Bass player gave name to the Shadows

JET Harris was famed for the string of chart hits he achieved with The Shadows and as a solo star in the early Sixties.

The bass player, 71, performed on tracks such as Apache and during their days as Cliff Richard’s backing band, on the chart-topping single Living Doll.

He even gave the pioneering guitar act - famed for the distinctive twangy Stratocaster riffs of guitarist Hank Marvin - their name.

Born Terence Harris in Kingsbury, north London, he earned his nickname thanks to his speed as a runner.

Having left school to work as an apprentice welder making milk churns, he became a proficient, self-taught electric bass player and played with a string of skiffle acts, as well as becoming a fixture in the cool scene at the infamous 2Is coffee bar in Old Compton Street in London’s Soho.


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He established a friendship with Sir Cliff and was invited to join his backing band The Drifters - soon to become The Shadows at Harris’s suggestion.

Harris played on a number of hits with the singer, also including High Class Baby.

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The singer also proved to be the source of personal heartache when Sir Cliff had an affair with his wife Carol Costa.

“I pretty much knew something was going on between him and my wife, but I went on stage every night and stood there behind the man, looking at the back of his head, backing him up,” he recalled in an interview.

“I never once rocked the boat, asked questions, made things difficult. He was my boss. I wanted my job.’’

The Shadows had many hits in their own right, including instrumental classics Apache and Man Of Mystery.

In 1962 Harris left the band and had solo hits with Besame Mucho and The Man With The Golden Arm and the following year teamed up with another Shadows bandmate, Tony Meehan, to have a six-week spell at the top of the charts with Diamonds.

He suffered serious head injuries in a car crash in 1963, but fought back to record again and within months was recording again and performing at the NME Pollwinners Concert.

Harris went on to have a brief stint in the Jeff Beck Group, until Ronnie Wood took a more permanent role on bass.

By the 1970s he had effectively left the music business and became a professional photographer, although he returned to the heritage circuit with a number of bands including The Rapiers, as well as regular appearances alongside Marvin for Shadowmania shows.

In recent years Harris had released a new album in his own right, The Journey, which came out in December 2007.

The musician, who had been a heavy drinker for many years, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

He was awarded an MBE at the tail end of 2009, collecting it from Buckingham Palace the following year.

In 2010, he was given a special award by guitar manufacturer Fender for helping to popularise the electric bass through his work in The Shadows.

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