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Cliff Richard Brief Biography


Cliff Richard was born Harry Rodger Webb in Lucknow, India, on October 14th, 1940, and is Britain's most commercially successful solo singer. With over 100 chart hits to his name since the 1950s, only Elvis Presley can match Cliff's amazing longevity, and of having at least one hit in six decades.

Cliff began his career with The Drifters (not the American version!), which ultimately became Cliff Richard and The Shadows. In the summer of 1958 Cliff gained his first contract - with EMI. He was moulded as a solo performer, and The Shads were his backing band, before becoming stars in their own right.

The first recording Cliff made for EMI was the single 'Schoolboy Crush', but the B-side, 'Move It!', proved to be initially more popular, and so this Ian Samwell song became the A-side, and zoomed to number 2 in the UK charts. It should be remembered that at this time Cliff was regarded as an outrageous, even indecent, performer by some. Pelvic gyrations were a culture shock for any puritanical TV owners in 1950s Britain.

Cliff Richard Devil Woman MP3 Download (2001 Digital Remaster)
Cliff Richard Devil Woman MP3 Download (2001 Digital Remaster)

Cliff was soon to reach the top of the charts, with two records in 1959 - 'Living Doll' and 'Travellin' Light'. He was to become the biggest young British act until The Beatles. It was an exciting time for British music, and it was the first time British acts were to make any impression in America. Why Cliff was not among those successes remains a mystery. Cliff and The Shadows toured the States during the late '50s and early '60s, and were well received. Maybe it was simply down to the fact that British groups were in after The Beatles made it, and not so much British solo singers - and, they already had Elvis. The Beatles knew Cliff and The Shadows quite well, and would cite them as influences.

In the UK, Cliff's success continued pretty much unabated. He starred in films such as 'The Young Ones' and 'Summer Holiday' - the catchy title songs both being number ones. He also topped the charts with his 1968 Eurovision Song Contest entry, 'Congratulations', and even appeared in the legendary Gerry Anderson animated series, 'Thunderbirds' - together with The Shadows!

Cliff re-evaluated his career on becoming a Christian in 1964. His conversion, complete with specs, stunned a lot of people. It seemed a bit strange that it should, as a lot of American rock 'n' rollers were quite happy to admit they were Christians, and, more recently, it's never done U2 any harm. Possibly because Cliff had seemed so outrageous early on in his career, it was more surprising.

In the 1970s, Cliff's TV show, 'It's Cliff Richard', was a success, but he wasn't having so much of an impact on the charts - until the mid-late '70s, when he recorded a string of top-notch pop songs for his acclaimed 'I'm Nearly Famous' album, including 'Miss You Nights', and his first American top 10, 'Devil Woman'. Then, in 1979, his first UK number one for over a decade, 'We Don't Talk Anymore'. Ironically, despite the emergence of punk rock, Cliff seemed to be on the crest of a wave.

CLIFF RICHARD UK Number 1 Singles
(date listed, when first reached the top of the charts)
31st July, 1959 Living Doll
30th October, 1959 Travellin' Light
28th July, 1960 Please Don't Tease
29th December, 1960 I Love You
11th January, 1962 The Young Ones
3rd January, 1963 The Next Time/Bachelor Boy
14th March, 1963 Summer Holiday
15th April, 1965 The Minute You're Gone
10th April, 1968 Congratulations
25th August, 1979 We Don't Talk Anymore
22nd March, 1986 (with The Young Ones) Living Doll
3rd December, 1988 Mistletoe And Wine
8th December, 1990 Saviour's Day
28th November, 1999 Millennium Prayer

The enduring legacy of Cliff Richard is that he's never tried to be fake. If he's perceived as being unhip, he's never bent over backwards to fit in, and people of all generations have respected him for that. He's not been afraid to take on projects, and surprise the media, when, for instance, taking on the role of Emily Bronte's brooding Heathcliff.

The anarchic BBC sitcom, 'The Young Ones', was named after Cliff's film and hit, and the show's anarchistic character, Rik, is obsessed with Cliff - unhealthily so! The main characters in this show joined forces with Cliff to give him his first number one of the '80s, with a riotous re-working of 'Living Doll' - in aid of the Comic Relief charity. Since then, Cliff has had a number of top-selling Christmas singles, and has been knighted - as much for his charity work as for his pop career.

Still a bachelor boy (oh how we laugh at that pun again!), he has, in the past, been romantically linked with British tennis star Sue Barker, and Australian singer, Olivia Newton-John. Fans of Cliff have included The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Phil Everly, Julian Lennon, and Jimmy Page - to name but a few. Cliff also made the top 100 Britons list (a BBC poll carried out to find the top Briton of the past 1,000 years), and was as high as 56. Johnny Rotten was among those thanking him for his influence! Cliff has sold more singles in the UK than anyone else - over 20 million, and only Elvis Presley and The Beatles have had more number ones. Power to all our Cliff!

- Paul Rance/ Cliff Richard Stuff




Which One's Cliff?
Author: Cliff Richard

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Platinum Collection
'Summer Holiday DVD'
Summer Holiday
Product image for ASIN: 0233993002
Cliff Richard
Author: Cliff Richard

Product image for ASIN: B0000AQVNE
Summer Holiday

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Cliff Richard Featuring The Shadows - EP [2002]

Product image for ASIN: B00005BCHQ
I'm Nearly Famous

'Expresso Bongo DVD'
Expresso Bongo [1959]

Product image for ASIN: B00006372R
Every Face Tells a Story

The Young Ones - The Movie

Product image for ASIN: B0000073C5
Cliff Richard
40 Golden Greats - CD

International Cliff Richard Movement website

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