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Introducing BRUCE WELCH
In September 1958 Bruce Welch and Hank B Marvin joined The Drifters to become Cliff Richard's brand new backing band. A four piece guitar and drums outfit that was to set the UK's ( and most of the world's) music scene alight for over 40 years. Because of issues over the American vocal group with the same name, it became apparent that the name of the group would have to be changed and so The Shadows were born; a name attributed to Jet Harris, the bass guitarist.The UK's most successful instrumental group ever.
As well as success with The Shadows,Bruce Welch also acted as producer for (among others) Cliff Richard and songwriter for his ex-fiancÃ©e, Olivia Newton-John. He also released a solo single "Please Mr Please", which was unfortunately not commercially successful, even though the song has been covered by several recording artists. Most notable being Olivia Newton-John, who would make it a success in the top 10 of the U.S. pop and country charts in 1975).
Bruce Welch wrote several #1 hit singles for Cliff and for The Shadows. Among songs written or co-written by Bruce Welch are The Shadows' hits "Foot Tapper" and "The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt", Marvin Welch & Farrar's "Faithful" and "My Hometown", and Cliff Richard hits ""Please Don't Tease", In the Country", "Summer Holiday", "I Love You" and "I Could Easily Fall (In Love With You)".
He was the musical consultant for the West End musical Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story.
Bruce still plays rhythm guitar and his group Bruce Welch's Shadows will be playing at Shadowmania again this year (2012) for the last time, fans of Bruce and The Shadows will have mixed feelings about this news.
Bruce was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music.
What Makes Bruce Welch A Great Musician
For forty years, missing only for a period in 1969, Bruce was the rhythm guitarist for The Shadows, aknowledged by many as a master of this genre. Many knowledgeable fans will insist that Bruce's excellent rhythm playing was just as important as Hank's distinctive lead guitar work in establishing the Shadows' unique (indeed legendary) position in the history of British Rock and Roll music. Bruce's singing voice was also a distinct asset to the vocal performances of Cliff and the Shadows.
Bruce's influence has been as more than just a performer. As well as being responsible as composer of many of Cliff and the Shadows early hits, it was Bruce who 'discovered' Olivia Newton-John, became her producer and penned her million-selling US No1 single 'Please Mr Please'. Incidentally, this song was released as a solo single by Bruce in 1974 backed by Song of Yesterday but was not a commercial success for him. However the B-side is one of my most favourite songs. I find it so emotional, why not listen to it in the You-Tube selection below.
When Cliff's career was faltering in the mid 70s, Bruce was largely responsible for re-launching it by producing his 'I'm Nearly Famous' album as well as some of his most successful singles 'We Don't Talk Anymore', 'Devil Woman' and 'Miss You Nights'.
Bruce's story has been told in his autobiography 'Rock 'n' Roll I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life' in 1989. Highly recommended to anyone who hasn't yet read it! If you can get hold a copy, they are very sought after by many fans.
Finally, it should be mentioned that Bruce was always considered to be the member of the band who was "sensible and organised". Undoubtedly, The Shadows were held together by the fact that they were all marvellous musicians but somehow one gets the feeling that Bruce's leadership had something to do with their success.
Bruce Welch Out Of The Shadows
Recent Gigs By Bruce
I have only just found out about an appearance by Bruce Welch in a tribute to Lonnie Donegan at the Albert Hall in 2004. There were some big names in this concert organised by Chris Barber, the Jazz musician, who was a great friend of Lonnie Donegan. According to the reports of the concert Bruce ( and friends) opened the second half of the show providing some great, authentic skiffle and rock and roll.
Bruce's first step into the music business was of course as a member of several skiffle groups, with Hank Marvin before he went on to gain fame as a member of The Shadows.
I am really sorry to have learnt that Bruce has decided that this will be the last of the Shadomania events due to health issues. Such a pity, the event will be missed by many fans.
Have You Heard Of Bruce Welch? - Does Bruce Welch Get Enough Attention?
Bruce was an integral member of The Shadows but Hank Marvin Seemed to get all the attention as the lead guitar player. Had you heard of Bruce Welch?
Is The name Bruce Welch familiar to you?
Interviews With Bruce Welch
There are many fans of The Shadows and the members such as Bruce Welch, who have collected TV apearances as well as their music and other memorabillia and are now posting these on Youtube. I will be collating some of these interviews featuring Bruce and Bruce and others.
Many of them offer the same information but are worth viewing to catch that little snippet of information. And they are always entertaining as Bruce is such a great entertainer. The interview by Rick Wakeman is recommended.
Want To Hear More Shadows Music
There are many Shadow's CD's and DVD's available for your delight, as a group they had a long and successful career. But be careful there are lots of inexpensive CD's available which contain similar selections of their biggest hit songs. Even in this selection there will be many tunes repeated. Unless you go for the original albums, this is an issue to beware of.
Bruce Welch Videos - From You Tube
Bruce only released one single during his musical career and no albums, His work has been in the musical director role and it is aknowledged that he helped Sir Cliff back to the top after his career went through a low patch. However Bruce is a prolific songwriter and of course a founder member of the Shadows and Marvin, Welch and Farrar. Enjoy this selection of videos from You Tube of his single , his music and work in the groups.
I have selected videos featuring songs which I believe show Bruce's master touch with the rhythm guitar and his singing voice. If you know of any better examples I would love to hear, please leave a message in the guest book below.
Bruce Welch In The News
Bruce and Marty Wilde To Unveil Plaque To Jet Harris
Jet Harris one of the founders of The Shadows, died recently. A National Heritage Foundation plaque is to be unveiled in memory of Jet on the site of his birthplace.
Bruce Welch and Marty Wilde will be performing the unveiling with members of Jet's family. The unveiling will be followed by a memorial lunch with several artists including a Shadows tribute group, The Shadowers with Alan Jones; also Zoe McCulloch who is well known as a guitar player (in the style of Hank Marvin) will be performing.
Let Us Hear Your Thoughts On Bruce Welch
Has this lens made you want to know and hear more?
I first met Bruce at a fan function in a hotel in London. It was a very fleeting meeting but I shook his hand and we passed a few comments, of course I was far to starstruck to say much that made any sense. he was after all one of my all-time heroes. I remember I thanked him for all his inspirational music. I afterwards found out that my wife who had been sitting in the foyer to the function room had spoken to him for ages. She had gone out to cool off and escape the noise, and he had gone up to her and said smiling, " Had enough already?". They chatted for a while before he came back into the main room. Which I think is when I collared him.
The second and only other time that I have "met" Bruce was at the first Shadowmania concert/meeting. Bruce sat at a table in front of the stage and second row back. I was actually in a seat on the front row. I was withinin nodding distance and we exchanged greetings. BUT being the sort of guy he is I am sure he does that with all his fans, wherever he sees them. Of course he did not recognise me, but it made me feel good.
My third "contact" with Bruce was at a distance. I could not get to the second Shadowmania event because of a medical problem, after I had booked my place very early again. I wrote to the venue asking if a refund was possible and they must have passed the letter on to Bruce (or his management company). I later received a very nice letter and a cheque for the refund signed by Bruce himself. I still have that cheque safely stored away.
So, do you have any stories to tell? Why not share them here?