Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard in November 2009
Background information
Birth name Harry Rodger Webb
Born 14 October 1940 (1940-10-14) (age 71)
Lucknow, United Provinces, British India
Genres Skiffle, rock and roll, pop, gospel, Contemporary Christian
Occupations Musician, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, percussion instruments
Years active 1958–present
Labels EMI, EMI's Columbia, Epic, Decca, Rocket, Papillon
Associated acts The Shadows, Olivia Newton-John, Dionne Warwick

Sir Cliff Richard, OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb, 14 October 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor, and philanthropist who has sold over an estimated 250 million records worldwide.[1][2] With his backing group The Shadows, Richard, originally positioned as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard[3] and Elvis Presley, dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His 1958 hit single "Move It" is often described as Britain's first authentic rock and roll song, and John Lennon once claimed that "before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music."[4][5] A conversion to Christianity and subsequent softening of his music later led to a more middle of the road pop image, sometimes venturing into gospel music.

Over a 53-year career, Richard has become a fixture of the British entertainment world. He has amassed hundreds of gold and platinum discs and awards, including three Brit awards and two Ivor Novello awards. He has had more than 130 singles, albums and EPs make the UK Top 20, more than any other artist.[6] He holds the record (with Elvis Presley) as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six decades (1950s–2000s). He has achieved 14 UK number one singles (or 18, depending on the counting methodology) and is the only singer to have had a number one single in the UK in six consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 2000s (discounting digital downloads and counting only CDs, he also had a UK number one single in the 2000s). He is the biggest selling singles artist of all time in the UK, with total sales of over 27 million and UK album sales of over 18 million. He has sold more than 150 million singles worldwide.[citation needed]

Richard has never achieved the same impact in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, three of which peaked in the Top 10, including the million-selling "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore" (the latter becoming the first to reach the Hot 100's top 40 in the 1980s by a singer who had been in the top 40 in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s). In the US, his singles sales stand at around 10 million while his album sales are about 6 million. In Canada, Richard achieved moderate success in the 1980s with several albums reaching platinum status; he has sold around 5 million records there. He has remained a popular music, film, and television personality in Australia (where he has sold more than 5 million records), New Zealand, South Africa, Europe (especially Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland and Belgium) and Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong), and he retains a following in other countries.



1940–58: Childhood

Harry Rodger Webb was born on 14 October 1940 at the King George Hospital, Victoria Street, in Lucknow, India, to Rodger Oscar Webb, a manager for a catering contractor that serviced the Indian Railways, and his wife Dorothy Marie Dazely.[7] Richard was baptised Harry Rodger Webb on 2 November 1940 at St Thomas's Church, Dehradun, India.[citation needed] The family lived in a modest home with other Anglo-Indians at Maqbara, near the main shopping centre of Hazratganj. The Anglo-Indians living at Maqbara were often employed as musicians; a band played at the Royal Cafe Restaurant, Lucknow, and another at the Mohmmad Bagh club, which was the officers' club serving the garrison at Lucknow.[8] Dorothy's mother served as the dormitory matron at the La Martiniere Girls' School. Anglo-Indians did not enjoy any great social status in India and were looked down upon by the British.[8] Richard has three sisters.[9] In around 1945, his family moved to Howrah, near Calcutta, where he started his schooling in St. Thomas' Church School, Howrah, which still exists.

In 1948, following Indian independence the family embarked on a three week sea voyage to Tilbury, Essex, England aboard the SS Ranchi. The Webbs moved from comparative wealth in India, where they had servants and lived in a company-supplied flat at Howrah near Calcutta, to a semi-detached house in Carshalton, Surrey (which was the also the location of the school he attended, Stanley Park Juniors). In 1949 his father obtained employment in the credit control office of Thorn Electrical Industries and the family moved in with other relatives in Waltham Cross Hertfordshire, where he attended Kings Road Junior Mixed Infants School until a three-bedroom council house in Cheshunt was allocated to them in 1950. Harry Webb then attended Cheshunt Secondary Modern School, later renamed Riversmead School (later rebuilt and renamed Bishopslea School) from 1952 to 1957. As a member of the top stream he stayed on beyond the minimum leaving age to take GCE Ordinary Level examinations and gained a pass in English literature. He then started work as a filing clerk for a company called Atlas Lamps.[10] A development of flats, Cliff Richard Court, has been named after him in Cheshunt.[11]

Harry Webb became interested in skiffle. His father bought him a guitar at 16 and he formed the Quintones vocal group in 1957.[citation needed] He then sang in the Dick Teague Skiffle Group.[citation needed]

1958–1963: Success and stardom

Harry Webb became lead singer of a rock and roll group, The Drifters (not to be confused with the US group of the same name). 1950s entrepreneur Harry Greatorex wanted the up and coming Rock 'n' Roll singer to change from his real name of Harry Webb. The name Cliff was adopted as it sounded like cliff face, which suggested "Rock." It was "Move It" writer Ian Samwell who suggested that the former Harry Webb be surnamed Richard as a tribute to Webb's musical hero Little Richard.[3][12] Before their first large-scale appearance, at the Regal Ballroom in Ripley, Derbyshire in 1958, they adopted the name "Cliff Richard and the Drifters". The four members were Harry Webb (now going under the stage name "Cliff Richard"), Ian "Sammy" Samwell on guitar, Terry Smart on drums and Norman Mitham on guitar. None of the other three played with the later and better known Shadows, although Samwell wrote songs for Richard's later career.

For his debut session, Norrie Paramor provided Richard with "Schoolboy Crush", a cover of an American record by Bobby Helms. Richard was permitted to record one of his own songs for the B-side; this was "Move It", written by the Drifters' Samwell on a number 715 Green Line bus on the way to Richard's house for a rehearsal. For the "Move It" session Paramor used the session guitarist Ernie Shears on lead guitar and Frank Clark on bass.

There are a number of stories about why the A-side was replaced by the intended B-side. One is that Norrie Paramor's young daughter raved about the B-side; another was that influential TV producer Jack Good, who used the act for his TV show Oh Boy!, wanted the only song on his show to be "Move It".[13] Richard was quoted as saying -

It's wonderful to be going on TV for the first time, but I feel so nervous that I don't know what to do. I shaved my sideburns off last night... Jack Good said it would make me look more original.

NME - September 1958[14]

The single went to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. Music critics Roy Carr and Tony Tyler wrote that it was the first genuine British rock classic, followed by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over". John Lennon was quoted as saying that "Move It" was the first English rock record.

In the early days, Richard was marketed as the British equivalent to Elvis Presley. Like previous British rockers such as Tommy Steele and Marty Wilde, Richard adopted Presley-like dress and hairstyle. In performance he struck a pose of rock attitude, rarely smiling or looking at the audience or camera. His late 1958 and early 1959 follow-up singles, "High Class Baby" and "Livin' Lovin' Doll", were followed by "Mean Streak", which carried a rocker's sense of speed and passion, and Lionel Bart's "Living Doll". It was on "Living Doll" that the Drifters began to back Richard on record. It was his fifth record,and became his first number 1 single . By that time the group's lineup had changed with the arrival of Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Hank Marvin, and Bruce Welch. The group was obliged to change its name to "The Shadows" after legal complications with the US Drifters as "Living Doll" entered the American top 40, licensed by ABC-Paramount. "Living Doll" was used in Richard's debut film Serious Charge, but as a country standard, rather than a rock and roll standard.

The Shadows were not a typical backing group. They would become contractually separate from Richard, and the group received no royalties for records backing Richard. In 1959, The Shadows (then still the Drifters) landed an EMI recording contract of their own, for independent recordings. That year, they released three singles, two of which featured double-sided vocals and one of which had instrumental A and B sides. In 1960, they recorded and released "Apache" this time using Richard as a session percussionist playing Chinese drums to open and close this single.[citation needed] Reaching the top of the charts in more than one country, the single set The Shadows on a path of their own. They thereafter had several major hits, including five UK No. 1s. The band also continued to appear and record with Richard and wrote many of his hits. On more than one occasion, a Shadows' instrumental replaced a Richard song at the top of the British charts.

Richard's fifth single "Living Doll" triggered a softer, more relaxed, sound. Subsequent hits, the No. 1s "Travellin' Light" and "I Love You" and also "A Voice in the Wilderness" lifted from his film "Expresso Bongo" and "Theme for a Dream" cemented Richard's status as a mainstream pop entertainer along with contemporaries such as Adam Faith and Billy Fury. Throughout the early sixties his hits were consistently in the top five.

In 1961 EMI records organised Richard's 21st birthday party at its London headquarters in Manchester Square led by his producer Norrie Paramor. Photographs of the celebrations were incorporated into Richard's next album "21 Today" in which Tony Meehan joined in despite, then, having very recently left the Shadows to be replaced by Brian Bennett.

Typically, The Shadows closed the first half of the show with a 30-minute set of their own, then backed Richard on his show-closing 45-minute stint as exemplified by the retrospective CD album release of "Live at the ABC Kingston 1962". Tony Meehan and Jet Harris left the group in 1961 and 1962 respectively and later had their own chart successes for Decca. The Shadows added bass players Brian Locking (1962–63) and then John Rostill (1963–1968) and took on Brian Bennett permanently on drums.

In the early days, particularly on EP and album releases, Richard sometimes recorded without The Shadows in order to cater to other styles with The Norrie Paramor Orchestra with Tony Meehan and then Brian Bennett as a session drummer. Even after the Beatles' rise he continued to achieve hits, although more often with an orchestra rather than The Shadows: a revival of "It's All In The Game" and "Constantly". A session under the direction of Billy Sherrill in Nashville yielded two more top two hits: "The Minute You're Gone" and "Wind Me Up" in 1965.

Richard, and in particular The Shadows, never achieved star status in the United States. In 1960 they toured the US and were well-received; however, lacklustre support and distribution from a revolving door of American record labels proved an obstacle to long-term success Stateside despite several chart records by Richard including the aforementioned "It's All In The Game" on Epic, via a renewed linking of the worldwide Columbia labels after Philips ended its distribution deal with CBS. To the Shadows' chagrin, Apache reached #1 in the US via a cover version by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann which was virtually unchanged from their worldwide hit, save a sound effect Ingmann added evoking whooshing arrows in flight created by flicking his fingers on the fretboard. Richard and the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was crucial for The Beatles, but these performances did not help them gain sustained success in North America.

Richard and The Shadows appeared in six feature films all commercially successful,( although the films title was changed to suit various countries' markets) , including a rather odd debut in the 1959 film Serious Charge but most notably in The Young Ones, (the title song being his biggest hit up to "Mistletoe and Wine"), Summer Holiday (which featured a slimmed-down Richard with visible dancing skills), Wonderful Life and Finders Keepers. These films created their own genre known as the "Cliff Richard musical" and led to Richard being named the number one cinema box office attraction in Britain for both 1962 and 1963 beating that of even James Bond. The irreverent 1980s TV sitcom The Young Ones took its name from Richard's 1962 film, and also made references to the singer. In 1966, Richard and the Shadows appeared as marionettes in the Gerry Anderson film Thunderbirds Are GO. In the summer of 1963 Cliff and the Shadows appeared for a season in Blackpool, where Richard had his portrait modelled by Victor Heyfron, M.A.

1964–1975: Changing circumstances

As with the other existing rock acts in Britain, Richard's career was affected by the sudden advent of The Beatles and the Mersey sound in 1963 and 1964. However, his popularity was established enough to allow him to weather the storm and continue to have hits in the charts throughout the 1960s, albeit not at the level that he had enjoyed before. Nor did doors open to him in the US market; he was not considered part of the British Invasion, and despite four Hot 100 hits (including the top 25 "It's All In The Game") between August 1963 and August 1964, the US public had little awareness of him. However, he continued having international hits, including 1967's "The Day I Met Marie", which reached No. 10 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 5 in the Australian charts, and is considered a quintessential summer hit, due to its summery nature.

Although baptised as an Anglican, Richard did not appear to practise the faith in his early years. However, in 1964, he became an active Christian and this embrace of the faith has become an important aspect of his life. Standing up publicly as a Christian affected his career in several ways. Initially, he believed that he should quit rock 'n roll, feeling he could no longer be the rocker who had been called a "crude exhibitionist" and "too sexy for TV" and a threat to parents' daughters. However, by the time Richard converted, his image had become tamer because of his film roles and well-spoken manners on radio and TV. Richard intended at first to "reform his ways" and become a teacher, but Christian friends advised him not to abandon his career just because he had become a Christian. Soon after, Richard re-emerged, performing with Christian groups and recording some Christian material. He still recorded secular songs with the Shadows, but devoted a lot of his time to Christian work, including appearances with the Billy Graham crusades. As time progressed, Richard balanced his faith and work, enabling him to remain one of the most popular singers in Britain as well as one of its best-known Christians. He was a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light during 1971, protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence in Britain, and advocating the teaching of Christ as the key to recovering moral stability in the nation.[citation needed]

Richard's first serious acting role took place in the 1967 film Two a Penny, released by Billy Graham's World Wide Pictures,[15] in which he played a young man who gets involved in drug dealing while questioning his life after his girlfriend changes her attitude. He released the live album "Cliff in Japan" in 1967.

In 1968 he sang the UK's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest: "Congratulations" by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter; it lost by just one point to Spain's "La La La". According to John Kennedy O'Connor's The Eurovision Song Contest—The Official History, this was the closest result yet in the contest and Richard locked himself in the toilet to avoid the nerves of the voting.[16] In May 2008 a Reuters news report claimed that voting in the competition had been fixed by the Spanish dictator leader, Francisco Franco, to ensure that the Spanish entry won, allowing them to host the contest the following year (1969). In particular, it is claimed that Spanish TVE television executives offered to buy programmes in exchange for votes.[17][18] The story was widely covered and featured on UK Channel 4 News as a main story, with Jon Snow interviewing author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor about the matter.[19] Eurovision later ended voting by national juries in a bid to eradicate such alleged scams. Nevertheless, "Congratulations" was a huge hit throughout Europe and yet another No. 1 in April 1968.

After the Shadows split in 1968, Richard continued to record. He had already become accustomed to the Shadows' absence, and was able to record in a variety of settings. Although many of his earliest fans regretted that Richard had tried out songs which were not strictly in the rock 'n roll genre, most had got used to his habit of recording rockier material with the Shadows, while producing more middle-of-the-road material at other times; this versatility extended Richard's career prospects.

Portrait by Allan Warren

During the 1970s, Richard took part in several television shows and fronted his own show It's Cliff Richard! from 1970 - 1976. It starred Olivia Newton-John, Hank Marvin and Una Stubbs, and included A Song for Europe. These shows, for a time, branded Richard as a television personality more than a recording artist. He began 1970 by appearing live on the BBC's review of the sixties music scene, Pop Go The Sixties, which was broadcast across Britain and Europe on 31 December 1969. He performed "Bachelor Boy" with The Shadows and "Congratulations" solo. In 1972, he made a short BBC television comedy film called The Case with appearances from comedians and his first ever duets with a woman, Olivia Newton-John. He went on to release a double live album "Cliff Live in Japan 1972" featuring Newton-John.

His final acting role on the silver screen was in 1973 when he starred in the film, Take Me High.

In 1973, he sang the British Eurovision entry "Power to All Our Friends"; the song finished third, close behind Luxembourg's "Tu Te Reconnaîtras" and Spain's "Eres Tú". This time, Richard took Valium in order to overcome his nerves and his manager was almost unable to wake him for the performance.[20] Richard also hosted the BBC's qualifying heat for the Eurovision Song Contest, A Song for Europe, in 1970, 1971 and 1972 as part of his BBCTV variety series. He presented the Eurovision Song Contest Previews for the BBC in 1971 and 1972.

In 1975, he released the single "Honky Tonk Angel" produced by Hank Marvin and John Farrar, oblivious to its connotations or hidden meanings. As soon as Richard was notified that a honky-tonk angel was Southern US slang for a prostitute, Richard ordered EMI to withdraw it. He refused to promote it despite making a video for it. EMI agreed to his demand despite positive sales. About 1,000 copies are known to exist on vinyl. Subsequently, Richard was harassed by the British media about this single and in particular this apparent career 'anti-Christian' faux-pas. Thereafter, all of Richard's songs on any format were double checked by his management for any conflict with his faith.[citation needed]

1976–1994: Comeback

In 1976, the decision was made to repackage Richard as a "rock" artist. That year he produced the landmark album I'm Nearly Famous, which included the successful but controversial guitar-driven track "Devil Woman" (Richard's first true hit in the United States) and the ballad "Miss You Nights". Richard's fans were excited about this revival of a performer who had been a part of British rock from its early days. Many music names such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Elton John were seen sporting I'm Nearly Famous badges, pleased that their boyhood idol was getting back into the heavier rock in which he had begun his career. In the same year, Richard became the first occidental artist to tour the USSR at the height of the Cold War.[citation needed]

Notwithstanding this, Richard continued to release Gospel-tinged albums in parallel with his rock and pop albums, for example: Small Corners from 1978 contained the single "Yes He Lives". Despite his 1976 comeback, this single failed to chart in the United Kingdom. In 1980, the singer would legally change his name by deed poll from Harry Webb to Cliff Richard.[21] On 31 December 1976, he performed his latest single "Hey, Mr. Dream Maker" on BBC1's A Jubilee Of Music, celebrating British pop music for Queen Elizabeth II's impending Silver Jubilee.

In 1979, Richard teamed up with the producer Bruce Welch for the pop hit single "We Don't Talk Anymore", written by Alan Tarney, which hit #1 in the UK and #7 in the US Bryan Ferry added hummed backing vocals to the song. The record gave Richard the distinction of becoming the first act to reach the Hot 100 in the 1980s who had also reached the Hot 100 in each of the three previous decades. The song was quickly added onto the end of his latest album Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile. It was his first time at the top of the UK singles chart in over ten years, and the song would become his biggest-selling single ever. The accompanying music video was the sixth to appear on American cable channel MTV when it debuted on 1 August 1981.

In 1980 Richard received the O.B.E. from the Queen for services to music and charity.[citation needed]

At long last he had some extended success in the United States following "Devil Woman". The follow-up "Dreamin'" also reached the top ten, peaking at #10. His 1980 duet "Suddenly" with Olivia Newton-John, from the film Xanadu, was a Top 20 hit in America, peaking at #20. Richard continued with a string of top ten albums, including I'm No Hero, Wired for Sound, Now You See Me, Now You Don't, and, marking his 25th year in show business, Silver. The singles chart also saw his most consistent period of top twenty hits since the mid 1960s, with three of them on the Hot 100 at the same time at the end of 1980. His 1985 single "She's So Beautiful" reached No. 17 in the UK. 1987 saw Richard record his Always Guaranteed album, which became his best selling album of all new material. It contained the two top ten hit singles "My Pretty One" and "Some People". Richard concluded his thirtieth year in music by reaching number one on the British singles chart with "Mistletoe and Wine", while simultaneously holding the number one positions on the album and video charts with the compilation Private Collection summing up his biggest hits from 1979-1988. "Mistletoe and Wine" was his biggest seller to that point.

In 1986, Richard teamed up with The Young Ones to re-record his smash hit "Living Doll" for the charity Comic Relief. Along with the song, the recording contained comedy dialogue between Richard and The Young Ones. The release went to No. 1. That same year he opened in the West End as a rock musician called upon to defend Earth in a trial set in the Andromeda Galaxy in the multi-media Dave Clark musical Time. Two Richard singles, "She's So Beautiful" and "Born To Rock 'n Roll", were released respectively in 1985 and 1986 from the concept album recorded for Time.

In 1989 Richard received the Brits highest award The Outstanding Achievement award.[citation needed]

Further top ten albums included Stronger in 1989, which included the UK No. 2 hit "Best Of Me", and UK No. 3 "Just Don't Have The Heart" written and produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman, and From a Distance in 1990. Later that year, Richard scored his second UK Christmas No. 1 single with "Saviour's Day". Richard unsuccessfully bid for the Christmas No. 1 spot again with "We Should Be Together" and "Healing Love" in 1991 and 1993 respectively – the latter being taken from his No. 1 studio album Cliff Richard - The Album. The next few years saw Richard concentrate on bringing the musical Heathcliff to the stage. The production was a resounding success,[citation needed] but the time it took seemed to take a toll on his reinvigorated chart status. Back in the UK during the next years and throughout the 1980s, Richard remained one of the best-known music artists in the country. In the space of a few years he worked with Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Julian Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, Phil Everly, Janet Jackson, Sheila Walsh, and Van Morrison. Richard also reunited with Olivia Newton-John. In 1989, he filled the Wembley Stadium for a few nights with a spectacular titled "The Event". Meanwhile, The Shadows later re-formed (and again split). They recorded on their own, but also reunited with Richard in 1978, 1984, and 1989–90 for some concerts. On 14 June 2004 Richard joined the Shadows on-stage at the London Palladium. The Shadows had decided to re-form for one final tour of the UK, with this concert heralded as their final ever concert as "Cliff and the Shadows".

1995: Knighthood

Richard was knighted on 25 October 1995, the first rock star to be so honoured (Bob Geldof had received his honorary knighthood a full nine years earlier, but not being either a British subject or British citizen, he is not permitted to use the title 'Sir'). Richard was knighted ahead of Paul McCartney (1997), Elton John (1998), Mick Jagger (2003) and Tom Jones (2006) .


Cliff Richard performances

In 1996 he famously led the Wimbledon Centre Court crowd in singing during a rain delay when asked by Wimbledon officials to entertain the crowd.[22][23] Richard was not aware this performance was being televised by the BBC and after singing six of his golden greats, TV presenter Des Lynam commented on this and added jokingly "we'll probably get one hell of a bill".[citation needed]

In 1998, Richard demonstrated that radio stations were refusing to play his music by releasing his latest single "Can't Keep This Feeling In" on a white label under the pseudonym of Blacknight. The single was well regarded and featured on playlists until the true artist was revealed.[24]

In 1999, controversy again arose regarding radio stations refusing to play his releases when EMI, Richard's label since 1958, refused to release his latest song, "The Millennium Prayer".[clarification needed] Richard took it to an independent label, Papillon, which released the charity recording (in aid of Children's Promise). The single went on to top the UK chart for three weeks, becoming his fourteenth No.1 and the third-highest-selling single of his career. Richard's next album, in 2001, was a covers project, Wanted, followed by another top ten album, Cliff at Christmas. The holiday album contained both new and older recordings, including the single "Santa's List", which reached No. 5 in 2003.

For his seven day long 60th birthday party Richard in conjunction with OK magazine hired a cruise boat to Monte Carlo and sailed with his top 80 (out of a possible 500) specially invited guests, mostly from British showbiz, to France. Notable attendees were Olivia Newton-John, Shirley Bassey, Sue Barker, Gloria Hunniford, Tim Rice, Mike Read, Bobby Davro(a Cliff Richard impersonator), Richard's three sisters, etc. Notable non-attendees were all the members of The Shadows, except Bruce Welch, all of whom would have been shortlisted on Richard's original list of 500 guests.

Richard finished number 56 in the 2002 100 Greatest Britons list, sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public.

Richard decamped to Nashville, Tennessee for his next album project in 2004, employing a writers' conclave to give him the pick of all new songs for the album Something's Goin' On. Though the collection was critically well-received, it had disappointing sales. Nevertheless it was yet another top ten album, and produced three top fifteen singles: "Something's Goin' On", "I Cannot Give You My Love", with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, and the lively "What Car". Richard did not hide his disappointment with the album's lacklustre sales, and it was speculated that it might have been his last ever album of original songs.

Two's Company, an album of duets released in 2006, was another top 10 success and included newly recorded material with Brian May, Dionne Warwick, Anne Murray, Barry Gibb and Daniel O'Donnell, plus some previously recorded duets with artists such as Phil Everly, Elton John and Olivia Newton-John. Two's Company was released to coincide with the UK leg of his latest world tour, "Here and Now", which included a number of lesser known but fan-favourite songs such as "My Kinda Life", "How Did She Get Here", "Hey Mr. Dream Maker", "For Life", "A Matter Of Moments", "When The Girl In Your Arms", "Every Face Tells A Story", "Peace In Our Time" and the Christmas single "21st Century Christmas", which debuted at No. 2 on the UK singles chart.

Richard's mother, Dorothy Webb, suffered from dementia. In a September 2006 interview with the Daily Mail, he spoke about the difficulties he and his sisters had in dealing with their mother's condition.[25] On 18 October 2007 a statement on the star's website read, "We are sad to report that Cliff's mother, Dorothy, passed away early on 17 October; she was 87."

Another compilation album, Love... The Album was released on 12 November 2007. Like Two's Company before it, this album includes both previously released material and newly recorded songs, namely "Waiting For A Girl Like You", "When You Say Nothing At All", "All Out Of Love", "If You're Not the One" and "When I Need You" (the last was released as a single, reaching number 38; the album peaked at number 13). The concept of the project has divided fans who anticipate an album of new material.

2008: 50th anniversary

50th Anniversary Tour, Wembley

2008, Richard's 50th year in music, saw the release of the 8 CD box set And They Said It Wouldn't Last (My 50 Years In Music).[26] In September, a single celebrating his 50 years in pop music, titled "Thank You for a Lifetime" was released. On 14 September 2008 it reached No. 3 on the UK music charts. On 2 November 2008, British newspaper The Mail on Sunday gave away a free promotional CD entitled 50th Anniversary containing 12 tracks picked by Richard himself. On 11 November 2008, Richard's official website announced that 20 years after their latest concert together, Cliff and The Shadows would reunite to celebrate their 50th anniversary in the music business. A month later they performed at the Royal Variety Performance. In 2009 Cliff and The Shadows brought their partnership to an end with the "Golden Anniversary concert tour of the UK".

2009: Reunion

2009 Brussels
2009 Brussels

A new album by Richard and the Shadows was released in September 2009. Titled Reunited, It was their first studio project in forty years. The 28 tracks recorded comprise 25 re-recordings of their earlier classics, with three "new" tracks, originally from that era (and earlier), the single "Singing the Blues", along with Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and the Frankie Ford hit "Sea Cruise". The tracks are to be spread across the single and its bonus tracks, a limited edition version of the album, as well as a standard CD release. The album charted at number 6 in the UK charts in its opening week and peaked at number 4. The reunion tour continued into Europe in 2010. In June 2009 it was reported by Sound Kitchen Studios in Nashville that Richard was to return there shortly to record a new album of original recordings of jazz songs.[27] He was to record fourteen tracks in a week.


Richard performed "Congratulations" at the 70th birthday celebrations of Queen Margrethe II in Denmark on 13 April 2010.

On 14 October 2010, Richard celebrated his 70th birthday and to mark the occasion, he performed a series of six concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Over 30,000 tickets for the concerts went on sale on 7 March and sold out within a few hours.[citation needed] To accompany the concerts, a new album of cover versions of swing standards, Bold as Brass, was released on 11 October.

His official 70th birthday party was held on the 23rd October with guests including Cilla Black, Elaine Paige and Daniel O'Donnell.

After a quick week of promotion, Richard flew out to rehearse for the German Night Of The Proms concerts in Belgium at the end of October. He made a surprise appearance at the Antwerp, Belgium concert of the Night Of The Proms on Thursday, 28 October 2010 and sang "We Don't Talk Anymore" to a great reaction from the surprised 20,000 fans at Sportpaleis Antwerp. In all, he toured 12 German cities in November and December 2010, during the Night Of The Proms concerts, as the headline act. The total of 18 concerts were attended by over 300,000 fans. Richard performed a selection of hits and tracks from the Bold As Brass album.

In Munich, Richard added his hand prints to the Munich Olympic Walk Of Stars during a break when the concerts were held there.

With the DVD release of Bold As Brass in November 2010, he achieved his third consecutive number 1 music DVD in three years. It has so far achieved a total of eight weeks in the top 10 on the UK chart selling nearly 60,000 copies. It also charted in New Zealand, and Denmark in the top 10 and in Holland in the top 20—Selling a further 10,000 copies.

2011 saw Richard recording once again in the US for his 'Soulicious' album, containing duets with American soul legends including Percy Sledge, Ashford and Simpson, Roberta Flack, Freda Payne, Peabo Bryson and Candi Staton. The album is produced by Lamont Dozier with David Gest as executive producer. Released in October 2011, the album was supported by a short UK arena tour and gave Richard his 41st top ten UK hit album.

Lack of commercial support

Richard openly complains about the lack of commercial support he receives from radio stations and record labels. He spoke about this on The Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV in December 2007, pointing out that while new bands needed airplay for promotion and sales, long-established artists like himself also relied upon airplay for the same ends. He did note, however, that so-called eighties radio stations did play his records and that this went some way to help sales and maintain his media presence. In the recent BBC Radio 2 documentary "Cliff – Take Another Look", he pointed out that many documentaries charting the history of British music (e.g. I'm in a Rock 'n' Roll Band!) fail to even mention him (or The Shadows).[28]

Richard believes he is "the most radical rock star there has ever been".[28] Richard's premise is that his decision not to adopt the "sex, drugs and alcohol" image expected of rock stars, then and now, was the truly avant-garde choice.

Career achievements

Richard holds many records for the number of concerts held at various venues around the world. In the UK he holds the record for most performances at the Royal Albert Hall, with over 80 performances at the venue with audiences reaching 450,000. He also holds the record for most shows at Wembley Arena, where he has performed at least 66 concerts to audiences of nearly 800,000. In Birmingham, Richard has performed at least 56 shows at the NIA (totalling 620,000 attendees), in addition to over 20 shows at the NEC arena. In Manchester Richard has performed at the MEN arena eight times with over 120,000 fans attending the shows. He appeared twice at Wembley Stadium in 1989 in celebration of his 30th year in music; over 144,000 fans attended the sold-out shows. Richard has also performed hundreds of times in Australia and New Zealand in cities including Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, audience members totalling hundreds of thousands.

Personal life

Richard's father, Rodger Webb, died in 1961, and his mother, Dorothy, in 2007.[citation needed]

Richard is a lifelong bachelor.[29] In a letter written in October 1961 to "his first serious girlfriend",[30] Australian dancer Delia Wicks, and made public in April 2010 after her death from cancer, Richard writes: "Being a pop singer I have to give up one priceless thing – the right to any lasting relationship with any special girl."[30] The pair had been dating for 18 months. In the letter he goes on to say: "I couldn't give up my career, besides the fact that my mother and sisters, since my father's death, rely on me completely. (...) I have showbiz in my blood now and I would be lost without it."[30] He has said that he once considered marriage to the dancer Jackie Irving and later to the former tennis player Sue Barker.

In 1979, Richard was one of approximately 30,000 people gathering at London's Trafalgar Square to protest against the Swedish sex education film Kärlekens Språk, which was showing at a nearby cinema.[31]

Richard currently lives with a former Catholic priest, John McElynn, whom he met in 2001 while doing charity work in the United States;[29] McElynn has been described as Richard's property manager and looks after the properties whilst Richard is away. Richard describes McElynn as a close friend and companion, and Richard declines discussion about their relationship: "what business is it of anyone else's what any of us are as individuals? I don’t think my fans would care either way."[29] Asked about rumours in the media about his being homosexual, Richard has said: "I am sick to death of the media's speculation about it."[29]

Richard has called on the Church of England to affirm people's commitment in same-sex marriage.[29][32] In his autobiography he states that "many of my friends are gay – let's face it, homosexuality has been legal for more than thirty years. For me, the commitment is what counts – and I'll leave the judging to God."[33]

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2010, Richard is worth £50 million. As well as owning various houses and apartments around the world, Richard has become joint owner of the Arora International Hotel in Manchester, which opened in June 2004. He also owns a Quinta in the Algarve, Portugal, where he is involved in the production of wines at the Adega do Cantor ("Winery of the Singer"), a state-of-the-art winery in Guia, near Albufeira. In 2006 Richard received Portugal's equivalent of a knighthood[34] in recognition of his 40 years of personal and business involvement in that country.

Works and achievements



Brit Awards
  • 1977 – Best British male solo artist during the past 25 years
  • 1982 – Best British male solo artist
  • 1989 – Lifetime achievement: Outstanding contribution to music (excluded The Shadows)
TV Times
  • 1980 – Most Exciting Male Singer on TV
  • 1987 – Best Male Singer
  • 1989 – Favourite Singer
The Sun Reader Polls
  • 1970 – Male Pop Personality
  • 1971 – Top Male Pop Personality
  • 1972 – Top Male Pop Personality
NME Reader Polls[35]
  • 1958 – Best New Disc or TV Singer
  • 1959 – UK Male Singer[clarification needed]
  • 1959 – Best Single: "Living Doll"
  • 1960 – Best UK Single: "Living Doll"
  • 1961 – UK Male Singer
  • 1962 – UK Male Singer
  • 1963 – UK Male Singer
  • 1963 – Best World Male Singer
  • 1964 – UK Male Singer
  • 1964 – UK Vocal Personality
  • 1965 – UK Male Singer
  • 1966 – UK Male Singer
  • 1966 – UK Vocal Personality
  • 1967 – UK Vocal Personality
  • 1968 – UK Vocal Personality
  • 1969 – British Vocal Personality
  • 1970 – UK Male Singer
  • 1970 – UK Vocal Personality
  • 1970 – World's Best Recording Artist of the 60s
  • 1971 – UK Male Singer
  • 1971 – British Vocal Personality
  • 1972 – UK Male Singer
  • 1972 – British Vocal Personality
Ivor Novello
  • 1968 – Most Performed Work: "Congratulations" by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter
  • 1970 – Outstanding Services to Music
Melody Maker
  • 1959 – Best Male Singer
  • 1960 – Top British Male Singer
  • 1962 – The Emen Award – Top male singer
  • 1962 – Top British Male Singer
  • 1962 – Top single of the year: "The Young Ones"
  • 1963 – Best Male Singer
  • 1964 – Best Male Singer
  • 1965 – Best UK Male Singer
  • 1967 – Top Male Singer
Disc & Music Echo
  • 1967 – Best-Dressed Male
  • 1968 – Best-Dressed Male
  • 1969 – Best-Dressed Male
  • 1970 – Top British Male Singer
  • 1970 – Best-Dressed Male
  • 1970 – Mr. Valentine
  • 1971 – Mr. Valentine
Bravo Magazine (Germany)
  • 1964 – Best Male Singer – Gold
  • 1964 – Year End Singles Charts – 1. "Sag 'no' Zu Ihm" ("Don't talk to him")
  • 1965 – Best Male Singer – Gold
  • 1980 – Top International Male Singer
Record Mirror
  • 1961 – Record Mirror Survey – Most successful chart records 1958–1961 – No 1: Cliff Richard, "Living Doll" (Richard had three of the top five records and a further two in the Top 50)
  • 1964 – Record Mirror Poll – Best-Dressed Singer in the World
  • 1961 – Royal Variety Club – Show Business Personality
  • 1961 – Weekend Magazine – Star of Stars
  • 1962 – Motion Picture Herald Box-Office Survey Of 1962 – Most Popular Male Film Actor
  • 1963 – Motion Picture Herald Box-Office Survey Of 1963 – Most Popular Male Film Actor
  • 1963 – 16 (US Magazine) – Most Promising Singer
  • 1964 – Billboard (US Magazine) – Best Recording Artist UK
  • 1969 – Valentine Magazine – Mr Valentine
  • 1970 – National Viewers' and Listeners' Association – Outstanding Contribution to Religious Broadcasting and Light Entertainment
  • 1971 – Record Mirror – UK Male Singer
  • 1974 – Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Committee – Silver Clef – Outstanding Services to the Music Industry
  • 1977 – The Songwriter's Guild Of Great Britain – Golden Badge Award
  • 1979 – Music Week – Special Award for 21 years as successful recording artistes – Cliff Richard and The Shadows
  • 1979 – EMI Records – Gold Clock and Gold Key award – EMI celebrates 21-year partnership with Richard
  • 1980 – Richard receives O.B.E. from the Queen
  • 1980 – BBC TV Multi-Coloured Swap Shop – Best UK Male Vocalist
  • 1980 – National Pop And Rock Awards – Best Family Entertainer
  • 1980 – Nationwide, in conjunction with Radio 1 and the Daily Mirror – Best Family Entertainer
  • 1981 – Sunday Telegraph Readers Poll – Top Pop Star
  • 1981 – Daily Mirror Readers Award – Outstanding Music Personality Of The Year
  • 1989 – The Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award (Antwerp)
  • 2000 – South Bank Awards – Outstanding Achievement Award
  • 2003 – British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors – Gold Badge of merit
  • 2003 – Lawn Tennis Association – 20 Years of Service to Tennis Award
  • 2004 – Induction into UK Music Hall of Fame (representing the 1950s – Cliff and The Shadows)
  • 2004 – Ultimate Pop Star (No. 1 singles recording artist in UK)[clarification needed]
  • 2005 – Avenue of Stars (star on the pavement, London)
  • 2005 – Rose D'or Music Festival (Paris) – Golden Rose
  • 2006 – Portuguese Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique - Order of Prince Henry (awarded for services to Portugal)[34]

Tours and concerts



TV series

  • 1960: The Cliff Richard Show (ATV Television)
  • 1961: Cliff (ATV Television)
  • 1963: The Cliff Richard Show (ATV Television)
  • 1964: Cliff (ATV Television)
  • 1965: Cliff and the Shadows (ATV Television)
  • 1967: Cliff (ATV Television)
  • 1970: Cliff Richard Show featuring Marvin, Welch, Farrar, Olivia Newton-John and Una Stubbs (BBC Television)
  • 1971: Cliff Richard Show featuring Marvin, Welch, Farrar, Olivia Newton-John and Una Stubbs (BBC Television)
  • 1972: Cliff Richard Show featuring Marvin, Welch, Farrar, Olivia Newton-John and Una Stubbs (BBC Television)
  • 1975: It's Cliff and Friends (BBC Television)
  • 1976: It's Cliff and Friends (BBC Television)

Other TV Shows

Air Date Episode Viewers[37] Channel
1971 Getaway with Cliff 5,200,000 BBC
1972 The Case 5,000,000 BBC
1999 An Audience With Sir Cliff Richard 11,000,000 ITV
2001 The Hits I Missed 6,500,000 ITV
2008 When Piers Met Sir Cliff 5,500,000 ITV

Stage musicals

See also

  • Best selling music artists
  • List of celebrities who own wineries and vineyards
  • Cliff - The Musical

Further reading


  1. ^ Cliffennium, Volume 1, retrieved 12 March 2008
  2. ^ [1], retrieved 10 September 2011
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Tony Meehan" (Obituary), The Times, 30 November 2005.
  5. ^ Anon. "Tony Meehan". Spectropop remembers. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Top Hits from EveryHit
  7. ^ "Letter to girl shows bachelor boy streak". The Telegraph (Kolkata). Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Stark, Herbert Alick. Hostages To India: OR The Life Story of the Anglo Indian Race. . London: The Simon Wallenberg Press: Vol 2: Anglo Indian Heritage Books
  9. ^ When Piers Met Sir Cliff, ITV1
  10. ^ Cliff Richard; Penny Junor (2008). My Life, My Way. Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 0-755-31588-X. 
  11. ^ Google maps
  12. ^
  13. ^ Richard himself stated that the latter theory is correct; interviewed for the first episode of the BBC Four programme, Pop Britannia, broadcast on 4 January 2008.
  14. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 58. CN 5585. 
  15. ^ Two a Penny (1967)
  16. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. Richard says: Spain is the best of Eurovision Song Contest.
  17. ^ Reuters
  18. ^ Telegraph article
  19. ^
  20. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  21. ^ London Gazette: no. 48318. p. 13397. 24 September 1980. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  22. ^ "Cliff Richard, Centre Court, Wimbledon". Gigs in strange places. Virginmedia. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  23. ^ "Wimbledon 2011: entertainment values". The Telegraph. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  24. ^ "Sir Cliff foils radio ban". BBC News. 11 October 1998. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  25. ^ Daily Mail
  26. ^ - And They Said It Wouldn't Last (My 50 Years In Music)
  27. ^ Sound Kitchen Studios
  28. ^ a b BBC
  29. ^ a b c d e Sir Cliff tells of ex priest who shares his life. The Daily Express. Accessed 21, November 2011.
  30. ^ a b c "Sir Cliff picked music over love". BBC News. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  31. ^ Daniel Ekeroth, Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers, and Kicker Cinema, (Bazillion Points, 2011) ISBN 978-09796163-6-5.
  32. ^ Green, Chris (6 September 2008). "Sir Cliff speaks frankly about his 'companion' the ex-priest". The Independent (London). Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  33. ^ Cliff Richard with Penny Junor My Life, My Way, London: Vox Rock, 2008, p. 39
  34. ^ a b " Cliff Richard honoured with Portuguese award of merit...". Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  35. ^ " Lists readers Pop Poll Results...". Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  36. ^ Overview for Swingers' Paradise (1965)", Turner Classic Movies page
  37. ^ [2]

External links

Preceded by
Sandie Shaw
with "Puppet on a String"
UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
with "Boom Bang-a-Bang"
Preceded by
The New Seekers
with "Beg, Steal or Borrow"
UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Olivia Newton-John
with "Long Live Love"

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