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Cliff Richard is still a household name. After a 60-year career, Sir Cliff has certainly earned it, as the British star has sold over 250 million records, making him one of the biggest-selling artists of all time. Although the man is supremely talented, he didn’t make it without some help along the way. On today’s James Martin’s Saturday Morning show, Sir Cliff opened up about the beginning of his career.
The star candidly explained that his first album, 1959’s Cliff, was a solo project, written completely by him.
But after a year of working alone, he was introduced to the now famous members of The Shadows – Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch.
Recalling the events to James, Sir Cliff explained: “I made my first record without [Bruce and Hank].
“They came from Newcastle, and they were coming to seek their fortunes as guitarists.”
This scenario was fortuitous, as Sir Cliff explained he was “sick and tired” of standing behind a microphone with a guitar.
Sir Cliff went on: “My guy who said ‘I will make you a star’ went back and said ‘I’ve just seen this guy who plays like [famed American guitarist] James Burton’.
“So, they came to my house, and we got guitars out, and it was instant!
“Hearing Bruce and Hank and what they did, adding to my drummer and me – we still didn’t have a bass player then – but it just sounded fantastic!”
The following year, Sir Cliff released his second album, Me and My Shadows, in 1960.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios – of The Beatles fame – and reached number two in the UK’s Album Charts.
This was truly the beginning of Sir Cliff’s stratospheric career, as just three years later the star released his first blockbuster film, Summer Holiday.
Later in the program with James, Sir Cliff went on to tell how he couldn’t even get into the premier of his film.
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Sir Cliff said there were so many people at the event that he was ushered away by police.
The star also spent a lot of time rubbing shoulders with other famous musical acts – including The Beatles.
Speaking about meeting the Fab Four for the first time at a party, he called them “friendly and smart”.
He also said the five of them “chatted away like mad”, before John Lennon asked him to delay his upcoming single.
Sir Cliff explained in his autobiography The Dreamer: “John Lennon was very funny and asked me to delay releasing my next single to give their follow-up to Please Please Me a chance.”
At the time, Sir Cliff said, The Beatles had not topped the charts just yet, so were keen to knock any competition out of the way.
The Beatles’ second single, Please Please Me, did go on to become number one in the UK singles charts.
James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen airs Saturdays at 9.30am on ITV.
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