Hank Marvin, the legendary guitarist and modern day icon, who has inspired generations and garnered critical acclaim throughout his career for his work with The Shadows and as a solo artist, releases a long-awaited new studio album on 2 June 2014. Simply titled HANK, the album will be released on the DMG TV label.
Featuring 14 tracks, HANK includes fresh interpretations of some of Marvin’s favourite summer-themed music, along with one new composition. It’s the first new release since 2007’s UK Top 10 Guitar Man, for the man whose legendary achievements were restated yet again in The Times in February 2014, when he was listed as Number 2, amongst the world’s greatest guitar players and The Shadows amongst the greatest groups!
It’s been 60 years since the man who introduced the Fender Stratocaster to the UK, picked up his first musical instrument. Marvin’s performances as a solo frontman and with The Shadows on their records and backing Cliff Richard have resulted in millions of worldwide record sales. The Shadows’ monumental chart debut with Apache in 1960 started an incredible run of 13 UK Top 10 hits for the group in just 4 years, during which time their unmistakeable style became a household sound around the world. Hank and The Shadows ruled the charts during the early 1960s and as a solo artist from the late 1970s to the present day Hank Marvin has sold in excess of 6 million albums.
HANK, recorded in Hank Marvin’s long-time home of Perth in Western Australia, includes 9 tracks arranged by Hank and his son Ben, with the remaining arrangements handled by Nunzio Modia, a classically trained pianist, arranger, accordionist and member of Marvin’s gypsy jazz quartet. The album also includes “subtle” backing vocals from his daughter Tahlia – “Keep it in the family. Keep them gainfully employed” says Hank with his trademark humour.
“These tunes all have some kind of connection with summer,” Hank explains. “The songs we’ve chosen are all very recognisable in the title, which is important on this kind of album, but they’re also vehicles which enable me to be creative, and still approach them in a way that people will know it’s me playing.”
Hank’s legions of fans will thrill to his new versions of such classics as Waterloo Sunset (“I was a big fan of the Kinks and Ray Davies’ writing, and this is a charming song”), California Girls (“I admired the Beach Boys very much, and we’ve been able to do a groovy version of this which I really like”) and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Daydream (“another song I’ve always enjoyed, almost like an old jazz tune, but an easy going, summery thing”).
“We’ve approached A Taste of Honey in a different way to either the Beatles’ or Herb Alpert’s version, but it’s got a lot of energy in it. Summer Of ’42 was a Michel Legrand composition, and this is quite a powerful ballad version of it which enables me to be quite expressive on the guitar.”
Other artists interpreted on HANK, include the Beatles’ Good Day Sunshine, Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine of My Life, Message in a Bottle (The Police), Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now and Eddie Cochran’s Sealed with a Kiss and Summertime Blues. “What we’ve tried with all these numbers is to do something a little different, but keeping the essence of the original” says Hank.
Remaining tracks on the album are the classic Harry Warren/Al Dublin song I Only Have Eyes For You, George Gershwin’s Summertime and the brand new Marvin composition Summer Guitar.
The release of HANK coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster that Marvin inspired a generation of guitarists to play, firstly in The Shadows, backing Cliff Richard and then from the moment they took the charts by storm with the timeless instrumental Apache.
“We didn’t realise the influence at the time, only much later on,” he says. “The amount of people that copied us, buying Strats to try to imitate the band, prompted many to turn to the Stratocaster as their guitar of choice. So we’re very happy that we had that kind of impact.”
Hank continues to be cited as a massive influence on the careers of countless guitar heroes who grew up in excited awe of his playing. “Hank had the first Fender Stratocaster that came into England and he made a great impression on me,” says Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton is equally appreciative. “When I was thrashing around on acoustic guitar,” he recalls, “there was someone who had already found and settled on a clear, pure sound, and that was Hank Marvin.”
Brian May remembers how, “in common with thousands of others, I started to learn Hank’s single note style. None of us ever quite got that great sound.” When Mark Knopfler was a kid, “all I wanted was a red electric guitar. It had to be red because of Hank and his magical sound.” In 1985 Mark Knopfler invited Hank to join Dire Straits for their series of sell-out concerts at Wembley Arena and in 1993 Hank and Mark recorded a version of Wonderful Land for charity – previously a number 1 hit single for Hank & The Shadows in 1962.
Legendary Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young, another Marvin devotee, acknowledged his appreciation when he composed and recorded his autobiographical song From Hank to Hendrix. Richard Hawley too fulfilled a childhood dream when he persuaded Hank to play guitar on his tribute song Absolutely Hank Marvin!
“I’m very flattered by it all,” says Marvin. “In the early days, we became aware that we were having an influence on our peers, or even younger, who wanted to learn to play the guitar. But later on, when you find out that these are important people in our business, that is obviously something special. Jeff Beck said to me about 18 months ago, ‘Hank, you’re 80% of the reason I’m playing guitar!”
Hank Marvin has also become a part of the Cockney Rhyming Slang lexicon through Matteson’s multi-million pound Hank Marvin Fridge Raiders campaign which centres on the strapline “for when you’re Hank Marvin” the rhyming slang for starving!
Now another exciting new chapter is about to open in the story of Britain’s greatest guitar hero.