Thursday, November 07, 2013

Still rocking - Cliff Richard

Good to see Cliff Richard on the One Show tonight promoting his new album of rock and roll songs (even if it was hosted by Chris Evans, one of the most repellent people on TV in my opinion). This is Sir Cliff's 100th UK album in a career lasting 55 years so far (with no historic sex allegations as yet - in itself an achievement!) and features some classics from the era when music really was great, including Rip It Up, Wake Up Little Susie, Poetry In Motion, Stood Up, School Days, Dream Lover, Stuck On You, Fabulous, Rave On and Johnny B Goode.

Cliff performed Rip It Up on the show, looking slim, much younger than his 73 years and very fit. It was a fairly tame version of the Little Richard number, but then most of Cliff's product over the last 50 years or so have been tame. But when he began his career in 1958 he was a real rocker and one of the very few British rock and roll singers who had anything like a genuine feel for the genre. Regular readers will know that I don't have much time for British rock and roll, with a few exceptions such as Billy Fury, and I regard it as a second rate copy of the real thing. But Cliff in his early days was something else. His first four singles - Move It, High Class Baby, Livin' Lovin' Doll and Mean Streak - were genuine rockers, and a few of his later 45s were OK as well, including Living Doll, Travellin' Light, Voice In the Wilderness and Please Don't Tease. Things went down hill after that, with dozens of middle of the road numbers and just a few half-decent ones, but by then rock and roll had moved on and Cliff managed to do his own thing with great success. He has become a national treasure and it's sad that some radio stations have banned his recordings just because they are by Cliff.
Cliff was never in Elvis's league, but he is the first to admit that. He was, though, the most important British artist of the rock and roll era. Maybe Keith Woods will persuade him to appear on one of his Tales From The Woods shows one of these days!


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