The Hit List
Released by EMI in November 1994. Liner notes (with Peter Lewry).
In celebration of a remarkable career, this collection brings together the best of Cliff’s 35 years in the charts by recognising his achievement as a consistent top five seller. Here we recall a bit of UK pop history through thirty five of his biggest selling singles aptly titled The Hit List, for between 1958 and 1990 Cliff Richard has rarely been out of the chart.
Strangely enough the first of these started out as a b-side, but teenagers’ reaction resulted in the disc being flipped making Move It one of the most important releases on the British rock’n’roll boom. By changing the emphasis from rock’n’roll to pure pop, Cliff achieved two number one singles with Living Doll and Travellin’ Light while Please Don’t Tease and Nine Times Out of Ten pioneered the sound Cliff would keep to over the next few years. Gee Whiz It’s You was Cliff’s first European release to chart in Britain. The years 1962 and 1963 were particularly successful, with When The Girl In Your Arms, The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, The Next Time and Bachelor Boy, all lifted from the movie soundtracks.
Cliff’s popularity was maintained throughout the sixties through a succession of TV appearances, sold out concerts over the length and breadth of Great Britain as well as a number of hit singles that included Lucky Lips,Don’t Talk To Him and Constantly. For the Eurovision Song Contests in 1968 and 1973 Cliff represented the UK with Congratulations and Power To All Our Friends respectively.
From 1979 to 1987 Cliff’s chart entries included Carrie, Wired For Sound, Daddy’s Home and Some People with We Don’t Talk Anymore becoming the biggest seller of his career. In 1989 The Best of Me gave Cliff the distinction of being the first British artist to release 100 singles, and in the same year, hitmakers Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced Cliff’s first dance hit with Just Don’t Have The Heart. The seasonal hits for 1988 and 1990 were the biggest sellers of each respective year with Saviour’s Day repeating the success of Mistletoe and Wine. Although Miss You Nights and Green Light were not top five hits, they are included here as bonus tracks.
The sessions that produced 26 of the tracks were held at London’s Abbey Road Studios. Sessions usually lasted 3 hours allowing three or four tracks to be laid down. Throughout the sixties this became the basic procedure for recording, with Cliff and the Shadows working simply and fast to produce completed takes that would be chosen as the released master and keeping overdubbing to a minimum. Produced by Norrie Paramor most of these recording featured the Shadows but when orchestral backing was required the Norrie Paramor Orchestra would join them in the studios.
The Minute You’re Gone and Wind Me Up, produced by Billy Sherrill were both recorded during Cliff’s August 1964 US sessions held in Nashville and featured American session musicians with backing vocals provided by the Jordanaires.
The remaining nine five top five tracks were recorded at various studios in the UK and France. By this time, recording techniques had changed affording artists the luxury of 24 and 48 track recording and allowing them more studio time. Compared to the early sixties when an artist only had to turn up at the studio and sing in tune, leaving the technical details to the producer and engineer, Cliff’s dedication to his work has resulted in him having a much greater involvement in his recordings. Along with Bruce Welch, Alan Tarney, Paul Moessl, Craig Pruess and Stick, Aitken and waterman, he took advantage of this new recording technology to produce a string of outstanding recordings throughout the eighties and into the nineties.