The romance of Apache: RIP Jet Harris

I’ve always loved The Shadows, and when important figures in music die amidst major world events, I feel sad that their contribution gets overlooked. Jet Harris, apparently one of the first people to play electric bass guitar in Britain, as a member of the ground breaking Shadows, died on Friday.

Apache captures all the romance and excitement of Britain’s postwar love of Americana and Westerns. When I was choosing music for  a film about the end of the cross Channel Hovercraft run (started in 1959) it was Apache that I wanted to capture the excitement of the New Elizabethan Age of British technological innovation. And Simon Napier Bell’s first hand history of late 50s/ early 60s British pop, Black Vinyl, White Powder, rightly acknowledges Jet’s and the Shadows’ too often overlooked importance in forging a new kind of British music and paving the way for those who came after. Jet took an interesting career path after leaving The Shadows quite early in their history, too. I don’t really need to explain. This isn’t an obituary or a piece of journalistic comment. And special thanks to Bernard O’Hara in Belfast (@berniegriff) who found me this 1960 clip, featuring Jet on bass — especially at the end. I just wanted to say, watch this and enjoy.

About samiraahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
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