Thank You Very Much
Original album remaster released by EMI in July 2004. Liner notes, recording data and discography (with Peter Lewry).
Early in 1978, Cliff was recording Green Light, his third album to be produced by Bruce Welch since the I’m Nearly Famous renaissance. From 22-25 February however he would be breaking from sessions to rehearse at Abbey Road Studios for the concerts that would eventually be released as Thank You Very Much, Cliff’s fifth live album to be released in Great Britain. Apart from the then unreleased Kingston set, Cliff’s first live-in-the-studio album, and any of those released overseas, this would, strangely enough, be the first live album in the UK to feature Cliff and The Shadows together. For the live albums previously released – such as Cliff In Japan and Live At The Talk Of The Town – Cliff was accompanied by the Norrie Paramor Orchestra, and for another live-in-the-studio album Help It Along in 1974, he was backed by the Barrie Guard Orchestra.
But of course Thank You Very Much was a very different story. It marked the 20th anniversary of Cliff and The Shadows, even though they had not performed or recorded as a combo for ten years, since The Shadows split up and went their separate ways (just six months after completing Established 1958, an album released ten years after they started out as Cliff and The Drifters, and on which the content was shared equally between them). What better way to celebrate their 20-year musical history than to reunite on stage at the London Palladium, site of many of their earlier successes in concert and in pantomime, to play two weeks of concerts from 27 February to 11 March. And, even better to tape three of the shows for picture and sound release!
With a working title of Reunion at the London Palladium, and in other quarters The Palladium Album, and with different front sleeve artwork to the final album and video product, Bruce Welch, wearing his producer hat, supervised all aspects of the recording and post-production work. The shows had been recorded in their entirety, and were followed by a string of mixing and stereo re-mixing sessions at Abbey Road from October through to the following January. There are several songs that still remain unreleased and unmixed, including Walk Don’t Run, Little B, Wonderful Land and FBI from The Shadows’ set, and from Cliff and his own band Every Face Tells A Story, Up In The World, Melting Into One, The Minute You’re Gone and Bachelor Boy. For this new re-mastered edition of the original album however, we have added Yes He Lives, Up In Canada and Let Me Be The One, lifted directly from the mono video masters – hence their inclusion at the end, rather than restored into the running order of the show. Even though these were featured in the released video version of the show, for which remixing was carried out separately at sessions from 1 December to mid-January, they are mono versions whereas the album is stereo, so have been added purely as bonus tracks, to avoid noticeable listening differences between the two recordings.
In the lead-up to the anniversary year, things were hotting up for both Cliff and The Shadows. Both had released their own separate Golden Greats albums the previous year, as part of an EMI tv-advertised series of compilation albums under the same title that had enjoyed considerable chart success since the summer of 1976. The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, and of course Cliff and The Shads, had all topped the album charts with their own Twenty Golden Greats, and Cliff in the same series had a double album with forty tracks. In fact it was about one year after The Shadows took their aptly titled Twenty Golden Dates tour on the road in May 1977 that BBC Radio One broadcast a five-part series under another obvious play on the title, Twenty Golden Years. Narrated by Tim Rice, the series traced Cliff’s career in show business through interviews and music.
Following the same concept as the Thank You Very Much video, but more than just a record of the concert, the video was a tribute in all senses of the word. From original footage of ‘Oh Boy! and rare film of early stage appearances, movie clips, newsreels and behind-the-scenes on the set of The Young Ones, the ‘videogram’ cuts back and forth to the stage of the London Palladium, taking occasional time out for film of Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and being inducted into the army two years later. Featuring the thoughts of Elton John, Tim Rice, Olivia Newton-John and Adam Faith, as well as a few personal reflections from Cliff, Bruce and Hank, it was as popular as the album. There was also the avalanche of tributes from the music press – including, among other things, Cliff and The Shadows being honoured by Europe’s most influential trade journal Music Week at the Dorchester Hotel.
Originally released in February 1979 with a television advertising campaign, almost one year after the concerts had taken place, Thank You Very Much provided an ideal souvenir for what Tim Rice called quite simply one of the best popular music concerts he had ever attended. With unprecedented demand for show tickets, and some not lucky enough to get seats to any of the shows – whether the nightly weekday performance or the early show on Wednesdays or Saturdays – perhaps the only disappointment was that Cliff and The Shads performed only eight songs together in the two-hour show…