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Ten Things About... Cliff Richard

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Sir Cliff Richard announces his new album with a press conference in London

© WENN

Love him or loathe him, there's only one Cliff Richard, and as he continues rocking into his 70s we at Digital Spy salute the British Elvis.

To mark the launch of his new DVD Cliff Richard: 'The Soulicious Tour' Live at the O2, we've scoured the archives for ten fast facts about the forever young one.

1. Sir Cliff was born Harry Rodger Webb on October 14, 1940 at the King George Hospital, Victoria Street, Lucknow in what was then United Provinces of British India. His catering contracting manager dad was Rodger Oscar Webb and his dorm matron mum was Dorothy Marie Dazely.

2. After making a three-week voyage to Blightly when India gained independence in 1948, the Webbs enjoyed short stays in Surrey and Waltham Cross before moving permanently to Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. Today, a block of flats named Cliff Richard Court stands in the area in his honour.

3. Like many young rapscallions, the young Harry developed an interest in the skiffle scene. Dad Rodger bought him a guitar and Harry formed the Quintones in '57 before singing in the Dick Teague Skiffle Group. When rock 'n' roll broke, Harry fronted a band called The Drifters (no, not them).

4. Wily entrepreneur Harry Greatorex convinced his namesake to change his name to Cliff, to suggest a rock-y vibe (like a cliff - geddit?! Groan). Ian Samwell, who wrote Cliff's first single 'Move It', came up with the Richard, in honour of Little Richard, who is still rocking strong today.



5. He may stick to the tunes these days, but for a little while, Cliff and his band The Shadows took a lead from Elvis and starred in some music-filled pics. There was Expresso Bongo in 1960, followed by The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, Wonderful Life and Finders Keepers. Either side of that there was a minor role in 1959's Serious Charge and a cameo in 1966's Thunderbirds Are Go.

6. They wouldn't touch him with a bargepole now, but the New Musical Express (now just plain old NME) named Cliff 'Best New Singer' in 1959. Cliff won the 'Best Male Singer' gong from the Melody Maker (RIP) in the same year. He's won countless prizes since then, including Brits in '77, '82 and '89, a couple of Ivor Novellos, and of course an OBE from the Queen in 1980 followed by a Knighthood in 1995 - becoming the first rocker to get one!

7. Like his 1962 hit, Cliff is a lifelong 'Bachelor Boy'. He says that he considered marrying dancer Jackie Irving and tennis star-turned-broadcaster Sue Barker. His connection to the tennis world was underlined with his Service to Tennis Award from the Lawn Tennis Association in 2003. And of course there was that impromptu performance at a rainy Wimbledon in a rainy 1996.



8. Cliff is well-known for his devout Christian ways today, but when he first spoke up about his faith at a Billy Graham campaign in 1966, fans reportedly wept as they feared the end of his career. He starred in the Graham-financed Two A Penny the following year and laid into popstars for their drinking and saucy ways. He even joined a 30,000-strong protest in Trafalgar Square in 1979 against Swedish sex ed film Kärlekens Språk.

9. You can't keep a good rebel down though, and Cliff was refused entry into Singapore for his long hair in 1971, while his single 'Sing A Song of Freedom' was banned in Mozambique and South Africa.

10. Everyone knows 'Mistletoe & Wine', but Cliff also owns a Quinta in the Algarve and is involved in the production of fine wines at the aptly-named Adega do Cantor (Winery of the Singer) in Guia.

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Watch our recent interview with Cliff Richard below:

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