Hank Marvin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hank Marvin
Marvin in 2009
Marvin in 2009
Background information
Birth nameBrian Robson Rankin
Born (1941-10-28) 28 October 1941 (age 81)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
GenresBeat, instrumental rock, rock & roll
  • Musician
  • vocalist
  • songwriter
Years active1958–present

Hank Brian Marvin (born Brian Robson Rankin,[1] 28 October 1941)[2] is an English multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter. He is widely known as the lead guitarist for the Shadows, a group which primarily performed instrumentals and was the backing band for Cliff Richard, and subsequently for Marvin, Welch & Farrar.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Hank Marvin was born Brian Robson Rankin in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. As a child he played banjo and piano. After hearing Buddy Holly he decided to learn the guitar and also adopted Holly-style dark-rimmed glasses.[2]

He chose his stage name while launching his career. It is an amalgamation of his childhood nickname, Hank, which he used to differentiate himself from friends also named Brian, and the first name of Marvin Rainwater, the country and rockabilly singer.

He moved to London in April 1958 after persuading his parents to let him do so in pursuit of a career in the music business.[3] Sixteen-year-old Marvin and his Rutherford Grammar School friend, Bruce Welch, met Johnny Foster, Cliff Richard's manager, at The 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho, London. Foster was looking for a guitarist for Cliff Richard's UK tour and was considering Tony Sheridan. Instead he offered Marvin the position. Marvin agreed to join the Drifters, as Cliff Richard's group was then known, provided there was a place for Welch.

Marvin met Richard for the first time at a nearby Soho tailor's shop,[4] where Richard was having a fitting for a pink stage jacket. The Drifters had their first rehearsal with Richard at the Webb family home (Cliff's parents) in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. After a threat of legal action by representatives of the American band of the same name, the Drifters became The Shadows in 1959.

Solo career[edit]

Hank Marvin in 2007
Sculpture of Hank Marvin by artist Victor Heyfron M.A. 1964

His first critically lauded, self-titled solo album of instrumentals, which featured guitar set to orchestrated backing, was released in 1969, following the first disbanding of the Shadows, in late 1968. The single "Sacha" topped the singles chart in New South Wales, Australia, having been 'discovered' by two DJs at 2WG Wagga Wagga.[5] Marvin's solo career was then suspended due to Shadows reunions, first for a Far East tour and 'live' album in 1969, then a studio album in 1970 (Shades of Rock) and again in the early 1970s.[citation needed] He has experimented with styles and material, doing instrumental albums, some with mostly vocals (e.g. Words and Music, All Alone With Friends), one with only acoustic guitars and one with a guitar orchestra (The Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate).[citation needed]

In 1970, Marvin and Welch formed Marvin, Welch & Farrar, a vocal-harmony trio which failed to appeal to Shadows fans or to contemporary music fans.[citation needed] They became 'Marvin & Farrar' for a vocal album in 1973 and then reverted to the Shadows in late 1973, for the instrumental Rockin' with Curly Leads album. The Shadows came second for the United Kingdom in the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest with "Let Me Be the One".[citation needed]

Marvin wrote "Driftin'", "Geronimo", "Spider Juice" (his daughter's name for orange juice), "I Want You to Want Me" for the Shadows, and "The Day I Met Marie".[citation needed] He co-wrote Richard's 1961 hit; "Gee Whizz It's You" with Ian Samwell. With Welch, Brian Bennett, and John Rostill, he wrote hits for Cliff Richard, including; "On the Beach", "I Could Easily Fall in Love with You", "Time Drags By", and "In the Country".[citation needed]

In 1969 and 1970, he teamed with Richard for: two 'Cliff & Hank' hit singles, his own song; "Throw Down a Line" (also recorded by Marvin, Welch & Farrar), and "The Joy of Living", while Richard also had a hit with his ecology song, "Silvery Rain".[citation needed] "Silvery Rain" was covered by Olivia Newton-John on her 1981 album Physical.

In 1977, Marvin played lead guitar on Roger Daltrey's third solo album, One of the Boys, on the tracks Parade and Leon.[citation needed] He co-wrote Olivia Newton-John's 1977 hit 'Sam' with John Farrar and Don Black, and produced albums for the British showman Des O'Connor.[citation needed]

In 1988, Marvin collaborated with French keyboardist and composer Jean Michel Jarre on the track "London Kid", on Jarre's Revolutions album and was a guest in Jarre's Destination Docklands concert at London's Royal Victoria Dock. Jarre said the Shadows' success had influenced him and led to his decision to devote his career to instrumental music.[citation needed]

Marvin appeared with Leslie Nielsen in an advert for Red Rock Cider, which was done as a parody of Nielsen's Police Squad! films.[citation needed] In a bar scene, Nielsen calls out, "Hey, you over there, in the shadows!", after which Marvin steps forward. When Nielsen asks Marvin to "accompany" him (police talk for taking someone down to the station), Marvin literally accompanies him, on the guitar, as Nielsen sings the product's jingle.[citation needed]

In 1992, Duane Eddy guested on Marvin's album Into the Light on the track "Pipeline".[citation needed]

His 2002 solo tour of the United Kingdom was billed as the Guitar Player Tour (The Final Tour). Marvin and the Shadows reformed for a 2004 Final Tour, and a 2005 European tour was also undertaken. Cliff Richard and the Shadows performed the final tour dates in 2009 and 2010.

Marvin dueted twice with French guitarist Jean-Pierre Danel – on his 2007 and 2010 albums, both top-ten hits and certified gold. Their two singles hit the iTunes charts in France, Norway, Finland and Germany, and later (when released as an EP from Danel's compilation The Hit List) in Ireland, United Kingdom, Poland, United States, South Africa and Thailand. Marvin also participated on one of his DVDs and wrote the foreword for Danel's book about the Fender Stratocaster.[citation needed]

While Welch and Bennett became the Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music, Marvin declined for "personal reasons".[6]

On 28 October 2009, Marvin was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award[7] in recognition of his unique contribution to music.

He has continued to release instrumental solo albums, all of which have reached the UK Top 10 album charts since 2002. His latest solo album, Without a Word, was released in 2017.[8]

Personal life[edit]

His first wife was Beryl, with whom he had four children.[9] He is currently married to Carole, with whom he had two children.[10]

Since 1986, Marvin has lived in Perth, Western Australia. He has made impromptu appearances on stage when musician friends visit the area, such as in February 2013 when Cliff Richard held a concert at Sandalford Winery. He is a Jehovah's Witness.[11] Marvin runs a recording studio, Nivram studios, part of Sh-Boom studios in Tiverton Street, Perth, owned by Trevor Spencer and Gary Taylor. He has also developed a keen interest in the music of jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt and performs regularly with his group, "Hank Marvin's Gypsy Jazz", whose repertoire consists of a mix of Reinhardt originals and new tunes composed in the gypsy jazz genre.[citation needed]

Style and influence[edit]

According to Guitar.com, "In 1960 [Marvin] defined the role of 'lead guitarist'" and "became the first British 'guitar hero'". The website continued, "Hank is legendary for his expressive phrasing, but rather than use his Strat's controls to accentuate volume swells, he prefers to use a pedal to give that vocal quality to his lines."[12] Marvin influenced many British rock guitarists, including George Harrison,[13] Eric Clapton,[13] David Gilmour,[13] Brian May,[14] Mark Knopfler,[13] Peter Frampton,[15] Steve Howe,[16] Roy Wood,[17] Tony Iommi,[18] Pete Townshend,[19] Jeff Beck[20] and Jimmy Page.[21] Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel has also paid homage to Marvin on various recordings.[citation needed]

In 1959, Cliff Richard purchased a fiesta red Fender Stratocaster for Marvin to use on stage, which is widely claimed to be the first Stratocaster in the United Kingdom. Although it allegedly still belongs to Richard, it has been in the possession of Bruce Welch since 1968.[22] Marvin has performed on stage almost exclusively with fiesta red Stratocasters since Richard's original purchase.[23]

In Canada, Cliff Richard and the Shadows had top 10 hits, especially from 1961 to 1965. Canadian guitarists Randy Bachman and Neil Young credit Marvin as influential, Young penning the song "From Hank to Hendrix" on his Harvest Moon album in partial tribute.[24][25]

"Hank Marvin" is rhyming slang for "starvin" ("starving").[26] This slang was referenced in a 2012 television advertisement for Mattessons meat company.[27]

Early group personnel[edit]

  • 1956 Riverside Skiffle group Crescent City Skiffle Group: Marvin (banjo), John Tate (guitar), Derek Johnson (guitar), Joe Rankin (bass), Mal Malarky (mandolin), and Howard Muir (wb), John Clayton (guitar)
  • 1956–1957 The Railroaders (No. 1): Marvin (guitar), Welch (guitar), George Williams (guitar), John Clayton (guitar), Jim (drums)
  • 1956–1957 The Railroaders (No. 2): Marvin (guitar), Welch (guitar), Eddie Silver (guitar), George Williams (bass), and Jim ? (drums)
  • 1958 The Vipers (aka the Vipers Skiffle group) live concert: Wally Whyton (vocals), Johnny Booker (guitar), Hank Marvin (guitar), Jet Harris (bass) and Johnny Pilgrim (wb)
  • 1958 The Five Chesternuts 7" single ("Jean Dorothy" on Columbia): Gerry Hurst (vocals), Marvin (guitar), Welch (guitar), Neil Johnson (bass) and Pete Chester (drums)

UK solo tours[edit]

  • 1994 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Brian Bennett (drums)
  • 1995 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Matthew Letley (drums)
  • 1997 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Matthew Letley (drums)
  • 1998 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Matthew Letley (drums)
  • 2000 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Peter May (drums)
  • 2002 – w/Ben Marvin (guitar), Warren Bennett (guitar/keyboards), Mark Griffiths (bass), Fergus Gerrand (drums)

Production credits[edit]

  • Spaghetti Junction Work's Nice – If You Can Get It/Step Right Up Columbia DB 8935
  • Des O'Connor – Another Side Des O'Connor – LP – NSPL 18559.
  • Flair – Stop Look & Listen – LP – MLP 15611.
  • Flair – Fair – LP – CC 227324
  • Flair – Fair Play – LP – CC 327224

Duets and guest appearances[edit]

Marvin also played guitar on the following tracks of library music recorded for Bruton Music:

  • "Fighter Plane" (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Top of the Range
  • "Conquest of Space" (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Grandiose Impressive Panoramic
  • "Human Desert" (with Alan Hawkshaw) on Human Desert


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 42885". The London Gazette. 4 January 1963. p. 197.
  2. ^ a b c "Hank Marvin – Guitar God – Edited Entry". H2g2.com.
  3. ^ Hank Marvin: My family values - The Guardian. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  4. ^ Boynton, Graham (25 September 2009). "Hank Marvin: 'We should have taken Harrison's advice and sung'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  5. ^ Barnes, Jim; Dyer, Fred; Scanes, Stephen (1986). The Book Top Forty Research 2nd Edition 1956-1985 (doc). Top Forty Research Services, N.S.W., Australia, after having been "discovered" by two DJs at 2WG Wagga Wagga.
  6. ^ "Actor Hurt leads Queen's honours". BBC News.
  7. ^ Topping, Alexandra (28 October 2009). "Gold Badge awards shine light on music's unsung heroes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  8. ^ Guitar Legend Hank Marvin Returns With 'Without A Word' - Eon Music. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  9. ^ "The tragic family rift that proves blood is not always thicker than water". The Independent. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  10. ^ Nick McGrath. "Hank Marvin: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  11. ^ Ross, Deborah (17 March 1997). "Specs, God and rock'n'roll". The Independent. London.
  12. ^ "Interview: Hank Marvin". Guitar.com. 5 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d "Hank Marvin: Everyone Has To Move On". ultimate-guitar.com. 25 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  14. ^ Balmer, Paul (2007). The Fender Stratocaster Handbook: How to Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Strat. MBI Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-0760329832. Hank Marvin had a huge influence on guitarists such as Brian May of Queen...
  15. ^ Whitaker, Sterling C. (2003). Unsung Heroes of Rock Guitar. Booksurge. p. 111. ISBN 1591097584.
  16. ^ Prown, Pete; Sharken, Lisa (2003). Gear Secrets of the Guitar Legends: How to Sound Like Your Favourite Players. Hal Leonard. pp. 63, 66. ISBN 1617745014.
  17. ^ Marten, Neville; Giltrap, Gordon (2010). The Hofner Guitar: A History (2 ed.). Hal Leonard. p. 40. ISBN 978-1423462743.
  18. ^ Gulla, Bob (2009). Guitar Gods: The 25 Players Who Made Rock History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-0313358067.
  19. ^ Giuliano, Geoffrey (2002). Behind Blue Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 16. ISBN 0815410700.
  20. ^ Clayson, Alan (2002). The Yardbirds: The Band That Launched Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page. Hal Leonard. p. 46. ISBN 0879307242.
  21. ^ "The Thing about Hank". BBC Radio 4. 29 October 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  22. ^ "It was like something from space" – Hank Marvin talks in-depth about the Strat - Music Radar. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  23. ^ DIY ‘HANKCASTER’ CONVERSION - Guitar.com. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  24. ^ Bachman, Randy (2012). Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap Stories. Penguin. p. 155. ISBN 978-0143185772.
  25. ^ Gulla 2009, p. 237
  26. ^ "H". London Slang. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  27. ^ "'Hank Marvin' stars in new Mattessons advert". MusicRadar. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.

External links[edit]