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British musician Jet Harris, who played bass guitar in Cliff Richard's band The Shadows, has died aged 71, British media reported on Friday.

Terence Harris, nicknamed "Jet" because he was one of the fastest runners in his school, was introduced to Richard in 1958, and his website credits him with coming up with the name The Shadows.

"Jet was exactly what the Shadows and I needed -- a backbone holding our sound together," Richard said in a statement.

"Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock'n'roll history. Losing him is sad -- but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet."

With The Shadows, Harris enjoyed a string of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s including "High Class Baby," the chart-topping "Apache" and "Guitar Tango." His last recording with the band was "Wonderful Land" in 1962, which also made it to number one in the British charts.

After leaving the group, Harris teamed up with former Shadows bandmate Tony Meehan and again reached number one with "Diamonds" in 1963.

After a serious car crash nearly ended his career he faded from the limelight, although he did tour in Europe and release several albums. As his success as a musician faded, Harris became a professional photographer.

He was made an MBE for his services to music, and died after a two-year battle with cancer. Earlier this month he was forced to cancel all appearances due to ill health.

Jet Harris was partly responsible for helping BOTH Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones break into the music business. Jimmy's first major session was as a rhythm guitarist on Jet Harris & Tony Meehan's "Diamonds", in late 1962. Then, when "Diamonds" rushed up the charts (eventually hitting #1), Harris and Meehan hired Jones to play bass in their touring band. Jones spent a year touring the country, living the rock & roll lifestyle before finally settling down to try the session game. (And it was Harris' partner, Tony Meehan, who gave Jones his big break in the session world.) Thanks to swandown

"We all wanted to look like Jet Harris. I got into session playing through Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Jet and Tony were my first major band. I had been in various small bands and done all the American bases. Jet was with the Jet Blacks; I walked up to him on Archer Street and asked him if he needed a bass player. He said, 'No I don't, but they do,' pointing me towards the Jet Blacks. He was leaving them, so I auditioned and joined up. Later he heard about me, swapped his bass player for me, and I went on the road with them." - John Paul Jones, from 2stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham. Thanks to Scott Swanson

From: Reuters

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