Best known as the lead guitarist for the Shadows and the Drifters, the English multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter. Hank Marvin (Brian Rankin) was born 28 October 1941 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. As a child, he played banjo and piano. After hearing Buddy Holly, he decided to learn the guitar. He chose his stage name while launching his career. It is an amalgamation of his childhood nickname, Hank, which he used to differentiate himself from friends also named Brian, and Marvin Rainwater, the country and rockabilly singer.
Marvin attended Rutherford Grammar School where he befriended Bruce Welch. When he was sixteen he met Johnny Foster, Cliff Richard’s manager, at The 2i’s Coffee Bar in Soho, London. Foster was looking for a guitarist for Cliff Richard’s UK tour and was considering Tony Sheridan. Instead he offered Marvin the position. Marvin joined the Drifters, as Cliff Richard’s group was then known, provided there was a place for Welch. Marvin met Richard for the first time at a nearby Soho tailor’s shop. The Drifters had their first rehearsal with Richard at his home in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Marvin wrote many songs including “Driftin'”, “Geronimo”, “Spider Juice” (his daughter’s name for orange juice), “I Want You to Want Me” and “The Day I Met Marie”. He co-wrote Richard’s 1960 hit; ‘Gee Whizz It’s You’ with Ian Samwell. With Welch, Brian Bennett, and John Rostill, he wrote hits for Cliff Richard, including; “On the Beach”, “I Could Easily Fall in Love with You”, “Time Drags By”, and “In the Country”.
Following the disbanding of the shadows Marvin released His first critically lauded, self-titled solo album of instrumentals, which featured guitar set to orchestrated backing. During 1968 The single “Sacha” topped the singles chart in New South Wales, Australia. The Shadows then reunited, first for a Far East tour and ‘live’ album in 1969, then a studio album in 1970 (Shades of Rock) and again in the early 70s. He has experimented with styles and material, doing instrumental albums, some with mostly vocals (e.g. Words and Music, All Alone With Friends), one with only acoustic guitars and one with a guitar orchestra (The Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate.
In 1969 and 1970, he teamed with Richard for: two ‘Cliff & Hank’ hit singles, his own song; ‘Throw Down a Line’ (also recorded by Marvin, Welch & Farrar), and ‘The Joy of Living’, while Richard also had a hit with his ecology song, ‘Silvery Rain’. Marvin and Welch also formed Marvin, Welch & Farrar, a vocal-harmony trio which became ‘Marvin & Farrar’ for a vocal album in 1973 and then reverted to the Shadows in late 1973, for the instrumental Rockin’ with Curly Leads album. The Shadows came second for the United Kingdom in the 1975 Eurovision song contest. In 1977, Marvin played lead guitar on Roger Daltrey’s third solo album, One of the Boys, on the tracks Parade and Leon. He co-wrote Olivia Newton-John’s 1977 hit ‘Sam’ with John Farrar and Don Black, and produced albums for the British showman Des O’Connor. In 1988, Marvin collaborated with French keyboardist and composer Jean Michel Jarre on the track “London Kid”, on Jarre’s Revolutions album and was a guest in the Jarre’s Destination Docklands concert at London’s Royal Victoria Dock.
Marvin appeared with Leslie Nielsen in an advert for Red Rock Cider, which parodied Nielsen’s Police Squad! films. It takes place in a bar where Nielsen shouts, “Hey, you over there, in the shadows!”, after which Marvin steps forward and Nielsen asks Marvin to “accompany” him and they both start singing. In 1992, Duane Eddy guested on Marvin’s album Into the Light on the track “Pipeline”. Marvin and the Shadows reformed for a 2004 Final Tour, and the 2005 European tour. Marvin dueted twice with French guitarist Jean-Pierre Danel – on his 2007 and 2010 albums. Marvin also participated on one of his DVDs and wrote the foreword for Danel’s book about the Fender Stratocaster. Marvin was awarded an Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 Queen’s birthday Honours List along with Welch and Bennett, for services to music, But declined for “personal reasons”.