Brian Locking

Brian “Licorice” Locking (born 22 December 1938 in Bedworth, Warwickshire, England) was the bass guitarist with The Shadows[1] between 1962 and 1963.


He began playing double bass in several bands, notably with the Lincolnshire based rocker Vince Eager (born Roy Taylor, 4 June 1940, in Lincoln). He switched to bass guitar, later joining The Wildcats, a backing group for the rock and roll singer Marty Wilde. A fellow Wildcat was the drummer and future Shadow, Brian Bennett.

Locking also played several other instruments, including harmonica which he has always featured and clarinet (nicknamed the “licorice stick”), which earned Locking the nickname “Licorice”. When Marty Wilde parted company from The Wildcats, they changed their name to “the Krew Kats” and recorded instrumentals with modest success. Bennett then left to join the Shadows.

In April 1962, at Bennett’s suggestion, Licorice Locking was himself invited to join The Shadows to replace the departing Jet Harris. Stylistically, Locking had a solid “less is more” approach, which was the obverse of Harris’s adventurous hard-driving style. The Shadows’ sound changed as a result. Locking played on some of their best known tracks, including “Dance On”, “Foot Tapper” and “Atlantis”. He also played the harmonica in live shows and on his signature album track, “Dakota”. He appeared in the Cliff Richard film, Summer Holiday.

After being in the Shadows for only eighteen months, Locking left to pursue his activities with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He remained on the music scene at a more compatible pace and was invited to play double bass on Donovan’s first recording session. He briefly played with the Shadows again five years later while his successor John Rostill was in hospital. In more recent times Locking has been a regular guest playing at Shadows fan clubs across the UK and abroad. He is often also invited to perform with various Shadows-style bands.

He reprised his role in the Wildcats at Marty Wilde’s 50th Anniversary Concert, where he also appeared on stage with all the surviving Shadows members.

Early career groups (pre-Shadows/Drifters)

  • 1958 – Vince Taylor & the Playboys
    • Vince Taylor (v) + Jim Sullivan (g) + Tony Sheridan (g) + Brian Locking (b) + Brian Bennett (d)
  • 1958 – Janice Peters & the Playboys
    • Janice Peters (v) + Jim Sullivan (g) + Tony Sheridan (g) + Brian Locking (b) + Brian Bennett (d)
  • 1959 – Marty Wilde’s Wildcats
    • Jim Sullivan (g) + Tony Belcher (g) + Brian Locking (b) + Brian Bennett (d)
  • 1961 – The Krew Kats
    • Jim Sullivan( g) + Tony Belcher (g) + Brian Locking (b) + Brian Bennett (d)
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