Saturday, March 19, 2011

Former Shadows guitarist Jet Harris dies: media

LONDON (Reuters) – British musician Jet Harris, who played bass guitar in Cliff Richard's band The Shadows, has died aged 71, British media reported on Friday.

Terence Harris, nicknamed "Jet" because he was one of the fastest runners in his school, was introduced to Richard in 1958, and his website credits him with coming up with the name The Shadows.

"Jet was exactly what the Shadows and I needed -- a backbone holding our sound together," Richard said in a statement.

"Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock'n'roll history. Losing him is sad -- but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet."

With The Shadows, Harris enjoyed a string of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s including "High Class Baby," the chart-topping "Apache" and "Guitar Tango." His last recording with the band was "Wonderful Land" in 1962, which also made it to number one in the British charts.

After leaving the group, Harris teamed up with former Shadows bandmate Tony Meehan and again reached number one with "Diamonds" in 1963.

After a serious car crash nearly ended his career he faded from the limelight, although he did tour in Europe and release several albums. As his success as a musician faded, Harris became a professional photographer.

He was made an MBE for his services to music, and died after a two-year battle with cancer. Earlier this month he was forced to cancel all appearances due to ill health.

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