Monday, February 9, 2009


When Cliff Richard and The Shadows came to Malaysia in 1961, I and Tan Jing Ming took a bus to Kuala Lumpur to watch their first live performance show at the Stadium Merdeka. The bus ride from Kuala Lipis via Kuala Kubu to KL took us more than 3 hours. I was then a Form 2 student of Clifford School, Kuala Lipis, and Jing Ming was one year my senior. Besides Elvis Presley, both of us were also the faithful fans of Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

I remember that the stadium was packed with a capacity crowd on that night and we could only watch the live concert from a far corner. Wow! We were sooooooo thrilled and terribly excited watching Cliff Richards singing our favourite songs such as Move it, Travellin’ Light, Living Doll, Please Don’t Tease etc and The Shallows playing Apache, Kon-Tiki etc in persons on stage. That’s the greatest experience once in a life time for us, the 2 young ones from a small town in Pahang!

For those too young to have admired the fame of Cliff Richard, he is recognized as an accomplished singer internationally with a genuine feel for the music. Also he is once hailed as the 'British Elvis' and still happy with his Bachelor Boy image, he remains as British’s biggest evergreen star of British pop. Nonetheless, Cliff Richard is gifted with a golden voice and, today at age 68, he still retains his boyish good looks. He is, in fact, a well-known English singer, songwriter, actor and also an entrepreneur. He once said, “When I use music on stage, the prime directive is to entertain the public, so it is different.”

Cliff Richard was born in Lucknow, British India on October 14, 1940 as Harry Rodger Webb (his real name), in Lucknow, British India. In 1947, his family moved to Britain. He was the first British rock star to be so honoured and knighted by the Queen on October 25, 1995, thus became Sir Cliff Richard.

Sir Cliff made his name performing with his backup band The Shadows and dominated the British popular music scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Shadows continued to appear and record with Cliff Richard and wrote many of his hits. They enjoyed success with hits such as Move It, Summer Holiday and The Young Ones but split in 1968. Since then Cliff Richard had built up his solo career but later reunited with The Shadows for a string of concerts in 1978, 1984 and 1990. In fact, The Shadows also appeared with Cliff Richard in both the films that I had watched in my younger days, i.e. The Young Ones and Summer Holiday. In actual fact, Sir Cliff remains the only UK artist ever to have a single in the Top 10 in six consecutive decades. No wonder he once said, “I'm always hoping that the longer I can perform I can win some more people over and my career continues to go on.”

In 1966, Cliff Richard became a "born-again" Christian. He declared, “We need to be adopted by God through Jesus - that was what happened to me, and that's what changed my life so that now, I can see that my career can be part of a calling.” He continued to say, “When I became a Christian my confidence grew.” And he also proudly testified, “It is important to have a circle of Christian friends, which I do have.”

Cliff Richard, being a fan of Elvis Presley, had admitted, “Elvis was my idol from the beginning and even today when I’m alone I’ll often put on the King Creole album. He’s produced the most exciting pop music sounds of all time”. But Cliff Richard’s biggest regret was not taking the opportunity to meet Elvis Presley when he had the chance because he felt that Elvis was too fat at that time. He thought he would get another chance in future when Elvis became thinner. That’s what Cliff Richard had to say about it, “The big regret is when I had the chance to meet him in America, I chose not to because he was grotesquely overweight. I’d rather have the magnificent Elvis that everybody knows and loves. If we wait long enough, he does movies and he goes on these fantastic diets, then we can have a picture of me with my idol looking like my idol. Now I really regret it. I’d rather have met him overweight than never.”

Cliff Richard once made a statement, “I'm very grateful because my fans are very loyal.” Here is good news to all his loyal fans. Cliff Richard and The Shadows (Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett) have planned to reunite for an arena tour in autumn 2009 (September/October) to celebrate their 50th anniversary, namely the Golden Anniversary concert tour of the UK.

“It is almost certainly going to be the last time we will all perform together. We just wanted to get together and just do one last goodbye for all the fans,” said Sir Cliff Richard.

Click on to watch and listen to Cliff Richard sing 'The Young Ones' on YouTube.


David Vun said...

It is very interesting to read and thanks

Jude D'souza said...

Have been listining to Cliff and the Shadows (original Shadows) sine 1958. Have just purchased the 50 th anniversary double CD with 29old songs and 21 new songs.
Must listen.

SEE JOO HOCK said...

What a beautiful narration of your past experience with Sir Cliff Richard and the Shadow.

Cliff Richard and the Shadow songs have been my favourites all these while.

Surprise to know that you are from K.Lipis and also Clifford school.I have fond memories of Lipis too.Remember Loh Kwan favourite Ikan Jelawat and Char Siew !! Still famous till today albeit very expensive.

Looi Eng Kooi said...

Dear Buddy...Since you are a "hard core" fan of Cliff, I am dispatching a video clip from my collection for your listening pleasure. I trust you have in your box a real player. I am also a big fan of Cliff.

Tan Jing Ming said...

Kong Peng and I are great fans of Elvis and Cliff Richard. If I'm not mistaken, KP had in his collection all the Cliff and Elvis Singles, EPs and LPs (records). The younger generations nowadays wouldn't know what they are. They are used to CDs.

During our secondary school days, I didn't own a record player, so I always "tumpang" my buddy KP's place across the road and enjoy pops such as Cliff, Elvis, Pat Boone, The Blue Diamonds and the Platters. The loud speakers were placed on the top of shelves over the heads of the tailors working in the shop "Bakawali Tailor". The non English speaking Hakka tailors had to endure hours of pop songs when we two youngsters had our jam sessions. Poor fellows, but strangely no one complained because the boss (Loh senior) also didn't either. He was a really understading father indeed.

I wonder whether KP still have the records or had sent them to the museum. I still enjoy Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Pat Boone's songs. Never get bored with them. I also like The Platters' "Only You", "Great Pretender","Smoke Gets Into Your Eyes", Nat King Cole's "Around the World ", "Mona Lisa", "Pretend", "Too Young", "Unforgettable", Pat Boone's "Bernadette", "April Love", " Remember You're Mine", "There's a Goldmine in the Sky" and Paul Anka's "Diana".

I have a good collection of the above in CDs and VCDs.What I didn't possess during my younger days, I have them now. said...

Viewed the video from your friend. Wow,Great. Cliff at 60 over still can sing and dance like a young man. He doesn't semm to age much. Really bring back old memories. Cliff dancing on the stage singing "On the Beach" with Hank Marvin on the guitar. Where's the rest of the Shadows? Anyway the backup musicians are great too. Thanks old buddy for the memory.

bazwalker1 said...

Hi Max,

Great Blog. I was a schoolboy at Bourne School (military)Rifle Range Road when Cliff & The Shadows played at Merdeka Stadium. It really was a great evening. If you are interested, we still have an original programme in pristine condition of the concert. If you would kindly send me your e-mail address I will scan it and send it to you to include on this fantastic Blog. Also everyone, don't forget the Everly Brothers.
They were just brilliant. Ask the Blue Diamonds ! ! Does anybody remember Russ Hamilton who was enormous in Malaya at the time,as was Ricky Nelson.Also,Rediffusion where we had one speaker on a wall which would suddenly burst into life for either one or two hours per day with the latest songs.Fantastic times
Best regards

Barry Walker