I Don’t Care: Cliff Richard is not a ‘guilty pleasure’

Yes, this post is completely frivolous.

Cliff Richard (OBE) was born Harry Rodger Webb on October 14, 1940, turning 80 years old today. He has recorded and performed for 60 years (his first single was “Move It!” in 1958).  Only Elvis Presley has more top 10 singles in UK history.  Until the Beatles, he was the UK’s most successful act and remains one of the UK’s biggest ever.

Yes, Richard has been “uncool” for large chunks of time, and some would call him a “guilty pleasure”. I don’t. I have loved and enjoyed his music since I was a kid and have never been ashamed even once.

In the late 1970s, Richard partnered up with hit writer and producer Alan Tarney who produced A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, Squeeze’s “Annie Get Your Gun” and many other hits.  They recorded three albums in three years that revived Richard’s career: Rock ‘n’ Roll Juvenile (released September 7, 1979), I’m No Hero (September 1980), and Wired for Sound (September 11, 1981) that produced ten hit singles.

I don’t know if you’d call him chaste or asexual, but despite being cisgender heterosexual, Cliff Richard never dated, married or (as he claims) never had sex. And considering his image in the 1950s and 1960s was a pretty boy attracting women, it was unusual even then.

Richard was always and still is a fanatical christian.  But unlike a lot of relgious types, he strictly segregated his albums – pop music on these records, religion on those, and they were never mixed. As an atheist, that made being a fan easier.

In 2014, accusations were made against Richard that he was involved with Jimmy Savile’s crimes. Not only were the allegations utterly false, the UK cops were forced to backtrack and apologize for even investigating and entering Richard’s home “looking for evidence”. He was about the only person accused who came away squeaky clean.  (Unfortunately, his response has been to selfishly push for a “protection for the accused” law which would make it harder for sex abuse victims to take cases to court.)  He’s far from perfect and has an inflated ego, but he is far from the worst celebrity ever.

Here are a few of my favourite songs, most from his official youtube channel:

The Young Ones (1962)

Summer Holiday (1963), theme song from the movie of the same name.

It’s All in the Game (1963)

Congratulations (1968)

Devil Woman (1976), an unusual title and topic for a rabid christian.

We Don’t Talk Anymore (1979)

Carrie (1980)

A Little In Love (1981)

Give A Little Bit More (1981)

Wired For Sound (1981) is pure 1980s:

Walking about with a head full of music
Cassette in my pocket and I’m gonna use it
Stereo out on the street you know
Into the car go to work I’m cruising
I never think that I’ll blow all my fuses
Traffic flows into the breakfast show
Power from the needle to the plastic
AM FM I feel so ecstatic
Now it’s music I’ve found
And I’m wired for sound
I left out “Dreaming” because of its stalkerish lyrics.  (Walking at 4am, calling a woman on the phone?  Yeesh.)


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    My older sister was a big fan of Richard. I always thought he was OK, but not quite my cuppa tea. I guess it’s a sort of tribute to him that I still find myself humming “Summer Holiday” now and then.