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Bruce Welch

Bruce Welch
Welch performing in September 2007
Background information
Birth name Bruce Cripps
Born (1941-11-02) 2 November 1941
Bognor Regis, England
Origin Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Genres Instrumental rock
Occupation(s) Musician, producer and owner of a music publishing company
Instruments Guitar
Years active late 1950s–present
Associated acts Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Hank Marvin, Olivia Newton-John
Website .com.brucewelchtributewww

Bruce Cripps OBE (born 2 November 1941, Bognor Regis, Sussex, England) known by his stage name Bruce Welch is an English guitarist, songwriter, producer and singer, best known as a member of The Shadows.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Honours 2
  • Early career groups (pre-Shadows/Drifters) 3
  • Groups 4
  • Discography 5
  • Guest vocals 6
  • Production credits 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


His parents (Stan Cripps and Grace Welch) relocated him to 15 Broadwood View, Chester-le-Street: she died when Welch was aged 6. Welch grew up with his Aunt Sadie in Chester-le-Street, County Durham. After learning to play the guitar, he formed a Tyneside skiffle band called The Railroaders when he was fourteen.[2] His Rutherford Grammar School friend Brian Rankin (later to be known as Hank Marvin), joined the group and they travelled to London in 1958 for the final of a talent competition. Although they did not win, they joined with members of other entrant bands and formed The Five Chesternuts with Pete Chester (born 1942), son of comedian Charlie Chester on drums.

On moving to London Bruce and Hank Marvin briefly operated as the Geordie Boys before enlisting in an outfit called The Drifters.[2]

In September 1958 Welch and Marvin joined The Drifters, later to become The Shadows,[2] as Cliff Richard's backing band. As well as success with The Shadows, Welch also acted as producer for (among others) Cliff Richard[2] and songwriter for his ex-fiancée, Olivia Newton-John. He also released a solo single "Please Mr. Please", which was not commercially successful, even though the song has been covered by several recording artists (most notably Newton-John, who would take it into the top 10 of the US pop and country charts in 1975).

Welch wrote several number 1 hit singles for Cliff and for The Shadows. Among tunes/songs written or co-written by Welch are the Shadows' hits "Foot Tapper" and "The Rise and Fall of Flingle Bunt", Marvin Welch & Farrar's "Faithful" and "My Home Town", and Cliff Richard hits "Please Don't Tease", "In the Country", "Summer Holiday", "I Love You" and "I Could Easily Fall (in Love with You)".

He was the musical consultant for the West End musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.

In 1998 he formed Bruce Welch's Shadows which featured former Shadows Alan Jones and Cliff Hall with Bob Watkins on drums and Phil Kelly on Lead Guitar.

At Shadowmania 2011 he included a Tribute To Jet Harris which featured himself alongside The Rapiers, Phil Kelly, Alan Jones, Cliff Hall and Daniel Martin.

At Shadowmania 2012 Phil Kelly could not appear because of illness, and so was replaced by Daniel Martin and Justin Daish.


He was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Birthday Honours list for services to music.

Welch lives in Richmond, London.[3]

Early career groups (pre-Shadows/Drifters)

1956/7 – The Railroaders(#1)
  • Hank Marvin (guitar), Bruce Welch (guitar), George Williams (guitar) and Jim ? (drums)
1956/7 – The Railroaders(#2)
  • Hank Marvin (guitar), Bruce Welch (guitar), Eddie Silver (guitar), George Williams (b) and Jim ? (drums)
1958 – The Five Chesternuts
  • 7"single – ("Jean Dorothy"/"Teenage love" on Columbia)
  • Gerry Hurst (v), Hank Marvin (guitar), Bruce Welch (guitar), Neil Johnson (b) and Pete Chester (drums)


  • The Railroaders
  • The Five Chesternuts
  • The Drifters
  • Cliff Richard and The Drifters
  • The Shadows
  • Cliff Richard and the Shadows
  • Marvin Welch and Farrar
  • Bruce Welch's Shadows


  • Please Mr Please//Song of Yesterday – EMI 2141 – 7" – 1974.
  • Marvin Welch and Farrar – 'Marvin Welch and Farrar' – 1970.
  • Marvin Welch and Farrar – 'Second Opinion' – 1972.
  • The Five Chesternuts – Jean Dorothy – Columbia – 7" – 1958.
  • The Shadows – The Shadows discography

Guest vocals

  • Marvin and Farrar – Hank Marvin and John Farrar – EMI – LP/CD – 1973.

Production credits

  • Cliff Richard – We Don't Talk Anymore – 7" / 12" (extended mix) – EMI – 1979.
  • Cliff Richard – I'm Nearly Famous – LP/CD – EMI – 1975.
  • Cliff Richard – Every Face Tells a Story – LP/CD – EMI – 1976.
  • Cliff Richard – Green Light – LP/CD – EMI – 1978.
  • Cliff Richard – "Little Mistreater" on album The Album – LP/CD – EMI – 1992.
  • The Shadows – XXV – LP/CD – Polydor – 1983.
  • Tarney / Spencer Band – "Cathy's clown" – 7" – A&M – 1979.
  • Roger Whittaker – The genius of love – LP/CD – 1986.
  • Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You – LP/CD – Pye – 1971.
  • Olivia Newton-John – Olivia – LP/CD – Pye – 1972.
  • Charlie Dore – Where to now – LP/CD – Island/Lemon- 1979.
  • Cilla Black – Especially for you – LP/CD – Ktel/Hallmark – 1980.
  • Alan David – Alan David – LP – EMI/EMC3365 – 1981.
  • Alan Davy – – 1981.
  • Sutherland Brothers and Quiver – Down to earth – LP/CD – CBS/Lemon – 1977/.
  • Page Three – "Hold on to love" – 7" – WB.
  • McArthur Park – "Taffeta Rose" / "Sammy" – Columbia – 7".


  • 0. Driftin' with Cliff Richard, by J. Harris, R. Ellis and C. Richard
  • 1. The Shadows by Themselves by Royston Ellis with The Shadows. Consul Books. 1961. No ISBN
  • Mike Read (1983). The Story of the Shadows: An Autobiography. Hamish Hamilton.  
  • Bruce L. Welch; Howard Elson (1989). Rock and Roll: I Gave You the Best Years of My Life.  
  • 4. That Sound (From Move It on, the story of the magic sound of The Shadows), by R.Pistolesi, M.Addey & M.Mazzini. Publ: Vanni Lisanti. June 2000. No ISBN
  • 5. A pocket guide to Shadow music, by M.Campbell, R.Bradford, L.Woosey. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-4-3
  • Les Woosey Malcolm Campbell (2005). Guide to the Shadows and Hank Marvin on Cd.  
  • 7. The Shadows at Polydor, by M.Campbell. Idmon. ISBN 0-9535567-2-7
  • Malcolm Campbell (1 January 2001). The Shadows at EMI: The Vinyl Legacy.  
  • Pete Frame (1998). More Rock Family Trees. Omnibus Press.  
  • 10. 17 Watts, by Mo Foster. ISBN ?
  • 11. The Shadows Discography, by John Friesen. No ISBN
  • 12. The Shadows Discography, by George Geddes. No ISBN
  • David Roberts (June 2006). British Hit Singles & Albums.  
  • Neil Warwick; Jon Kutner; Tony Brown (30 November 2004). The Complete Book of the British Charts: Singles and Albums. Omnibus Press.  
  • 15. John Farrar—Music makes my day, (A Shadsfax-Tribute-40pp-booklet), by T.Hoffman, A.Hardwick, S.Duffy, G.Jermy, A.Lewis, J.Auman. No ISBN
  • 16. John Rostill—Funny old world, (Tribute-60pp-booklet), by B.Bradford. No ISBN
  • 17. Jet Harris—Survivor, by Dave Nicolson, ISBN 978-0-9562679-0-0, 31 Oct 2009
Sheet music

All the hit (& misses) singles e.g. Apache (et al.) were published as individual (2xA4 page) music sheets during the release of the single until the late 1970s when publishers switched to books featuring multiple hits.

  • A1. The Album of Guitar Favourites, 1961, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A2. The 2nd Album of Guitar Favourites, 1961, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A3. The 3rd Album of Guitar Favourites, 1962, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A4. The 4th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A5. The 5th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A6. The 6th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1965, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A7. The 7th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1966, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A8. The 8th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1966, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A9. The 9th Album of Guitar Favourites, 1967, The Shadows Music Ltd/Carlin Music Ltd. No ISBN
  • A10. The Shadows Album of Rhythm & Greens, 1964, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Music Ltd. No ISBN
  • A11. The Shadows Modern Electric Guitar Tutor, 196?, The Shadows Music Ltd/Belinda Ltd. No ISBN
  • A12. The Shadows Guitar Book, 1964, Francis, Day & Hunter. No ISBN
  • A13. The Shadows Then and Now, 1981, EMI Music Publishing. ISBN ?
  • Music Sales Corporation. Shadows the Big Hits of MLC.  
  • Shadows; Unk, Shadows (Musical group : England.) (March 2006). The Shadows.  
  • A16. Hits of The Shadows. Off the record., 1992, IMP, ISBN ?
  • A17. Frank Ifield Album, 196?, Shadows Music/Belinda, no ISBN
  • A18. The Mersey Beat, 196?, Shadows music/Belinda, no ISBN
  • A19. Marvin Welch and Farrar, 1970, Music Sales Ltd. ISBN
  • B1. Cliff and the Shadows Album, 196?, B.Feldman & co ltd, no ISBN
  • B2. The Young Ones & Summer Holiday 1963, Elstree Music ltd, no ISBN
  • B3. Finders Keepers, 1966, Carlin Music, no ISBN
  • B4. Aladdin—Guitar album, 1964, Shadows Music/Belinda, no ISBN
  • B5. Aladdin—Vocal album, 1964, Shadows Music/Belinda, no ISBN
  • B6. Established 1958, 1968, Shadows Music/Carlin Music, no ISBN


  1. ^ Allmusic for Bruce Welch
  2. ^ a b c d "The Religious Affiliation of Guitarist Hank Marvin". 24 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-13. When his Crescent City Skiffle Group won a South Shields Jazz Club talent contest, he was asked to join Bruce Welch's Railroaders. On moving to London, Marvin and Welch operated briefly as the Geordie Boys before enlisting in an outfit called the Drifters, which evolved into the Shadows. While backing and, later, composing songs (such as The Day I Met Marie) for Cliff Richard, the quartet recorded independently and became generally acknowledged as Britain's top instrumental act. 
  3. ^ Graham Boynton (25 September 2009). "The Shadows re-enter the hip parade".  

External links

  • Bruce Welch Tribute by Rune Moe
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