Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Cliff Richard, Love Songs
33 years ago today, one of the most enduring compilation albums from the man called “the Peter Pan of Pop” landed at #1 on the UK charts, where it remained for a total of five weeks.
As avowed fans of The Young Ones, we’ve been thinking quite a lot about Cliff Richard in the wake of Rik Mayall’s recent passing, and as we’re based in the States, we’ve had the same reaction that we do whenever we’re inspired to give Sir Cliff’s back catalog a spin: “Man, we’d forgotten how many great singles he had!”
You must understand, of course, that we’re American. Not being privy to regular media coverage of his career successes and missteps on this side of the pond, his music isn’t really in the public eye very much here. As such, the act of giving Love Songs a spin in the wake of reminiscing about Rik is a bit like stumbling across a childhood friend at a funeral: you haven’t been around each other in years, you’re not sure if you’ve still got the connection you once had, but within a few minutes, it all comes rushing back.
Love Songs isn’t a best-of set – Cliff had a pretty substantial discography even in ’81, and he’s only continued to add to it over the intervening years, but any Cliff Richard compilation that’s bookended with “Miss You Nights” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and features “Carrie” somewhere between those two classic singles is as good a place as any for an American to dip their toe back into the Cliff Richard catalog. It doesn’t exactly rock, per se, but as pop music goes, it’s smooth sailing throughout.