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Sir Cliff's golden period a 'musical autobiography',
By A Customer
This review is from: 40 Golden Greats (Audio CD)
40 GOLDEN GREATS was the first definitive compilation to gather Cliff Richard's biggest hits from his first three decades in music upon its initial release in 1978. This collection can also be observed as a musical autobiography of sorts, tracing his growth as a vocalist while remaining essentially the same.
Disc 1 features his rock 'n' roll years from 1958 to 1963. Most of his great rock 'n' roll moments are here, including "Move It" (his first hit), "Gee Whiz It's You," "Lucky Lips," his excellent cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "It'll Be Me" and the Elvis-influenced "Nine Times Out of Ten." Some of Cliff's early movie recordings are on this disc as well, like "Livin' Doll" (his first UK #1 hit), "The Young Ones," "Summer Holiday," "Bachelor Boy" and "The Next Time." The rock-driven recordings feature the distinctive guitar picking from The Shadows, who would go on to be Britain's most successful rock 'n' roll group of the pre-Beatles era.
Disc 2 covers the period between 1964 and 1977, with Cliff further developing his craft and maturity as a vocalist. There are fewer uptempo rockers and more of the mellow pop ballads that have dominated his career ever since. The sublime "Visions" and the harmony-laden "Miss You Nights" stand out as flawless performances of well-conceived ballads. This disc also presents his foray into contemporary Christian and inspirational pop, with "Throw Down a Line," "Sing a Song of Freedom" and "Power to All Our Friends" appealing to a mainstream audience. The disco-influenced pop-rock of the secular "Devil Woman" would be his biggest hit in the US, peaking at #6 on the Billboard chart in 1976.
40 GOLDEN GREATS remains one of the best compilations of Cliff Richard's hits. The sound quality on these CDs, however, is horribly inconsistent. But throughout this collection, he manages to retain a youthful vocal style, even when confronted with lightweight material. (Does anybody remember "Wind Me Up [Let Me Go]"?) His phrasing and ability to convey soul and depth of feeling puts many of today's popular singers to shame. They could benefit from Sir Cliff's example.