|Hank B. Marvin|
Hank B. Marvin live on stage 22 April 2005 in Esbjerg, Denmark
|Also known as||Brian Robson Rankin|
|Born||28 October 1941
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Instruments||Guitar, banjo, piano|
|Years active||1956 - present|
|Associated acts||The Shadows, Cliff Richard|
|Hank Marvin Signature Stratocaster
Burns "The Marvin" and the "Shadows Custom Elite Guitar"
Hank Brian Marvin (born Brian Robson Rankin on 28 October 1941) (at 138 Stanhope Street, Newcastle) is an English guitarist, best known as the lead guitarist for The Shadows. The group, which primarily performed instrumentals, was formed as a backing band for vocalist Cliff Richard. Marvin has a distinctive guitar sound and appearance, primarily using a clean sound with very distinctive echo and vibrato giving a dreamy effect. He was and is a great influence towards many musicians such as guitarists Mark Knopfler and Pete Townshend, and his excellent guitar work is of extreme importance in the development of British (and European/Australian/New Zealand/South African) rock/pop music.
His name, Hank Marvin, is an amalgamation of his childhood nickname of Hank (to differentiate himself from a number of friends also named Brian) and Marvin Rainwater, a country and western singer. (reference)
Marvin was born in North Shields near Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England. As a child, he played the banjo and the piano. Hearing one of Buddy Holly's songs made him switch to the guitar, although he occasionally played both instruments on recordings. At 16, he travelled with his Rutherford Grammar School friend Bruce Welch to London, where he met Johnny Foster, Cliff Richard's manager, at The 2i's Coffee Bar ("two eyes") in Soho.
Foster was looking for a guitarist for Richard's upcoming tour of the U.K., and Marvin agreed to join as long as there was also a place for Welch. Foster had actually been looking for guitarist Tony Sheridan at the Two 2i's, but by chance he encountered Marvin. Marvin and Welch joined the Drifters, as Cliff Richard's group was then known, and began their careers as professional guitar players.
They met Cliff Richard for the first time at a nearby Soho tailor's shop, where Richard was having a fitting for a pink stage jacket, and had their first rehearsal with him at his parents' home in Cheshunt.
Hank Marvin played and owned the first Fender Stratocaster in the UK, serial number 34346, finished in Fiesta Red, with gold hardware. This guitar, with its tremolo arm, contributed to the Shadows' sound. The guitar was imported from America by Cliff Richard.
Marvin's original sound was achieved with a Stratocaster, a Vox amplifier (AC15 and AC30 models) and a tape echo machine Meazzi Echomatic that was shown to him by Joe Brown (of Joe Brown and the Bruvvers fame) as Joe was asked to try it, but couldn't get on with it. He later used a Vox-badged Meazzi, then a Binson Echorec (Drum)Echo Machine and finally another tape-loop machine, the Roland 301 Space Echo, before moving on to electronic units like the Alesis Quadraverb. Many aficionados now use similar units programmed by Charlie Hall with his "Echoes from the Past", authorised emulations of the original sounds. Marvin currently uses the analogue TVS3 echo which was developed by technicians, in particular Paul Rossiter, and musicians in Australia in an attempt to replicate the sounds of the original drum echo machines used on the early Shadows records, and preferred by Marvin.
In 1959 Marvin and Richard searched through a Fender catalogue to find the model of guitar played by James Burton, Ricky Nelson's lead guitarist. They assumed it must be a Stratocaster because the most expensive guitar in the brochure was a gold-plated example with a red body and a one-piece Maple neck. Burton, however, played the Telecaster, and the Stratocaster was a relatively new model, available only to special order. Cliff Richard made the arrangements and the chosen guitar was imported specially for Marvin, who used it between 1959 and 1961. It remained Cliff's property and was returned to him when Jennings Musical Industries (the makers of Vox amplifiers and the importers of Fender guitars) outfitted the whole group with matching Fiesta Red Fender guitars which featured necks with rosewood fingerboards. However, Marvin continued borrowing the original Stratocaster for recording whilst the new Stratocasters were used mostly for stage work. The 1959 instrument is now owned by Bruce Welch - a gift from Cliff Richard in the 1970s for his production work on Cliff's hit albums 'I'm Nearly Famous' and 'Every Face Tells A Story'. Cliff had the guitar sprayed white before giving it to Welch, who had it sprayed Red to match a 1958 Stratocaster purchased in Paris by Hank Marvin whilst on tour, both of which actions partly erased the physical signs of its history on this guitar. It must still, however, be one of the most valuable guitars in the world! Another twist to the story was added in Alan Yentob's 2008 BBC TV series on the history of guitars when Hank Marvin said that Cliff Richard told him he had merely lent the Fender to Bruce Welch who didn't give it back. That same anecdotal remark was made in jest by Cliff Richard in an interview in UK Guitarist Magazine, and then retracted in the following issue as the guitar really was given to Bruce Welch. In 2009 to mark the The Shadows 50th anniversary and "34346" that original Stratocaster is being reproduced in detail by Fender's Custom Shop in California. Built by Fender Master Luthier Greg Fessler, the run is limited to 50 pieces and has been produced within Fender's Dealer Select program. The guitar is a faithful reproduction of the original down to the mythical colour which Hank and Bruce always called Flamingo Pink. This colour is also referred to by Dire Straits Guitarist Mark Knoppfler in Alan Yentob's BBC TV series. Fender who have always denied the existence of that colour are true to form calling it "Custom Red". Each one of the limited edition includes a certificate of authenticity from Fender stating that the instrument is a reproduction of "The first Stratocaster to be imported into the UK" signed by the Master Builder, there is also a signed certificate of endorsement from Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch.
In the early 1960s Jennings named a range of guitar accessories (including plectra, a guitar strap and a Bigsby-styled tremolo unit) after Marvin. They used the Hank Marvin signature tremolo unit on several of their own Vox guitars. More significantly, Marvin also worked with Jim Burns (head of the Burns London guitar company) to develop his own signature model: the "Burns Marvin". The "Marvin" appeared in 1964 and a 12-string version called the Double Six appeared a little earlier. The Burns London company was taken over by the American piano-maker, Baldwin, in 1967, and partly as a result of that, the fewer-than-400 original Burns-made Marvins are now sought after. More recently, the revived Burns company made a limited reissue of 2004 signature Marvin guitars with a certificate of authenticity, signed by Marvin. Those instruments were promoted on the Shadows' 2004 Final Tour. Marvin's original Burns guitars had been stolen in 1972 and never appeared again.
Marvin influenced many later guitarists, and Pete Townshend, Mark Knopfler and John Fogerty are among many who acknowledge his influence. Although neither Marvin nor the Shadows were ever well known in the United States, despite several appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, Marvin is listed by Frank Zappa as an influence on the first Mothers of Invention album, and Afrikaa Bambaataa cited the group's first UK number one single "Apache" as a big influence, though it is likely that Bambaattaa was referring to the cover of Apache by The Incredible Bongo Band (which was massively popular amongst early hip hop DJs due to the extended bongo break).
In Canada, Cliff Richard and the Shadows met with success, especially 1961-1965 when they enjoyed several top 10 hits. Canadian guitarists Randy Bachman and Neil Young have credited Marvin's guitar work as being influences. Carlos Santana's nickname in his formative years was Apache because it was one of the earliest pieces he learned to play.
As well as playing with The Shadows, Hank has had a successful solo career. He has been willing to experiment with styles and material, doing some purely instrumental albums, some with only vocals (e.g. "All Alone With Friends"), one with only acoustic guitars and one with a guitar orchestra ("The Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate"). In 1970 Marvin and Welch formed Marvin, Welch & Farrar, a vocal harmony trio which failed to appeal to many Shadows fans or to contemporary music fans. They reverted to being The Shadows in 1973 for the Rockin' with Curly Leads album.
As a writer Marvin was solely responsible for "Driftin'" "Geronimo" "Spider Juice" (his daughter's name for orange juice) and "I want you to Want Me" for The Shadows and "The Day I Met Marie", and as co-writer with Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett and John Rostill he wrote other hits mainly for Cliff Richard such as on "I Could Easily Fall in Love with You" and "In the Country".
In 1988 Marvin collaborated with French keyboardist and composer Jean Michel Jarre on the track "London Kid", which appeared on Jarre's "Revolutions" album and taking a guest role in the Frenchman's giant Destination Docklands concert at the Royal Victoria Dock. Jarre stated that the Shadows' success had a huge influence on him and his decision to devote the majority of his career to instrumental music.
Marvin and the Shadows reformed for a 2004 Final Tour, which was so successful that a 2005 European tour was also organised.
He was offered an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music, but declined this, citing 'personal reasons', while awards were given to his Shadows colleagues Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett.
In 2007, Marvin duetted with French guitarist Jean-Pierre Danel on his Top 10 hit album "Guitar Connection 2" for a new version of the Shadows' standard "Nivram". The single hit the French charts at #15.
Hank Marvin's name is also used in cockney slang to signify hunger: 'I am Hank!' ie 'I am Hank (Marvin)' - ie 'I am starvin.
In addition to the above, Marvin also plays guitar on the following tracks of library music recorded for Bruton Music:
'Fighter Plane' (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Top Of The Range
'Conquest of Space' (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Grandiose Impressive Panoramic
'Human Desert' (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Human Desert
(V) - Vocal
|Year||A-side||B-side||UK Singles Chart|
Columbia DB 8326
|London's Not Too Far (V)||Running Out Of World (V)||
Columbia DB 8552
Columbia DB 8601
|Sunday For Seven Days||Sacha*||
(Cliff and Hank)
Columbia DB 8615
|Throw Down A Line (V)||Reflections||
Columbia DB 8628
|Slaughter on 10th Avenue||Midnight Cowboy|
(Cliff and Hank)
Columbia DB 8657
|The Joy Of Living (V)||Leave My Woman Alone (V)
(Unreleased, promo only)
|Break Another Dawn||Would You Believe It** (V)|
Columbia DB 8693
|Break Another Dawn||Morning Star|
(Australia and New Zealand only)
|Morning Star||Evening Comes***|
(Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate)
|1981 (New Zealand only)
Hank Marvin EP
Sunday For Seven Days
|Don't Talk (V)||Life Line (V)||
|The Trouble With Me Is You (remix) (V)||Captain Zlogg|
|The Hawk and the Dove (V)||Janine|
|Invisible Man (V)||All Alone With Friends|
(Cliff Richard and The Young Ones featuring Hank B. Marvin)
(Jean-Michel Jarre featuring Hank Marvin)
Polydor PO 229
|We Are The Champions (with Brian May)||Moontalk / Into The Light (CD)||
|Wonderful Land (with Mark Knopfler)||Hot Rox (CD) / Nivram|
When not relaxing at his home in Perth, Marvin runs a successful recording studio: Nivram studios (part of Sh-Boom studios in Tiverton street owned by Trevor Spencer and Gary Taylor) where he is happy to receive correspondence from die-hard Shadows fans.
All the hit (& misses) singles eg Apache (et al.) were published as individual (2xA4 page) music sheets during the release of the single until the late 1970s when publishers switched to books featuring multiple hits.