Cliff Richard- What Car?

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You know that piece of received wisdom that states that Sir Cliff only ever recorded one good song in his life ("Wired for Sound")? Well, he's done two now.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 8 May 2005 15:49 (seventeen years ago) link

And the spread on Geir posting a wry witticism about the recorded career of Mr Richard to this thread is 2.5-4.5 posts.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 8 May 2005 15:50 (seventeen years ago) link

I still wiggle my arse to 'Summer Holiday', 'The Young Ones' and 'Living Doll'. Especially 'Living Doll'.

Affectian (Affectian), Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:13 (seventeen years ago) link

He's like 70 now, yeah?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:15 (seventeen years ago) link

The reason this song is so great is because it starts off like "Staying Out For The Summer" by Dodgy, and you're thinking "Wow, Cliff's down with the kids" and preparing for a load of jangly nonsense. But then he kicks it on some mid 80s playground rap steez, with this tale about how he crashed his pop's career and never admitted to it, whilst the track sounds like Huey Lewis and the News covering Talking Heads, and it's just generally great.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:16 (seventeen years ago) link

65 Ned. And still rocking.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:18 (seventeen years ago) link

is it as good as wired for sound, dom? if so, that puts it in the 10 best pop songs ever recorded, so i fear it is unlikely.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Sunday, 8 May 2005 17:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Is this actually about What Car the magazine??

Alba (Alba), Sunday, 8 May 2005 17:44 (seventeen years ago) link

But, Cliff, STEALING AND LYING IS WRONG. Whatever happened to Honour Thy Father And Mother, Cliff? Is this any sort of example to set the Saga generation? Next thing we know, they'll all be blowing our future inheritances on cocaine and hookers and big fuck-off Harley Davidsons and IT WILL ALL BE YOUR FAULT, CLIFF. Think on.

mike t-diva (mike t-diva), Sunday, 8 May 2005 18:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Come on pretty baby, let’s move it and groove it
Well a shake-a baby shake, oh! honey please don’t lose it.

It’s rhythm that gets you heart and soul
Let me tell you baby; it’s called rock an’roll.

They say, it’s gonna die: oh! honey bee let’s face it;
They just don’t know what’s-a goin’ to replace it.

Ballads’ and calypsos’, they’ve got nothing on real
Country music that drives along.

Come one honey, move it
Well, let’s move
Well, move it

The new second verse:

Come on pretty baby let’s move it an’ a groove it
Dance honey dance baby please don’t lose it
Cos’ all over town there’s a brand new beat
An’ it’s hangin’ in the air like the mississippi heat
Fireflies in the night an’ bullfrogs croakin’
Well here comes the train an’ boy is she smokin’
Headed out from new orleans ’n’ clear to l.a.
Ya’ better get ready it’s a brand new day

Honey move it

Frogm@n Henry, Sunday, 8 May 2005 18:24 (seventeen years ago) link

For those of you who haven't heard it:

http://s36.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=38RD6P87JXJEF03QR9DTTASGBZ

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 8 May 2005 19:25 (seventeen years ago) link

My dad's a total Cliffhead, he reckons the current album is the best one he's recorded for about 20 years and cited 'What Car' specifically as the standout track.

Eh, it's quite good. It's no 'Wired For Sound' though.

('Brumburger' is the best ever Cliff waxing, FWIW.)

retort pouch (retort pouch), Monday, 9 May 2005 02:59 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm just listening to this again. There's something quite unsettling about Cliff serenading his "Daddy" in this way. Wouldn't his dad be about 107 years old by now?

retort pouch (retort pouch), Monday, 9 May 2005 03:13 (seventeen years ago) link

Pretty well everything Cliff put out between "Miss You Nights" and "Wired For Sound" is great, as was the electropop album he did with Alan Tarney in '87 (Cliff does Saint Etienne!).

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:11 (seventeen years ago) link

It's about time we had a Cliff thread; he's done some corkers. In addition to the above, I think Carrie has dated really well in a post-punk/pub rock way, and Please Don't Tease is a great tune, but my personal fave is The Time In Between - a 1965 'thrash-bossa' single with The Shadows, which no-one seem to have heard.

Jez (Jez), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:19 (seventeen years ago) link

I have - it was released between two ballads ("On My Word" and "Wind Me Up") and charted significantly less well than either (#22) but it's a bit of a cracker, the Shads by '65 well into their neurotic fuzzbox stage ("Stingray" etc.).

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:39 (seventeen years ago) link

(Cliff does Saint Etienne!).

Tell me it was "Kiss and make up" !

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:41 (seventeen years ago) link

More "Hobart Paving" I would have said.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:45 (seventeen years ago) link

Very enlightening thread, as I only really recall hearing "We Don't Talk Anymore" (which I love), "Devil Woman," "Blue Turns to Grey," maybe "Move It" and perhaps one or two other early ones. Over here, those first two are among only three Top Ten charters ever.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:50 (seventeen years ago) link

I like that Cliff is saying "him-up-there is going to kick your arse" on that sleeve. Or is he doing some sort of one-horned Devil sign instead?

NickB (NickB), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:53 (seventeen years ago) link

"Check it out, still got the hair"?

NickB (NickB), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:53 (seventeen years ago) link

MY! Invisible Mobile.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:58 (seventeen years ago) link

"STINGRAY" was the third single I ever owned!

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 9 May 2005 07:59 (seventeen years ago) link

The trouble with "What Car" is that it doesn't tell the story very well. More or less everything's explained in the first verse, so that by the time Cliff gets to the last verse, it's like "Yeah, we know already". Still, it can be difficult for old people when they start repeating themselves, so maybe we should make allowances.

Musically, though - yeah, it basically works. Has he been buying Uncut magazine for the past few years, or what?

mike t-diva (mike t-diva), Monday, 9 May 2005 08:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Not so much Uncut - the song is noticeably free of tequila-soaked barbed wire at the crossroads - but he might have been reading the Nakde Maja recently... ;-)

But yes, that cover - Cliff Says: DON'T TRY IT

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 9 May 2005 08:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Or even the NAKED Maja drat...

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 9 May 2005 08:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Right, I've heared it now.

Cliff, you are a mad crazy person. The plot is basically lifted from Ferris Bueller, with a bit of "And now we're older, my dad is on his last legs, should I confess? Blummin NO!" reflection. Which is also an astounding conclusion for clifford.

It is, as stated above, generally great.

But of course, possibly the only way you will hear it is:

1) Listen to Radio 2 (which may be better thesedays, but no way good enough)
2) Buy one,
3) Click that link above...

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 07:14 (seventeen years ago) link

as was the electropop album he did with Alan Tarney in '87 (Cliff does Saint Etienne!)

Alan Tarney of course produced the single version of You're in a bad way, which is more lush and airy compared to the mix they used on So tough. Ideally they should complete the circle and produce Sir Cliff now.

Billy Dods (Billy Dods), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 07:44 (seventeen years ago) link

That would be potentially astonishing, if they could pull it off.

(nb: the album in question is called Always Guaranteed and is still available)

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 07:46 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, David Essex is on the new St Et album, so maybe it isn't out of the question.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 08:17 (seventeen years ago) link

i liked the "something's goin' on" single and was tempted to try the LP. will definitely check it out now.

zebedee (zebedee), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 08:31 (seventeen years ago) link

i love stock and waterman and i like "just don't have the heart" and the pwl mix of "we don't talk anymore".

my fave is " some people " from '88 - he sings in falsetto.

bachelor boy, Tuesday, 10 May 2005 09:07 (seventeen years ago) link

and he mentions the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica in 'Some People'


(alright it's actually "the silence", as in "the silence tells you you're not alone")

$V£N! (blueski), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 09:09 (seventeen years ago) link

capital!

$V£N! (blueski), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 10:09 (seventeen years ago) link

I should have made a "The Sound of Cylons" joke back there, I only now realise.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 10:10 (seventeen years ago) link

That would have been good.

I have enjoyed this Cliff thread.

I saw him on Sunday night on TV, at the Trafalgar Square V-E Day concert. (I watched this in full, by the way. One or two of the classical singers were very pretty. I don't get why the veterans are complaining about low-key celebrations, when they had this.) He played some old song from the 1940s - then launched into 'What Car'. (Should the title bear a question mark?) It was wildly, madly inapt. Such a specific song, so ungainly with detail, so radically irrelevant to V-E Day. The smiling energetic eccentricity of the whole gesture was very (Sir) Cliff.

Then yesterday I heard the original on R2: Mark Goodier standing in for Steve Wright. Cliff spoke of how he picks the best material that songwriters offer him.

I wish Cliff well; I like 'In The Country' and 'We Don't Talk Anymore' which JtN gave me; and yesterday 'Move It' sounded very good, when Cliff asked Goodier to play it.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 10 May 2005 14:37 (seventeen years ago) link

The '40s song he sang was "Sentimental Journey" which almost makes me want to start a Doris Day thread - "Sentimental Journey" to "Move Over Darling" (Les Brown to Jack Nitzsche!) is quite a journey in itself.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Wednesday, 11 May 2005 05:26 (seventeen years ago) link


'we don't talk anymore' genuinely has a bit that goes like this :

'but i aint losing sleep/and i aint counting sheep'
and then the backing vocals go 'sheeeeeeeeeeeep' like that.
it got to number 1 and everything.

piscesboy, Wednesday, 11 May 2005 11:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah I know, I listen to the Danny Baker show as well.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Wednesday, 11 May 2005 11:57 (seventeen years ago) link

eh? when was it on danny baker? i'm in manc, so i can't get the london show.

piscesboy, Wednesday, 11 May 2005 11:59 (seventeen years ago) link

It's been a running gag of his for about the last 15 years, including the times he was on Radio 1, Radio 5 and Talk Sport.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Wednesday, 11 May 2005 12:09 (seventeen years ago) link

What Car?

With his 90 year old father wired up to a life support machine and gulping his last few breaths of air through his rancid spittle crusted mouth, cheeky octogenarian and knight of the realm Sir Cliff Richard recounts the story of his youthful joyriding spree. In flashback the young Cliff played by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian fame indulges in reckless driving and jives with chicks at milk bars and other larks. Having cleared his concise and seen his father into the hereafter Cliff loads up on prescription meds and drives his car into a brick wall at 90 miles an hour, instantly snapping his neck like a twiglet. Based on a short story by Albert Camus adapted for TV by Russel T Davies.

-- elwisty (kowalski9...) (webmail), May 13th, 2005 2:12 AM. (link)

I have to know, what is the video like? Anything like this?

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 13 May 2005 08:18 (seventeen years ago) link

How's this doing in the midweeks?

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 13 May 2005 08:48 (seventeen years ago) link

Just outside the top 10.

edward o (edwardo), Friday, 13 May 2005 09:07 (seventeen years ago) link

I like Doris Day a lot, but 'Sentimental Journey' is not a favourite.

I'm glad Cliff's thread is hanging on.

the bellefox, Friday, 13 May 2005 10:42 (seventeen years ago) link

seventeen years pass...

It would appear nobody’s talked about Cliff Richard on here for a long time. I feel like more discussion of the man is necessary!

I feel like he’s someone where I have an advantage over someone older (I’m in my 20s) in that there’s less cultural baggage. There’s some great stuff on his albums like this, a moody, beautifully arranged Bacharach/David oddity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3xpvLppihs

houdini said, Tuesday, 24 January 2023 14:43 (two weeks ago) link

He definitely did do some good stuff.

A Drunk Man Looks At Partick Thistle (Tom D.), Tuesday, 24 January 2023 15:03 (two weeks ago) link

I once tried explaining Cliff Richard to my wife as "the British Johnny Hallyday", and she maintained that this couldn't possibly be the case, there was a three day mourning when Johnny died, he was impossibly popular in France, a better analogy would be Paul McCartney dying.

And that got me thinking - I think of Cliff Richard as THAT big, someone who bothered the charts for decade after decade, huge obsession for so many people. But if, like me and her, you moved to the UK in the 2010's, it's true that you don't get to see much of that anymore, he is not omnipresent in any way. Partially this is due to him mostly retiring, but I'm interested in local's takes - how big do you think of him as being?

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 11:09 (one week ago) link

He sold a lot of records but he's not that interesting a figure. I mean, he's been a devout Christian for most of his life, his private life is totally private, no drink, no drugs, no relationships that anyone knows about. There's nothing much to say or write about him, beyond the piling up of stats on record sales.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 11:23 (one week ago) link

... that makes him sound more interesting than he is tbh.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 11:24 (one week ago) link

I don't know that much about Johnny Hallyday but I would guess he might have added newer younger fans as his career progressed. I don't think Cliff did that so much, I think his fans have just grown old along with him.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 11:26 (one week ago) link

I think you’re forgetting (or underestimating) his Alan Tarney period, from 1979’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” thru till the 1981 Wired for Sound album, when he was very successful (internationally as well) with a very fresh, new wave-poppy sound.
you could even include the run up to that, from “Miss You Nights” in 1975, and especially “Devil Woman” the next year, which was his first-ever US top 10 hit.

the shaker intro bit the shaker outro in the tail, hard (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:00 (one week ago) link

What makes you say I'm forgetting that?

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:20 (one week ago) link

you said “I think his fans have just grown old along with him”, and that’s not the whole story imo, as explained in my post. (and I also wrote “or underestimated” btw)

the shaker intro bit the shaker outro in the tail, hard (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:26 (one week ago) link

anyway, I think the big difference between Hallyday in France and Richard in the UK is that, while both may have been their country’s version of Elvis, Cliff was mostly a watered-down local version of someone the British public were already very familiar with, and Johnny was much more than that.

the UK had been experiencing Elvis first-hand (language-wise as well) for several years already as a hit-making superstar, but in France, there was much more of a remove, especially language-wise.
Elvis was a global phenomenon, France very much included, but he wasn’t nearly as dominant there as an actual hitmaker. This meant that their local version of him (the first to do all these outrageous Elvis things in a French and Francophone context, i.e. Johnny Hallyday) would have a much bigger and deeper impact (also in the long run) than whatever it was Cliff was doing for the British public.

the shaker intro bit the shaker outro in the tail, hard (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:29 (one week ago) link

Those records are over 40 years old! I doubt he's added too many younger fans since then.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:31 (one week ago) link

(xp)

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:32 (one week ago) link

but we are talking 60+ year careers here! you said Hallyday might have added newer younger fans *as his career progressed*, and Cliff not so much.
I agree with you that that probably holds true for Cliff’s last 40 years, but not for the whole stretch.

the shaker intro bit the shaker outro in the tail, hard (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:42 (one week ago) link

"Not so much". I could be wrong about Hallyday, of course.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 13:46 (one week ago) link

Cliff's "Hit" collections have mosty been in chronological order.

Even though "What Car" was top twenty, it's never been included as it doesn't really fit in alongside "Santa's List" and "21st Century Christmas" etc

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:09 (one week ago) link

@houdini said I know I've said this to you lots but he sings the title 'Through the Eye of a Needle' like Edwyn Collins

you can see me from westbury white horse, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:26 (one week ago) link

My ongoing plan at the moment is to right about his eponymous 1965 album - which has an abstract, White Album-foreshadowing, image-less sleeve that looks like a Mo' Wax album from the 90s. And an endearingly multifarious palette of songs without it feeling like you're buying into a Cliff Variety Hour.

you can see me from westbury white horse, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:28 (one week ago) link

Anyway I love Cliff quite a lot. The critical shorthand is the 1976-93 stuff is good but really there are gems everywhere in his career and part of the fun of gradually hearing his full discography is knowing his strengths and weaknesses, how well he worked in certain idioms or with certain collaborators or in certain eras and how everything connects with everything else. He is a fascinating pop star and person with an equally fascinating career trajectory that is seldom ever at all straightforward.

Again, I'm in my 20s so yes none of the cultural baggage most people I know can't get past.

My favourite song of 1976 by anyone (joint place with Ivor Cutler's Beautiful Cosmos at least)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7oEubu3mc0

you can see me from westbury white horse, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:34 (one week ago) link

Was listening to an interview with Scritti Politti’s David Gamson and he was asked what record he wished he’d written and produced. His answer- ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:14 (one week ago) link

We Don’t Talk Anymore strikes me as the song Todd Rundgren didn’t write. It would fit nicely on Hermit of Mink Hollow.

houdini said, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:17 (one week ago) link

I think a big difference between Cliff in the UK and Hallyday in France is most people under 50 don’t think of Cliff as a rock and roller. There’s no reason to. “Move It” is Cliff’s only *really* famous rock and roll era song nowadays and that’s mainly because of Cliff’s decades-long campaign of bringing it up all the time. I showed my little brother a clip of Cliff performing it in 1960 and he was floored to learn Cliff came before the Beatles and was a rock and roll star.
I don’t think his place in the public consciousness is particularly defined by once being a regional Elvis clone. Hell, it’s more defined by his calendars.

houdini said, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:23 (one week ago) link

Most people over 50 don't think of him as a rock and roller either tbh. Having said that, and talking of predating the Beatles, this a really good live album, sound quality is fantastic, performances are great - t
could do without the Shadows' corny between songs banter though.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/513+CVqitnL._AC_SY355_.jpg

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:36 (one week ago) link

Apparently it was turned for release in 1962 because there was too much screaming and noise from the audience.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:37 (one week ago) link

The Live at Kelvin Hall of its day

you can see me from westbury white horse, Monday, 30 January 2023 07:16 (one week ago) link

We Don’t Talk Anymore strikes me as the song Todd Rundgren didn’t write. It would fit nicely on Hermit of Mink Hollow.

ah yes, i totally hear this!

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 30 January 2023 09:04 (one week ago) link

My ongoing plan at the moment is to right about

I can actually right. Trust me.

you can see me from westbury white horse, Monday, 30 January 2023 09:07 (one week ago) link

My favourite Cliff album at the moment is his partly self-penned semi-song cycle The 31st of February Street. It was released at 1974 after a very long gap following his previous proper album and was a total flop but it acts as a necessary and nearly fully-formed prelude to his 1976 I'm Nearly Famous/Bruce Welch/Devil Woman renaissance. Ahem, (it's his Impossible Princess!)

My favourite songs are more often the drumless baroque and acoustic ones - an interesting remake of Travellin' Light with querying strings (all pointed eyebrows and memorable expressions) is really good, and on a similar note is Fireside Song. And then there's Cliff ploughing vaguely Brian Protheroe-adjacent fields:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y-wTGNajbc

you can see me from westbury white horse, Monday, 30 January 2023 09:17 (one week ago) link

I don't think I've ever seen that album before.

Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Monday, 30 January 2023 09:18 (one week ago) link

me neither! reminds me of this:

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91SbaC7qrqL._AC_SX466_.jpg

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 30 January 2023 09:23 (one week ago) link

quite liked that song btw!

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 30 January 2023 09:24 (one week ago) link

It was the end of his wilderness years and he hasn't failed to have a successful studio album since (with the partial exception of The Rock Connection) so it is very buried. Bob Stanley mentioned it to him in his Record Collector interview a few years ago which is the only time I've heard Cliff speak about it.

You’re not thought of as a songwriter, yet you wrote most of the songs on the 1974 album, The 31st Of February Street.

That was produced by Dave Mackay. It was a really nice production – we did a version of Travelling Light. I played guitar on it, which I rarely do. I’m no good at playing it now. So it was a nice album. But you know, you can’t outguess the public, they know what they like. And even though you may make a very sweet album, it’s just not sweet enough sometimes. We all go through that, though. Not all of our albums happen. I should have kept playing guitar. I could probably have been a better writer had I kept playing, but I found guitar onstage a total hindrance.

https://recordcollectormag.com/articles/cliff-richard

you can see me from westbury white horse, Monday, 30 January 2023 09:31 (one week ago) link


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