I heard in the news this week that there is a radio station, Absolute Radio 60s, that is refusing to play anything by Cliff Richard as they don’t believe he is relevant. Is this a contemporary urban station or a specialist rock or punk station? No it’s a 60s station. Now I’m not a big fan of Cliff but to refuse to play him on a 60s radio station is frankly stupid! Click here to read the story on the BBC.
In the late 50s Cliff Richard was quite a groundbreaker for British rock n roll. Try listening to “Move It” again, it’s a classic. As for the 60s Cliff had stacks of UK hits including a fair amount of number ones. Many of these were hits across Europe. He may have not had much success in the USA but it’s hard to deny how big he was elsewhere. “Summer Holiday”, “Bachelor Boy”, “Livin’ Doll” and “The Young Ones” to name but a few are classic 60s pop songs. You could also argue that Cliff’s Eurovision runner-up “Congratulations” is also a brilliant pop song, although personally I don’t like that one.
I really don’t like his schmaltzy Christmas songs and things like “Millennium Prayer” But that is no good reason to deny how strong his 60s output was. He may not have taken music forward in the way that perhaps his label mates at the time, the Beatles did. But he became a star before they did and perhaps without the likes of Cliff, Tommy Steele, Lonnie Donegan to pave the way the Beatles may not have had the same trajectory.
As for that 60s station refusing to play Cliff Richard, surely if you run a 60s station you play 60s music, specifically 60s hits. Well that’s what I would do and a formulaic operation like that means that effectively your own taste doesn’t really come into it!
What do you folks think of this issue?