Wonderful Land

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"Wonderful Land"
Single by The Shadows
B-side "Stars Fell on Stockton" (Welch-Harris-Marvin-Bennett)
Released February 1962 (1962-02)
Genre Instrumental
Length 2:08
Label Columbia Graphophone Company DB 4790[1]
Writer(s) Jerry Lordan[1]
Producer(s) Norrie Paramor[1]
The Shadows singles chronology
"The Savage"
(1961)
"Wonderful Land"
(1962)
"Guitar Tango"
(1962)

"Wonderful Land" is an instrumental piece written by Jerry Lordan recorded and released as a single by The Shadows in 1962. It stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks in the UK Singles Chart;[2] more weeks than any other single during the whole of the 1960s.

Lordan had previously written the hugely successful Apache (instrumental) for The Shadows in 1960, and it was recorded in May 1961 by The Shadows' original line up of Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. The strings were added later by producer Norrie Paramor. By the time of the song's release, Tony Meehan had left the group to be replaced by Brian Bennett who co-wrote the B-side "Stars Fell on Stockton". The group was in a period of transition and whilst the song was at No. 1 Jet Harris left to be replaced by Brian Locking.[1]

Charts[edit]

The instrumental was released in February 1962 and reached number 1 in the UK Chart where it remained for the next 8 weeks.[1] a feat only The Shadows & Elvis Presley managed in the whole of the 60's - including all the number one singles released by The Beatles.[3] It was also released in the U.S. on the Atlantic Records label but did not reach the Billboard Top 100.

Chart
(1962)
Position
UK Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1

Cover versions[edit]

"Wonderful Land" has been covered by a number of artists including Mike Oldfield, Mark Knopfler and Tony Iommi. Iommi's version appears on Twang! - A Tribute to Hank Marvin & The Shadows.

Mike Oldfield version[edit]

"Wonderful Land"
Single by Mike Oldfield
from the album QE2
B-side "Sheba"
Released 28 November 1980 (1980-11-28)
Recorded Denham, 1980
Label Virgin Records
Producer(s) Mike Oldfield
David Hentschel
Mike Oldfield singles chronology
"Arrival"
(1980)
"Wonderful Land"
(1980)
"The Singles"
(1981)

English musician Mike Oldfield covered "Wonderful Land" on his 1980 Virgin Records album, QE2. Oldfield's version was also released as a single and as the B-side for his "Sheba" single; in some countries, "Wonderful Land" was the A-side. The Shadows later covered one of Oldfield's songs, "Moonlight Shadow".

The video for "Wonderful Land" again shows Oldfield playing various instruments, including a violin, which he has claimed not to be able to play very well.[4] The video is available on the Elements - The Best of Mike Oldfield video.

Hank Marvin and Mark Knopfler version[edit]

Two guitarists, Hank Marvin (of The Shadows) and Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) recorded a version of "Wonderful Land" on the 1993 album Heartbeat, produced by Jeff Lynne.

Preceded by
"Rock-A-Hula Baby" b/w "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley
UK number one single by The Shadows
22 March 1962 (for 8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Nut Rocker" by B. Bumble and the Stingers

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 64–5. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 135–6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Number 1 Singles of the 1960s". EveryHit. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  4. ^ "I don't know whether I'll do something musically incredible in the next years". Quico Balay - La Voz de Galicia (Tubular.net). 2005-09-30. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 

External links[edit]