THE SHADOWS have finally seen the sun set on their career.
Britain's first home-grown rock and roll stars have played their last show, almost 50 years after they shot to fame as Cliff Richard's backing band.
Despite their links with Sir Cliff, The Shadows preside over a formidable solo legacy as Britain's most successful instrumental band. Only Elvis and Sir Cliff himself have spent more weeks in the UK singles chart than the Tyneside-led quartet.
Born of the thriving coffee shop scene in London's Soho, the group - initially called The Drifters - were the last word in mid-50s "hep-cat cool".
As such, they clearly did not dig their dreary post-war English names. Guitarists Brian Rankin and Bruce Cripps became, respectively, Hank B Marvin and Bruce Welch.
It was an example keenly followed by later recruits, bassist Jet Harris (Terence Harris) and drummer Tony Meehan (Daniel Meehan) and, of course, Cliff "Harry Webb" Richard himself.
Instantly identifiable by their exotic West Coast twangy guitar sound and Marvin's Buddy Holly-like spectacles, the group topped it all off with a tightly synchronised stage walk.
Success came in 1958 with Cliff's chart buster Move It. They then hit the charts with their own tunes. In 1960, Apache stayed at the top slot for several weeks. Further number ones followed including Kon-Tiki and Dance On.
The rise of The Beatles and the "Mersey Sound" in the early 1960s saw their brand of British beatnik cool lose favour among the fickle record-buying public.
But the group soldiered on and in the 70s and 80s did a profitable line in instrumental renditions of songs such as Don't Cry for Me Argentina and The Theme from the Deer Hunter.
They played the last gig of their farewell tour on Monday night at London's Palladium, having finished where they started, in the heart of London's West End.
No flowers daddio.
Add your tributes, using the form below.
Boo hoo. Does anybody have a Hankerchief?
Mike C, Leeds
Don't forget that they also represented the UK in Eurovision. Okay, so do forget it.
Apache, Bless You!
They've gone on tour with Mozart.
Matthew Beale, Sweden
Over the Hill, or should that be cliff?
Alex Evans, Manchester UK
In enlightened times, Shadows must fade away.
The best band that ever was and ever will be, also they were always very, very smartly dressed.
Kenneth J. Hawker, England
They've been twangoed.
Neil Franklin, UK
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