Green Light

Original album remaster released by EMI in July 2002. Liner notes, recording data and discography (with Peter Lewry).

Green Light

GREEN LIGHT was the third Cliff Richard album to be produced by Bruce Welch and the last one to be entirely recorded at Abbey Road Studios. It appeared almost twenty years after Cliff and the Shadows (then the Drifters) first live album had been recorded in the now infamous Studio 2. That was the one that would hold most memories for Cliff’s recording career. As Cliff told us in 1990, “the early stuff that the Shads and I largely improvised and the wise and patient advice of our fondly-remembered producer Norrie Paramor, seemed to occupy a whole era.”

The first session for the album began in Studio 3 at 10am on 9 January 1978, and ended at 6.45pm that evening, and again over the next seven days with much the same hours. Although the first song Cliff recorded, Under Lock And Key, would remain an album track only, two of the three singles that would be lifted from the album, the title track and Can’t Take The Hurt Anymore were taped much later when the album sessions resumed in April and July.

Interestingly enough, paperwork logged at EMI and Abbey Road indicate that several titles including Mobile Alabama School Leaving Hullabaloo, Ships That Pass In the Night, Do What You Gotta Do, Gettin’ The Feeling and Muddy Water were recorded during the January and February sessions but never released. Whether the tracks are incomplete takes, backing tracks only or simply working titles of other material is to this day unknown. Certainly the working title of Count Me Out had been called New Song through the recording process.

With overdub sessions running from January to May, mixing from March to July, and strings added in June, Cliff would break off from recording as early as February. That was when he and the Shadows were locked into rehearsals for their forthcoming reunion on stage. For the first time in ten years they would play a two-week season at the London Palladium, to celebrate their twenty-year musical history. With THANK YOU VERY MUCH, the aptly titled album of the concerts released the following February the gap in between EVERY FACE TELLS A STORY and GREEN LIGHT was filled with 40 GOLDEN GREATS. It was part of EMI’s series of compilation albums under the same title that had already enjoyed considerable chart success since the summer of 1976. The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell and the Shadows had all topped the album charts with their own TWENTY GOLDEN GREATS.

And with Cliff’s twentieth anniversary in 1978, what could be better than to release one in the same series, only now with forty tracks, to celebrate the occasion. In fact, it was in October 1978, one month after GREEN LIGHT was released and exactly one year after 40 GOLDEN GREATS, that BBC Radio One broadcast a five-part series under the obvious title of Twenty Golden Years. Narrated by Tim Rice, the series traced Cliff’s career inn show business through interviews and music. And if that wasn’t enough, there was also the avalanche of tributes from the music press, and even included Cliff and the Shadows being honoured by Europe’s most influential trade paper Music Week during their annual dinner at the Dorchester.

Even though the GREEN LIGHT album had once more hurled Cliff back into the musical fray, it only scored a disappointing number twenty-five position during a three-week chart run. Disappointing that is, by Cliff’s standards, but it was a similar story with the singles taken from the album. Please Remember Me, a song written by American singer and composer Dave Loggins and Can’t Take The Hurt Anymore, the lead and second singles, released that July and November, strangely enough failed to enter the chart at all. The following March, the title track, Green Light, written by Alan Tarney, only managed three weeks at number fifty-seven in the extended industry chart of the Top 75. Not even Cliff’s fifteen-date concert tour to promote the album in November and December seemed to help. And certainly the two concerts Cliff performed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Tear Fund would not have been expected to.

Not that Cliff should have been concerned. Even if Grease, the movie soundtrack that featured Olivia Newton-John had more or less dominated the chart that summer, Cliff’s next single, would climb to the number one position. Replacing Bob Geldof’s the Boomtown Rats at the top spot, We Don’t Talk Anymore, also written by Alan Tarney, coupled with Count On Me from GREEN LIGHT, would become Cliff’s biggest selling single of all time with sales around the world far exceeding five million. In America, where Olivia was now living, and having even greater success than the initial career that Cliff had helped her launch in Britain in the early seventies, it became his fourth hit peaking at number seven…