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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNufA_ZUQOo to watch and listen to Cliff Richard sing 'The Young Ones' on YouTube.