Brian Bennett

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This article is about the musician. For other uses, see Brian Bennett (disambiguation).
Brian Bennett
Birth name Brian Laurence Bennett
Also known as James Aldenham
Born (1940-02-09) 9 February 1940 (age 77)
Origin Palmers Green, North London, England, UK
Genres Rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, music director
Instruments Drums, piano
Years active 1956–present
Associated acts Marty Wilde's Wildcats
The Shadows
Cliff Richard
Notable instruments
Drums, Percussion
Brian Bennett, Bruce Welch and Warren Bennett at a concert in Brussels in 2005

Brian Laurence Bennett OBE (born 9 February 1940 in Palmers Green, North London, England) is an English drummer, pianist, composer, arranger and record producer of popular music. He is best known as the drummer of the UK rock and roll group, The Shadows. He is father of musician and Shadows band member Warren Bennett.[1]


Educated at Hazlewood Lane School, Palmers Green, London and Winchmore Council School, he finished school at the age of sixteen to play drums in a Ramsgate skiffle group performing for holiday makers. After returning to London he became the in-house drummer at The 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho and was a regular performer on Jack Good's TV show Oh Boy!

He then became a member of Marty Wilde's Wildcats in 1959. After a successful period with the Wildcats, during which he appeared on their instrumental record without Wilde (recorded as the Krew Kats), "Trambone", he backed Tommy Steele for some of his London stage performances, and then in October 1961 he joined Cliff Richard and The Shadows as the replacement for Tony Meehan.

In 1967, Bennett released a solo album of jazz music, entitled Change of Direction, in mono and stereo (neither charted). This was the first solo album by a member of The Shadows.[citation needed] In the 1970s, music by Bennett was selected for several Radley Metzger films, including Barbara Broadcast and The Opening of Misty Beethoven.

He stayed with the group throughout all of their subsequent line-ups, and in May 2005 took part in The Shadows' European tour. During a show in Reykjavík, Iceland he sustained what was thought to be a minor injury to a finger. A splinter from a drumstick pierced under his fingernail on his right hand, he removed it with a pair of old pliers and applied a plaster. A few days later after arriving in Paris, France he was in so much pain he called a doctor. The doctor diagnosed a bad infection and recommended Bennett go to hospital immediately. Thinking it would be a short visit he attended only to find out that it would involve a minor, but very painful, operation to remove the poison. He was due to be playing on stage that evening and had already missed the soundcheck. He arrived at the theatre 15 minutes before the show with his right-hand bandaged and still numb from the anaesthetic. He managed to play for the whole show using an altered playing style.[2]

In addition to his work with the Shadows he has also appeared in Cliff Richard's backing band and plays piano and occasionally vibraphone.

He has composed many popular TV theme tunes including BBC sports themes such as Rugby Special ("Holy Mackerel") and BBC Golf ("Chase Side Shoot Up"), the sitcoms Robin's Nest and Birds of a Feather, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Pulaski, Close to Home, Murder in Mind and, with his son Warren, composed and played the incidental music in New Tricks. Two of his most famous works were "The Journey" and "Just a Minute" written under the alias James Aldenham and used for the ITV Schools on 4 broadcasts between 1987–1993. He scored the British-German film The Harpist in 1999.

He is also an orchestral conductor, having learned how to arrange and conduct music for orchestras from a correspondence course. His son Warren Bennett formerly played keyboards for the band Glass Ties, and is also a composer and producer.


He was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music.

Bennett runs a home recording studio, Honeyhill studios, in Radlett, Hertfordshire. In November 2009, at the age of 69, Bennett completed a 50th Anniversary reunion world tour with Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

Early career groups (pre-The Shadows)[edit]

  • The Esquires Dance Band (1952)
  • Hazlewood Land Youth club (1952–1953)
  • Tony Brian Trio (1954)
    • Tony Brian – guitar
    • Mrs Brian – piano
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • An unnamed skiffle group (1956)
    • Eric Milton
    • Michael Milton
    • Steve Murray
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • The Velvets (1956)
    • Eric Milton
    • Michael Milton
    • Errol Hollis
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • Vince Taylor & The Playboys (1958)
    • Vince Taylor – vocals
    • Jim Sullivan – guitar
    • Tony Sheridan – guitar
    • Brian 'Licorice' Locking – bass
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • Janice Peter & The Playboys (1958)
    • Janice Peters – vocals
    • Jim Sullivan – guitar
    • Tony Sheridan – guitar
    • Brian 'Licorice' Locking – bass
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • Marty Wilde's Wildcats (1959)
    • Jim Sullivan – guitar
    • Tony Belcher – guitar
    • Brian 'Licorice' Locking – bass
    • Brian Bennett – drums
  • The Krew Kats (1961)
    • Jim Sullivan – guitar
    • Tony Belcher – guitar
    • Brian 'Licorice' Locking – bass
    • Brian Bennett – drums



  • Brian Bennett – Change of Direction – LP/CD – Columbia/see4Miles
  • Brian Bennett – Illustrated London Noise – LP/CD – Columbia/see4Miles
  • Collage – Misty – - LP/CD – DJM/see4Miles.
  • Brian Bennett Band – Rock Dreams – LP/CD – DJM/see4Miles.
  • Brian Bennett Band – Voyage – LP/CD – DJM/see4Miles.
  • Heat Exchange – One step ahead – LP/CD – EMI/see4Miles.
  • Ruth Rendell Mysteries – LP/CD.
  • Ruth Rendell Mysteries (volume.2) – LP/CD.
  • Ruth Rendell Mysteries (Wexford) – LP/CD.
  • Drumtrax (house library. ) – CD.
  • Nomads of the wind – CD.
  • Global sunrise – CD.
  • The Works – (Box set of 4CDs).
  • Greatest Guitar hits (volume 1) – CD.
  • Greatest Guitar hits (volume 2) – CD.
  • Living Britain – CD.
  • Official Bootleg album – CD.
  • Canvas/Slippery Jim De Grize – 7" – DB 8294 – Columbia.
  • Ridin The Gravy Train/Bubble Drum (Thunder company) – 7" – DB 8706
  • Chase side shoot up/Pegasus – 7" – 6007040
  • Thunderbolt/Clearing skies – 7" – DJS10714
  • Saturday night special/Farewell to a friend – 7" – DJS10756
  • Girls back home/Jonty Jump – 7" – DJS10791
  • Pendulum force/Ocean Glide – 7" – DJS10843
  • Top of the world/ Soul Ice – 7" – DJM10981
  • Shake down/Your gonna love this – 7" – EMI 2988
  • Shake down/Your Gonna Love this – 12" – 12EMI2988

Music labels (non-commercial)[edit]

  • Themes Records – LP
  • KPM – solo & w/others – LP
  • Bruton – solo & w/others – LP/CD
  • Music House – solo & w/others – CD
  • Reliable Source Music – CD

Production credits[edit]

  • Dennis WatermanDownwind of Angels – LP – DJF 204830 – DJM – 1976
  • Dennis Waterman – Dennis Waterman – LP – DJF 20513 – DJM – 1977
  • Demis RoussosThe Demis Roussos Magic – (CD) – BX 523-2
  • Drake - "Summer Sixteen" – 2016


  1. The Story of the Shadows by Mike Read. 1983. Elm Tree books. ISBN 0-241-10861-6
  2. Rock 'n' Roll, I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life—A Life In The Shadows by Bruce Welch. ISBN 0-670-82705-3 (Penguin Books)
  3. That Sound (From Move It on, the story of the magic sound of The Shadows), by R.Pistolesi, M. Addey & M.Mazzini. Publ: Vanni Lisanti. June 2000.
  4. A pocket guide to Shadow music, by M.Campbell, R.Bradford, L.Woosey. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-4-3
  5. A guide to The Shadows and Hank Marvin on CD, by M. Cambell & L.Woosey. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-3-5
  6. The Shadows at Polydor, by M.Campbell. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-2-7
  7. The Shadows at EMI, by M.Campbell. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-1-9
  8. The Complete Rock Family Rock Trees, by Pete Frame. Omnibus. ISBN 0-7119-6879-9
  9. 17 Watts, by Mo Foster.
  10. The Shadows Discography, by John Friesen.
  11. The Shadows Discography, by George Geddes.
  12. Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums (19th Edn), David Roberts. ISBN 1-904994-10-5
  13. The Complete Book of the British Charts Singles and Albums, by Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner & Tony Brown, 3rd Edn. ISBN 978-1-84449-058-5
Sheet Music (Book Albums)

All the hit (& misses) singles e.g. 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.

  • A1. The Album of Guitar Favourities, 1961, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A2. The 2nd Album of Guitar Favourities, 1961, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A3. The 3rd Album of Guitar Favourities, 1962, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A4. The 4th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A5. The 5th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A6. The 6th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1965, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A7. The 7th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1966, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A8. The 8th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1966, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A9. The 9th Album of Guitar Favourities, 1967, The Shadows Music Ltd/Carlin Music Ltd.
  • A10. The Shadows Album of Rhythm & Greens, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Music Ltd.
  • A11. The Shadows Modern Electric Guitar Tutor, 196?, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd.
  • A12. The Shadows Guitar Book, 1964, Francis, Day & Hunter.
  • A13. The Shadows Then and Now, 1981, EMI Music Publishing.
  • A14. The Big Hits of The Shadows, 19??, Wise Publications, ISBN 0-7119-0815-X
  • A15. The Shadows, Guitar Legends Tab, 19??, Faber Music, ISBN 978-0-571-52585-0
  • A16. Hits of The Shadows. Off the record., 1992, IMP,
  • A17. Frank Ifield Album, 196?, Shadows Music/Belinda
  • A18. The Mersey Beat, 196?, Shadows music/Belinda
  • B1. Cliff and the Shadows Album, 196?, B. Feldman & co ltd
  • B2. The Young Ones & Summer Holiday 1963, Elstree Music ltd
  • B3. Finders Keepers, 1966, Carlin Music
  • B4. Aladdin—Guitar album, 1964, Shadows Music/Belinda
  • B5. Aladdin—Vocal album, 1964, Shadows Music/Belinda
  • B6. Established 1958, 1968, Shadows Music/Carlin Music
  • E1. Brian Bennett's Drum Tutor, 196?
  • E2. Guide to Teen-Beat Drumming, 1964, the Shadows Music Ltd & Belinda London Ltd.


  1. ^ "Brian Bennett Allmusic Page". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Diary of a Drummer". Retrieved 30 January 2008. 

External links[edit]