either of these men I leave up to you). The neatness and tidiness that served them well as it could in the late 50s/early 60s was beginning to be beside the point; of course they still had hits after this (and remain popular to this day - witness their successful tour with Cliff a while back). But it is poignant that I get to them when they are still popular but are about to be eclipsed by many groups who were inspired by them, from The Beatles on down. I can only salute them as pioneers, once and future kings of British rock, imitated and copied but never really duplicated.

No comments: