Out of the Shadows

Terence “Jet” Harris was a star bass player in the early days of British skiffle and rock. In the late 1950s he joined Cliff Richard’s backing band, the Shadows, and became famous. But he suffered depressin, and began drinking heavily. He quarreled with the other Shadows, leaving the band in 1962.

Jet at Abbey Road

Jet Harris recording at Abbey Road Studios. Image: http://jetharrismemorialfund.org/

By 1963, Harris was on the slide, in trouble with the law for alcohol-fuelled violence and badly injured in a car crash. He slid out of music, and worked as a labourer, a bus conductor and a hospital porter – drinking all the while. In 1988, he was declared bankrupt. But at that time he also, for the first time, admitted to his alcoholism, sought help, and gradually began to return to music and rebuild his career and his life. He successfully performed with old mates, including other former Shadows, and Marty Wilde, and remained active on the stage until his death in 2011.

After the Shadows and before the drinking really took hold, Harris had some solo hits, including this one, a version of the Mexican song “Besame Mucho” (roughly “kiss me a lot”). It might be reading too much into things, but is there, in the dark, moody twang of Jet Harris’ guitar, a portent of things to come?

  • Artist: Jet Harris
  • Single Title: Besame Mucho
  • Tracks: A “Besame Mucho” Format: 7”, 45 rpm
  • Label: Decca
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Catalogue number: Y-7081
  • Year: 1962

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