on 10 January 2003
As someone faced with an hour-long commute every morning and evening, this 6-CD collection slipped perfectly into the magazine of my in-car CD player and kept me entertained for a whole week.
From the first track, which was flipped to give Cliff his first hit with "Move It", (It's amazing how many hits have started out as B-sides, such as "Girl Don't Come" by Sandie Shaw, "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart, "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder, and "Rock and Roll Part Two" by Gary Glitter. Do record industry people really know what they are doing? Don't answer that!) to the last, we see Cliff move through a series of cycles, going from Rock and Roll to Pop to "naff" and then back to Rock and Roll and to Pop again.
Initial highlights include most of disc 1 and up to track 17 on disc 2, "All My Love".
After this Cliff bobs up and down (mainly down), alternating many examples of the naff, such as "Congratulations", "Good Times" and "Flying Machine", with a few examples of the good, such as "Silvery Rain," and one or two examples of the profound, such as "With The Eyes Of A Child." This last track set a style that he has followed on occasions throughout his remaining career. Cliff also demonstrates an excellent affinity with Country and Western through "(You Keep Me) Hanging On" and "Honky Tonk Angel."
In 1976 Cliff's star rises dramatically with "Miss You Nights" and remains in the ascendant with a long string of strong rock, pop and ballads, which extends right up to the start of the new millennium with "The Millennium Prayer".
1997 sees Cliff exhibiting voice problems in "Can't Keep This Feeling In" - he is, after all, mere flesh and blood - and 2001 sees the awful "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" medley, pushed into the charts on the back of a shamelessly promotional and self-congratulatory TV special.
Thank heavens Cliff released "Let Me Be The One" afterwards and therefore didn't end this collection on a seriously bum note!
As a compilation for the avid Cliff follower this deserves five stars for breadth and depth, but I will only give it four. Why?
Well, I have two gripes: -
Firstly the wrong version of "Bachelor Boy" is included. This version appeared in stereo form on "40 Golden Greats" and in mono-reprocessed-for-stereo form on "The Whole Story", but is not the version that topped the charts in December 1962. It is most likely an alternative take from the original session.
Secondly, a number of the early tracks are in their original mono mixes but, for some unknown reason, re-processed to give a very bad stereo effect with a kind of "beat" or "shimmer" that occasionally upsets the ears and makes Cliff sound like he is singing in the bathroom rather than in the studio. In the last few years, and after 30 years or more (sigh), companies such as Motown have discovered that people are not actually fixated on stereo and that an authentic, un-doctored mono mix is often worth ten times a poor stereo mix, both in terms of musical impact and nostalgia value. In Cliff's case there are good mono and stereo mixes available of many of the affected tracks, so why go to the trouble of making sure that we get neither?
on 23 March 2003
Cliff is probably the finest singer Britain ever produced. Listen to this collection in its entirety and you will find it extremely difficult to disagree.
This guy can sing:
- hard, beautiful, frenetic Rock & Roll
("Move It", "Living Loving Doll", "It'll Be Me".) He's been accused of being just another Elvis impersonator, I've heard many 60s singers who sound, I fear, like Elvis clones; mimicking that overused, irritating Elvis vibrato without the Elvis charm; but Cliff is nothing like that. Yes the influence is felt, particularly in "Dynamite" and "It'll Be Me" but his voice had its own unique texture; his higher notes had a tangy, fresh sweetness; his lower ones a haunting intensity; which comes out in most early recordings.
If you listen to this in its entirety you will only marvel; gape in awe; swoon at how effortlessly versatile Cliff adapts his great voice from genre to genre; how he can sing from bass to falsetto, hard or soft; how he can melt delicate vocals into a beautiful acoustic accompanies or belt out (melodically, mind), a full-throated blistering rock sound over harsh electric guitars or rich keyboard orchestrations; how he can soar to incredible heights with deep, heartfelt feeling in soul songs; how he can be fast, fun and funky in dance songs. He can outclass almost anyone in almost any genre.
In the late 60s and early 70s he went off-track; he produced chirpy but lightweight, throwaway pop ("Goodbye Sam Hello Samantha" and singalong oom-pah-pah gospel songs ("Good Times Better Times", "Big Ship".) Anyone could sing these songs. They couldn't bring out the magic of his voice. But there are some gems from that era too like "With The Eyes Of A Child". Cliff draws you in. The more songs you hear, the more you want.
As the title of this collection indicates, it contains all Cliff's UK solo singles up to the time the set was compiled. Duets and EP tracks are excluded. Among the singles included here are many rarities, some of which didn't chart at all in the UK (he didn't have many of those, though he did have a lot of minor hits) - these include Honky tonk angel, which Cliff wishes he'd never recorded. At the time, he didn't know what a honky tonk angel was, and such a song doesn't fit his squeaky clean image, even though it's not the kind of song that would get banned by radio, even in 1974.
All the classics are here (up to April 2002 - he's not finished yet) including his UK number ones from Living Doll (summer 1959) to The millenium prayer - actually Auld lang syne sung to the tune of The Lord's prayer (December 2000). Cliff adapted his sound through the years to keep abreast of changing fashions in pop music. Generally, I prefer his sixties music - this was his most successful period, but it's also my favorite decade as far as pop music is concerned. Your favorites will depend on which pop era you like best.
His most popular songs of the seventies are probably Devil woman, Miss you nights and We don't talk anymore - these are the ones normally used in various artists compilations - while the eighties are probably best remembered for Mistletoe and wine. Both of these decades (and the nineties) are well represented by these and many other songs.
This six-CD set shows what a remarkable career Cliff has already had (and you could fill another CD with the duets). The only sadness is that he never made it in America - but he didn't need to.
on 15 February 2007
The album contains all Cliff's SOLO singles at the time of release, thus 'The Joy of Living' and 'Throw down a line' (which are credited to 'Cliff and Hank' (Marvin) are ommited, as are 'Suddenly' (with Olivia Newton John), 'She Means nothing to me' (with Phill Everly) and songs he recorded with ELton John, Van Morrison, Sarah Brightman etc. Some, but by no means all of these are now available on his recvent duets album. Their ommision here is a dissapointment, as there are some great songs among them, thus only 4 stars.
on 19 September 2002
Sir Cliff Richard OBE. That is the only name anyone needs to know, really, to be able to chart the history of British Rock'n'Roll music from the fifties through to the 2000's. All the changes in the music world, some for the good and some for the bad, can be found on this unique collection that brings together all of the solo singles from this great singer right from the beginning and the brilliant Move It of 1958 to the most recent splendid ballad Let ME BE The One of 2002, every song is here. What makes this collection stand out is the many diverse styles that Cliff has sung throughout the years to produce hit after hit. Rock and Roll, Pop, Ballads, Country, Gospel and to a certain extent Dance are all catered for here in a collection that is excellently produced and is of the highest sound quality imaginable. Great, also, to hear forgotten classics such as (You Keep Me) Hangin' On on CD at last, not to mention the self censored Honky Tonk Angel from 1974 given an official release again (for the second time in twelve months, typical! Wait years for it to appear!!) Forget your opinion of Cliff Richard if it is negative, buy this collection and listen to it with an open mind, you cannot fail to be impressed!
on 12 August 2014
This six CD collection is a csingles collection like no other, but why, oh, why, are Amazon selling this for £149.74? Are we to understand that this singles collection is now deleted and all Cliff fans can expect is a few hits albums such as the 40 Golden Greats, The Private Collection, etc, which are by no means definitive? Thankfully, I bought this one back in 2007 and haven't missed out, but I think we need a definitive singles collection again for fans who are looking for minor hits which are missed off the only greatest hits now available. However, enough of my ranting.
Having bought this box set with some birthday money, I set it aside for a Saturday when I would be at home and from 9 am until about 5:30 pm, save for a couple of breaks for eating, I listened to the whole thing right through. As you go through this box set, you notice how Cliff's style changed from his beginning, to the two songs from the Wanted album which ends the collection and what a surprise: I heard songs I hadn't even heard before such as Brand New Song, Tomorrow Rising and even Honky Tonk Angel. I won't say buy this box set, as I'm sure you won't want to pay such an extortionate price, but it is available for £23 odd in the digital section. Come on, guys, die hard Cliff fans who missed out on this collection desperately need a definitive collection where nothing's missed.
I'll opt for the download as I've got another double album of Cliff's on the way! Shame I won't get the booklet that others here have mentioned but hey, I can always get a book to cover that!
Listening through some of the samples, all I wanted to know was whether these were all originals. Remastering is great as long as it doesn't mean re-recording. If an album has the word re-recorded in the definition, you can probably guarantee that you're not getting what was originally put down. Well, there's nothing to worry about here on THAT score.
The Drifters. Now who would have thought of calling the group that? I must look into the biography if I can find it because, as we all know, there are the others who call themselves The Drifters, and their records are very, very different. But it's true. Cliff Richard DID sing with these guys before going with the Shadows.
The whole spectrum of Cliff's music seems to be included on these albums, right from the very early rock 'n' roll songs, through to the disco-type offerings, plus the many ballads. I simply adore Daddy's Home, for instance. Glad to find that here.
Actually, I only found out about this album after reading someone's review on the other double album of hits I originally ordered. Looked it up, found it and am certainly not disappointed. I'm off to grab me download! Nice one!
on 12 November 2005
Just to say this is a fantastic collection of solo Cliff A-sides.
There are a few errors though - for example Healing Love is the album version, not the remixed single version, and the same goes for Stronger Than That.
Most of the duets are available on Private Collection, by the way.
HOWARD in N Yorks.
on 6 December 2003
Six CDs may seem a little much to anyone who isn't a long-standing Cliff fan. But until EMI gives us an intelligently selected double-or-triple disc Best Of, we have to take the rough with the smooth. We have to endure horrors like "Schoolboy Crush", "Good Times", "Big Ship" and "Goodbye Sam..." and bland rubbish ranging from "Hot Shot" to "Let Me Be The One" in order to acquire not just the acknowledged classics (from "Move It", through "I Could Easily..." and "Lucky Lips", to "Devil Woman", "Carrie" and "Wired For Sound"), but also forgotten gems.
There are songs which leave you contemplating musical routes not taken, like "Time Drags By" (vaguely Dylanish), "Blue Turns To Grey" (by the Rolling Stones), "My Kinda Life" (a Quo-ish boogie).
Relative failures that deserved better, like "When Two Worlds Drift Apart" (haunting, desperately sad - imagine Linda Thompson singing it!).
And as for hits that have faded from popular memory - my recommendations include "My Pretty One", "Remember Me", "Heart User" (imagine Richard Thompson singing it!) and - the real unheralded masterpiece, certainly Cliff's most ambitious single - "Silvery Rain".
A true best-of Cliff would have to include album tracks like "Throw Down A Line" (which I thought WAS a single) and "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music", the Phil Everley duet "She Means Nothing To Me" and the Elton duet "Slow Rivers".
But in the meantime, this will do.
on 25 August 2002
A COLLECTION OF ABOUT 127 CLIFF SINGLES PRESENTED ON SIX CD'S. AS A DJ I FOUND THE INFORMATION IN THE BOOKLET VERY HELPFULL WITH CHART INFO ECT. THE SOUND QUALITY OF THE CD'S IS GREAT AND IT WAS GOOD TO HEAR SOME OF HIS FORGOTTEN TRACKS FROM THE 70'S AGAIN.A MUST FOR ANY CLIFF FAN,MOBILE DJ,OR PERSON WHO LIKES THE SOUNDS OF THE 50'S, 60'S,70'S,80'S,90'S,AND 00'S.