Wonderful Land

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"Wonderful Land"
The Shadows Wonderful Land.jpg
Single by The Shadows
B-side"Stars Fell on Stockton"
Released23 February 1962 (1962-02-23)
Recorded12 May, 6 July 1961 and 18 January 1962[1]
StudioEMI Studios, London
GenreInstrumental surf
Songwriter(s)Jerry Lordan[2]
Producer(s)Norrie Paramor[2]
The Shadows singles chronology
"The Savage"
"Wonderful Land"
"Guitar Tango"

"Wonderful Land" is an instrumental piece written by Jerry Lordan and first recorded and released as a single by The Shadows in February 1962. It stayed at number one for eight weeks on the UK Singles Chart, a feat only Elvis Presley (in 1960), the Shadows and the Archies (in 1969) managed in the whole of the 1960s.[3][4]

Background and release[edit]

Lordan had previously written the hugely successful "Apache", which the Shadows had recorded. On writing the song, Lordan said "I got the first phrase and it took me six months to get to the middle. I knew it had to have a second part and I couldn't think of anything".[5] The basic track was recorded on 12 May 1961, with tom-tom overdub and extra drumming recorded on 6 July.[1] However, there was something missing with the song and the Shadows kept it unreleased. Whilst the group were on tour, producer and musician Norrie Paramor added French horns and strings on 18 January 1962.[5][1] Hank Marvin came up with the title, "Wonderful Land", referring to America, but Lordan did not like it and "wish[ed] [he] could have come up with something better".[5]

It was the last single to be recorded by drummer Tony Meehan for the group. By the time of the song's release, he had left the group and been replaced by Brian Bennett who co-wrote the B-side "Stars Fell on Stockton" with the rest of the group. The group was in a period of transition and whilst the song was at number one, Jet Harris left to be replaced by Brian Locking.[2]

Track listings[edit]

7": Columbia / DB 4790

  1. "Wonderful Land" – 2:02
  2. "Stars Fell on Stockton" – 2:17



Chart (1962) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 2
Australia (Music Maker)[7] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[9] 26
Canada (Vancouver CFUN)[10] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 26
Ireland (Evening Herald)[12] 1
Israel (Kol Israel)[13] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[14] 2
New Zealand (Lever Hit Parade)[15] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 2
South Africa (Radio South Africa & Lourenço Marques)[17] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[18] 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
Released28 November 1980 (1980-11-28)
RecordedDenham, 1980
Songwriter(s)Jerry Lordan
Mike Oldfield singles chronology
"Wonderful Land"
"The Singles"

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.[19] The video is available on the Elements - The Best of Mike Oldfield video.


Chart (1981) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[20] 40

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.


  1. ^ a b c Koers, Ivo. "Instrumentation On Shadows Recordings II: The Primary Singles" (PDF). malcolmcampbell.me.uk. p. 10. Retrieved 30 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c 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.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 135–6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Number 1 Singles of the 1960s". EveryHit. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  5. ^ a b c "Wonderful Land by The Shadows - Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved 2021-11-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  7. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 19 May 1962. p. 16. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  8. ^ "The Shadows – Wonderful Land" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ "The Shadows – Wonderful Land" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "C-Funtastic Fifty Week of June 2, 1962". 2 June 1962. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  11. ^ "The Shadows – Wonderful Land" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  12. ^ "Irish Top Ten". Evening Herald. 29 March 1962.
  13. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 16 June 1962. p. 16. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  14. ^ "The Shadows – Wonderful Land" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ "Lever Hit Parade". flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  16. ^ "The Shadows – Wonderful Land". VG-lista.
  17. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 4 August 1962. p. 38. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Shadows: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 222. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.