It’s not very often that a singer celebrates over 50 years in the music business, but then Cliff Richards is something of a unique success story. Born in India in 1940 as Harry Rodger Webb, he came to England in 1948, and soon discovered a love of performing, Rock and Roll, and the legendary Elvis Presley while at school.
‘Cliff Richards’ was born thanks to a deed poll name change in 1958, which was also the year Cliff released his first single, which reached number 2 in the charts. The early years of his career saw several more single releases, including ‘Living Doll’, which reached number 1, and is one of his best known hits. In the late 50’s and early 60’s Cliff also made his TV and film debuts, early hints that there was more to him than just singing songs.
Cliff’s TV work has included The Cliff Richards Show, which ran in the 1960’s, which saw the introduction of Cliff’s backing band The Shadows. This band, featuring acclaimed guitarist Hank Marvin, went on to tour and record with Cliff in the early stages of his career, before embarking on their own musical adventure.
Then there were the films, and associated film soundtracks/singles. Notable among them was the ‘Young Ones’ released in 1961, which Cliff sang the title track for, and ‘Summer Holiday’, which was released in 1963, and featured Cliff on a famous double decker bus with new tyres. His career has also seen him take to the stage in straight theatre, and appear in pantomime.
Music was always at the forefront of Cliff’s career though, especially in the 60’s, when records were churned out at rapid pace. For Cliff, this meant the release of four albums in 1965, after he was voted top male singer by NME readers, two albums in 1966 called ‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘Kinda Latin’, and three albums in 1967. Other achievements included two appearances representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, and in 1971, an Ivor Novello award for ‘Outstanding Services To British Music’.
An impressive number of singles and albums followed, and Cliff can now claim to have had hit singles in every decade since the 50’s. By the time 2008 came around, he had clocked up 1,170 weeks in the charts.
The Shadows played with Cliff until 1969, later coming back for reunions and anniversary concerts, but they were by no means the only people featuring in Cliff’s career. An eclectic range of other musicians, singers, and writers feature, including Olivia Newton John, who he recorded duet ‘Suddenly’ with in 1980, Lionel Bart, who he wrote ‘Living Doll’ with, and regular collaborator Chris Eaton, who wrote ‘Saviours Day’ for Cliff.
This site is a journey into the worlds of Cliff and The Shadows, their joint work, and separate projects. Who could forget Cliff singing at a rain soaked Wimbledon, or receiving his OBE from the Queen. With one of the best known instrumental bands in the UK also involved in Cliff’s career, this is sure to be an interesting story.