Time for an absolute classic which I found in my parents’ collection of 45s we used to go through when I was a kid. This piece somehow stuck with me and was my “favourite” for many years, well into my teens and would still be on my top list today.
Something about the strings and horn parts make this swell and flow so majestically. And the actual melody and harmonies are so haunting.
No wonder this, an early hit for the Shadows, spent a record 8 weeks at No 1 in 1962 – no other act beat this in the 60s, pretty impressive considering they had Elvis and the Beatles to contend with!
If you know it , you already love it. So “Like” it and “Share” it so another generation can also enjoy it as I wouldn’t like to guess the last time this was played on any significant radio station! If you don’t know it, well you are missing out so add it to your iPod now!
The eternal question looms, why is this a good piece of music that people like? If only we knew the magic formula. In my opinion it is a combination of things, melody and harmony play a part, orchestration – some may never like electric guitar sounds, or anything with drums in – but also the package as a whole. I have heard cover songs of various tracks over the years and they never sound quite as good, even though all the above elements are in place. There is something unique created in a studio and a time period which, like art, cannot be reproduced easily and it is also the unique sound of this recording which makes it special.
Interestingly, one of my other favourite artists, Mike Oldfield, also released a version of this in 1980. Clearly he had also enjoyed it as a kid and paid tribute to the Shadows by making his version. It is also a good version, quite different in sound but still references that horn part!
I tried tracking down a good quality version of the original on YouTube for this post but came across many newer mixes and the older ones weren’t great quality so I made my own clip, taken directly from my mum’s old 45 vinyl.
Do enjoy – maybe with a sense of nostalgia or maybe for the first time, one of the most succesful instrumental singles ever and a quite sublime piece of music –
Wonderful Land by Jerry Lordan