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The Shadows

1 of 9 portraits of Bruce Welch

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Angus McBean Photograph. © Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

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The Shadows

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1961
11 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in. (291 mm x 241 mm)
Purchased, 2001
Primary Collection
NPG P912

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Angus McBean (1904-1990), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 276 portraits, Sitter in 79 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In foreground: Cliff Richard (b.1940), (Singer)
Left to right: Bruce Welch (b.1941) (Guitarist), Tony Meehan (b.1943), (Drummer), Jet Harris (b.1939), (Bassist), and Hank Marvin (b. 1941), (Guitarist).
The Shadows are one of Britain's most successful instrumental group. Their first Number One hit was Apache (July 1960), and they continued to create hits for over 20 years. Their stage and music act made them one of the worlds most imitated and influential groups before the Beatles. Alongside their releases with Richard contributing to 35 of his hits, the group had a number of independent hits. This portrait, taken for the back cover of their first album, is by the photographer Angus McBean who would two years later create the first Beatles album cover for Please, Please Me (1963), as well other iconic early Cliff Richard album covers.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Pepper, Terence, Angus McBean Portraits, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 July to 22 October 2006), p. 96 Read entry

    When McBean first started taking album-cover portraits for EMI in the late 1950s, the young Cliff Richard was breaking through as the British equivalent to Elvis. His backing group appears as the Drifters on the first EP and LP covers that McBean produced in 1959 and 1960. A name change to the Shadows became essential to avoid confusion with the Black American group. A number of sittings with Cliff produced four of his early LP record covers including Cliff and Cliff Sings (both 1959), Me and my Shadows (1960) and the more rarely seen 21 Today (1961). Cliff first visited McBean’s studio with his sister and signed the visitors' book between Flanders and Swann and Max Jaffa, with a gracious 'Thank you for putting "Stars" in my eyes, Cliff Richard.' The study of Cliff performing with the Shadows (left to right: Bruce Welch, Tony Meehan, Jet Harris and Hank Marvin) appeared on the reverse of their debut album The Shadows (1961).

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1961back to top

Current affairs

Peter Benenson's article The Forgotten Prisoners is published internationally, inspiring the founding of the human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
The philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell is imprisoned for inciting civil disobedience during a sit down demonstration at the Ministry of Defence and Hyde Park.
The farthing coin - used in Britain for the last 7 centuries - ceases to be legal tender.

Art and science

Rudolf Nureyev defects from the USSR fearing that the KGB would arrest him for being gay and for fraternising with foreigners. After seeking asylum in Paris he set up home in London at the Royal Ballet and began his famous partnership with Margot Fonteyn.
The satirical magazine, Private Eye is first published.


The East German government erects the Berlin Wall, ceasing free movement between East and West Berlin. The barrier prevented citizens of Soviet controlled East Germany from crossing the border into West Germany to work, or to defect.
Yuri Gagarin, the soviet cosmonaut, becomes the first man in space orbiting the earth on the 12th April.

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