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 Rock
Length 2:08
Label Columbia Graphophone Company DB 4790[1]
Songwriter(s) Jerry Lordan[1]
Producer(s) Norrie Paramor[1]
The Shadows singles chronology
"The Savage"
(1961)
"Wonderful Land"
(1962)
"Guitar Tango"
(1962)

"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]

Lordan had previously written the hugely successful "Apache" for the Shadows in 1960, and "Wonderful Land" 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 Archies, Shadows & Elvis Presley managed in the whole of the '60s - 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
Australia 2
Belgium (W) 13
Germany 23
India 9
Irish Singles Chart 1
Israel 1
Italy 12
Netherlands 2
New Zealand 1
Norway 2
South Africa 1
Sweden 6

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

"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.

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.