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Cliff Richard: Sixty Years and Counting

Cliff Richard — Harry Rodger Webb– was born in 1940. He is a giant of English pop music. He has sold more than  250 million records there and elsewhere and 21 million singles in the U.K. He only trails Elvis Presley and The Beatles for record sales in England. He is, after all that, surprisingly little known in the United States.

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Cliff Richard and Princess Margaret

The clip of Richard above suggests that he is modeling himself after Elvis, at least to some extent. Clearly, he was an important figure: The Wikipedia profile says that John Lennon commented that there was “nothing worth listening to” in British music before he came along.

Richard has been a performer for almost 60 years. He has won three Brit Awards and has had innumerable gold and platinum records. The bio at Richard’s site is a year-by-year chronicle that is for those who are very interested. A more useful profile was posted by Thomas Erlewine at AllMusic. Essentially, it positions him as being the biggest pop star in Britain between Elvis and The Beatles – and as a huge star ever since.

Erlewine says that Richard arrived on the scene in 1958. The earliest recordings, made with the Shadows, were his most influential. Like Presley, he moved to the center and became an all-around entertainer. Richard has played Christian music, made movies and shifted to the mainstream musically. He soldiers on.

Richard seems to never have been far from the top. He had a hit in Britain in 1976 with “Devil Woman.” It was his first top ten hit in the United States. He had other songs that sold well, including “We Don’t Talk Anymore” in 1979.

Above is “Move It,” which seems to be the song that made Richard’s career take off. Below is “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” which was released in 1979 and became a hit in the United States.

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