Cliff Richard CliffRichardCliff4

Cliff as Peel would undoubtedly prefer to remember him.

"There can be little doubt that Cliff has tussled with sin and by and large won. But he does seem to be having a spot of bother with the sin of pride." ('Cliff Richard,' Observer, 1985-11-10, reprinted in Olivetti Chronicles, Corgi 2008, p.348.)

Cliff Richard (1940- ) was born Harry Webb in Lucknow, India. He has had an entertainment career that has spanned seven decades and racked up colossal sales, both as a solo artist and with his original backing band, the Shadows. He has gone from being a rock'n'roll contender to family entertainer and never compromised his clean-cut image in the process. In tandem with his music career, Richard is a committed Christian who evangelises constantly and has released several LPs with a Biblical basis (although these have admittedly sold poorly in comparison to his pop material): he classes the majority of his music as 'rockspell.' He seems to be permanently either in the UK top ten or at number 1 for Christmas (although only Mistletoe And Wine and Saviour's Day actually managed to perform the latter feat), and has worked with a wide variety of artists, even spending a while being produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

Peel appears to have been simultaneously enamoured of his early rock'n'roll style while being scathingly critical of Richard's more populist ventures, such as singing his Eurovision Song Contest entry "Congratulations" for the Queen Mother at VE Day [1], and regularly mentioned that contact between the two of them seemed to be waning. For example, he mentioned in 1976 that Richard had not sent him a Christmas card (although when he did, they were printed); and JP disappeared from his mailing lists altogether in 1985. Although he saw Richard live in 1987, he had to leave early: "if I stayed any longer I should have some kind of rather exciting seizure." [2] (He also admitted doing this during the gig he reviewed in the article at the head of this page.)

However, John appeared to retain an enduring affection, judging by the longevity of it in his playlists, for We Say Yeah, recorded with the Shadows and included in the wholesome cinema fare The Young Ones in 1962: in retrospect, it seems to retain traces of Richard's roots in skiffle, which would go some way to explaining JP's interest in it. He thought highly enough of the recording to include it in the Peelenium 1962, alongside Cliff's inspiration Elvis Presley. Bizarrely, Ken Garner also lists a 1976 play for the Bee Gees-influenced 'I Can't Ask For Any More Than You', which tends to go along with Peel's soul leanings at the time.

In 1999, Cliff was forced to release Millenium Prayer, a mash-up of the Lord's Prayer and Auld Lang Syne, on his own label after EMI refused to issue it themselves. Although it predictably got to number 1 (but ceded the Yuletide spot to Westlife), Peel called it "one of the most execrable records I've ever heard in all of my life, I think." [3] and "absolutely beyond parody by a considerable distance." [4] Despite the fact that Richard's celibate, eternally youthful, God-fearing persona continues to divide his critics, it seems that he will continue performing into his eighth decade regardless.

Festive Fifty Entries

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Other Shows Played



  • 04 February 1972: 'Move It! (7")' (Columbia)
  • 24 March 1972: 'Forty Days (with the Shadows) (7")' (EMI Columbia)
  • 24 April 1973: 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 07 May 1976: 'I Can't Ask For Any More Than You (7")' (EMI)
  • 31 July 1978: 'Rockin' Robin (with TB Hop) (LP-Oh Boy!)'
  • 02 February 1980 (BFBS): High Class Baby
  • 17 November 1990: Mentioned that he was going to play Cliff Richard's My Feet Hit The Ground after Sludgeworth's Two Feet On The Ground, but didn't have a copy of the record.
  • 14 December 1991: 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 01 September 1995: 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 09 September 1995 (BFBS): 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 31 July 1997: 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 25 October 1999: 'We Say Yeah (with the Shadows) (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • 09 January 2001: "The thing is, as you will all have noticed, is that the technology enables almost anybody to be competent but uninspired, so you get an awful lot of stuff which is beautifully done but pointless, really, and dull. I'd sooner go back to days when you got stuff that was genuinely mad made by people who were quite clearly unbalanced. I used to get tapes from a man who used to sing along with Cliff Richard records. I thought he was fantastic and I wanted to put him on the radio, but they wouldn't let me do it."
  • 22 July 2003: 'Got A Funny Feeling (OST-The Young Ones)'
  • Douze Points: Congratulations
  • Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 6: 'We Say Yeah (LP-Cliff Richard featuring the Shadows)' (World Records)

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  1. "I don't think anything that's going to come up in the Eurovision Song Contest is quite going to beat Cliff Richard singing 'Congratulations' to the Queen Mother on VE Day, which seemed to me to say so much about the state of the nation, really. I mean, it's one of those things that I've been sitting thinking about that for hour on end, and musing on life, and getting really pretty depressed." (12 May 1995)
  2. 23 February 1987.
  3. 23 November 1999.
  4. 09 November 1999.
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