Wonderful Land

Album: The Shadows Are Go (1962)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • After eight weeks at #1 in the UK, this was knocked off the top by another instrumental, "Nut Rocker" by B. Bumble & The Stingers.
  • British composer and singer Jerry Lordan wrote this. He also penned two other UK chart-toppers: "Apache" for The Shadows and "Diamonds" for ex-Shadows Jet Harris and Tony Meehan.
  • Lordan recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: "I got the first phrase and it took me six months to get to the middle. I knew it had to have a second part and I couldn't think of anything. The Shadows did it marvelously and Norrie Paramour added strings very sympathetically."
  • This was the first Shadows track to feature an instrumental backing. Bruce Welch added in the same publication: "Norrie Paramour was a great help to us, a father-figure if you like, an older man but a trained musician. Jerry Lordan had given us 'Wonderful Land' and we recorded it knowing there was something missing. What we'd done wasn't enough. We had it in the can for 9 months and while we were on tour, Norrie added French horns, strings and a little vocal bit. Then it was a classic record and we were so excited about it. It was the first time that a rock group had used an orchestra and it was #1 for weeks."
  • Lordan also revealed that the title was not his: "I'm pretty feeble with titles and I could not think of a title for that instrumental. Hank called it 'Wonderful Land' and I don't like it. I wish I could have come up with something better." "Wonderful Land" was a reference to America.
  • This was covered by Mike Oldfield on his 1980 QE2 album. The Shadows later covered Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow."
  • The Shadows are the biggest-selling instrumental act of all time in the UK, achieving 12 #1s, some as the backing group for Cliff Richard and others on their own. However, they had no commercial success in America. Their breakthrough hit "Apache" was not promoted Stateside leading to a cover version by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann charting instead. Afterwards The Ventures corned the US instrumental market.

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyJorgen Ingmann's version of "Apache" peaked at #2 in the U.S.A., stayed there for two weeks, in 1961...
  • John from Wirral, United KingdomWhat can one say from my early teens in the sixties the instrumentals by the shadows brilliant
    John Wirral UK oneseagull@yahoo.co.uk
  • Gary from Watford, United Kingdommy favorite instrumental of all time, i still remember buying this on an ep in 1963
  • Mark from Dublin, IrelandOne of the shadows greatest tracks,it was mark knopflers dream when he was a kid to play this track with the shadows,and in the 1980s his dream came true when he recorded it with none other than hank marvin himself,check out the knopfler?Marvin version,its brill.....The shadows remain the best instumental group of all time with such hits as "apache" "fbi" "kon tiki" "foot tapper" and "dance on" ..All number one hit records when you had to sell alot of records to reach number one...
  • Nicola from Roma, ItalyWhat a Wonderful Song!!Beautyful guitar sound that start me play electric guitar, epic song
see more comments

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