RIP 1928 - 2016 aged 87
SONGS I LOVE:
The solid guitar instrumental version of *Apache meant fame and fortune for British group The Shadows when the song topped the UK Singles Chart for weeks in mid-1960. Composed by Jerry Lordan it is in the list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The public raved and the song became a worldwide hit. Even until today it is still being played, revived, mixed and re-mixed by many different bands and artistes.
In Singapore, guitar groups that aspired to be 'famous' were able to play the twanging version and nearly every Singapop group used it as their opening act on stage. From 1960 Singapore was invaded by Apache with The Quests, Checkmates, The Trailers and others.
Check out Wikipedia's long list of Apache covers and versions which come right up to 2011. But if we turn the clock back to the beginning when it was first composed there is a flip side to this interesting tale.
For some readers who may not be familiar with Apache there is a less known non-instrumental version of this song. This out-shadowed version with lyrics was recorded in 1961 and was said to have been written by living legend and singer/songwriter Sonny James of Young Love fame (above).
It was produced in Nashville by Chet Atkins and was review-rated as a Spotlight Winner. Billboard Music Week in its edition of March 6, 1961. Evidently, from the information on the RCA Single (101046), the lyrics were written by one Johnny Flamingo and James was the singer.
Without further ado, and thanking YouTube and Steve Wood, here's the real love story of an Apache brave (Golden Hawk) and the American Indian maiden (Silver Dove) who is still haunted by her love for him.
Sonny James' Apache. Video by Steve Wood
Sweet Apache maid
Lonely Silver Dove
Sweet Apache maid
Alone, all alone by the campfire
She dreamed of her love, her delight
Away, far away on the prairie
Her love Golden Hawk shared the night
Sometimes at night with the moon, he would come
Sweet were the moments they shared
But with the dawn, he was gone with the sun
A smoke sign arose from the prairie
A breeze sighed a sad mournful song
The brave Golden Hawk had departed
Had gone to that great, great beyond
Sometimes at night when there's rain in the sky
She hears her love high above
He and his pony go thundering by...
*Johnny Preston's Running Bear (1959) has a similar theme. Also sung by Sonny James this song was a big hit by J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper).
"With a love big as the sky
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn't die."