Friday, 18 March 2011

Jet Harris 1939 - 2011

It is with great sadness that I write this post. Jet Harris the original bass player with Cliff Richard and The Shadows passed away last night 17 March 2011. Jet had been ill with cancer for the last few years and struggled on with performing. The Rapiers worked with Jet for the last 25 years. He will be missed by us all any many others that have known him and influenced in those early years by him.

This is a rare picture I took of him playing and using my bass guitar. I was normally on stage with him.

Jet Harris in Weymouth, 2008
Here is some more information on Jet Harris's career:-
  • Jet Harris was a UK pioneer of the electric bass guitar.  He was the first person in Britain to play the Fender Precision Bass guitar in a band.
  • Jet Harris was the original bass player with world-renowned instrumental group the Shadows.  Some of (Cliff Richard and) the Shadows greatest hits came during his time with them.
  • Jet Harris thought up the name the Shadows 
  • With Cliff Richard and the Shadows - Jet's chart career was staggering.
  • When the Shadows won international fame in their own right with their chart-topper “Apache” in 1960, Jet’s driving and innovative bass playing was central to their sound.
  • Jet Harris left The Shadows in 1962.  He broke new boundaries in the 1960s by transforming the bass into the lead instrument on his number one hit “Diamonds” and chart-topper “Scarlett O’Hara”
  • Jet has appeared on 24 No.1 hit recordings - the singles include: "Living Doll", "Travelling Light", "Please Don't Tease", "I Love You", "The Young Ones", "Diamonds", "Apache", "Kon-Tiki" and "Wonderful Land". Jet was a pioneer of 6-string bass playing.  The sound was dubbed “The 6-string Thunder Thrill”
  • In 1964 Jet received the New Musical Express Award for Top Instrumentalist of the Year
  • Jet has inspired and been revered by guitarists who followed in his wake including, Sir Paul McCartney, Sting, Bill Wyman and Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie
  • "Nivram" has become a 'standard' and is acknowledged as a classic example of a bass guitar solo.
  • Jet received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Fender guitars in 1998 and he continued to actively tour until a few weeks before his death
  • In January 2010 Jet Harris received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year 2010 Honours List 
  • In 2009 Jet Harris was diagnosed with a form of cancer.  The primary site of the cancer was unknown.   CUP (Cancer of Unknown Primary site) accounts for 4% of all new cancer cases*

  *Figures taken from the Cancer Research UK website


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