Founder Shadows dies aged 62


Founder Shadows Member Dies Aged 62
Tony Meehan Has Died....


Jet Harris with Tony Meehan

Founder member of The Drifters, later renamed The Shadows, Tony Meehan has died in hospital following a fall causing fatal head injuries. Tony Meehan was one of the founder members of the Shadows along with Jet Harris, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch. Tony played drums on all the early Cliff Richard and the Shadows hits and also played on the early hits the Shadows had as an instrumental group. Tony was born in Hampstead on 2 March 1943. He was only ten years old when he became interested in playing the drums. By the time he was 13, Tony had his first job with a band playing in a dance hall at Willesden, London. He also played timpani's with the London Youth Orchestra. When he was 15, Tony was set on becoming a lawyer and did not want to leave school for another three years but he was offered a job at £25 per week in a touring show. He asked for and was given six months holiday. The tour never materialised but Tony did not go back to school. Unlike the other members of the Shadows he was never short of work, playing cabaret at places like Churchill's and the Stork Club. He also played with Jet Harris in The Vipers. Tony was interested in arranging which he studied and besides drums also played guitar and bass. His hobbies include psychology and psychiatry.

Tony left The Shadows in 1961 and went to work at Decca Records. He subsequently teamed up again with Jet Harris and as a duo had great success with Jet playing guitar and Tony on drums. Tony and Jet performed as part of the All Stars ’63 Tour which had two evening shows at the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth on Saturday 18 May 1963. Star billing was given to John Leyton, Mike Sarne, Mike Berry and The Innocents, and Billy Davis. Jet and Tony were billed as ‘Special Guest Stars’. Also appearing on the bill were Duffy Power, Grazina, Billy Boyle, Don ‘Fireball’ Spencer and Bick Ford. Tickets were priced at 6/6 (i.e. 32 pence) up to 10/6 (i.e. 52 pence!!) and the shows started at 6 pm and 8.30 pm. The following is adapted from the program notes for that All Stars ‘63 show. Also in 1961 and signed an independent production deal with Decca. Among his first records was the Louise Cordet hit "I’m Just a Baby". He worked hard behind the scenes and to the public seemed to have lost his incentive to go back on the stage. As a session man, Tony played on records by John Leyton, Frank Ifield and Billy Fury. Once away from The Shadows, Tony’s drum studies continued and his interest in composing developed. Maybe this is how things would have remained but a call to Tony from Jet Harris who was in Scotland at the time changed all that. Jet had been thinking of recording with Tony and one day the urge to call him became too strong, he did just that and so the team was back in business.

First came a recording session for "Just for Fun" and then came "Diamonds". Tony produced that session as well as playing drums. He also wrote the B-side, "Foot Stomp" where he took it in turns with Jet to do vocal duets. "Diamonds" went to Number 1 in just three weeks. Jet and Tony then followed "Diamonds" with "Scarlet O’Hara" which was also a resounding hit’.

Information courtesy of The Shadows website.

Tony Meehan was one of the drummers of which I had a great deal of respect for his style. Tracks such as Scarlet O'Hara, with Tony's drum solo part way through was fierce. Tony will be missed, and our heart felt condolences go out to Tony's family. Rest In Peace Tony Meehan. 1943 - 2005.