TAKE FIVE

A constant knight of songs

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SIR CLIFF Richard: His fans included The Beatles’ John Lennon.

Exactly how “veteran” is veteran British pop and rock singer Cliff Richard?

For starters, Cliff, or Harry Rodger Webb (his birth name), was born in 1940. His 1958 hit single “Move It” is widely considered Britain’s first “real” rock ’n’ roll song, coming out four years before the Beatles recorded their own breakout hit “Love Me Do” (the late John Lennon, by the way, was a big fan of Cliff’s). Over the course of a 50-year career, Cliff has put more than 130 singles and albums on the UK Top 20—the most from any artist—and has sold over 250 million records worldwide.

Now, the man is coming to Manila, and he’s lugging along a huge chunk of British music history. Sir Cliff, who was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1995, performs in the one-night-only concert “Cliff Richard: Still Reelin’ and A-Rockin’— Live in Manila 2013” on February 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Before then, Cliff reveals more of himself in a recent Q&A with the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Was there ever a musical theater production or movie planned featuring  your songs? If not, would you welcome one?

Yes, there was a musical in which my music was featured but I heard that the story line was not good and the show was not successful. I would welcome another attempt and, if possible, I’d like to be involved in the production.

How about a biopic? Your fans in the Philippines would certainly like that. And, after all, you were a superstar before the Beatles were. Which actor would you like to see playing your role as a young man?

I would feel very honored if someone was to make that biopic and I wouldn’t care who played me!

How long do you plan to keep on touring or just singing for an audience?

As long as there are people who want me to put on my pop-rock shows, then I will. The only thing that would make me stop would be losing my voice.

How different are the songs you sing now in your shows, from those that you performed earlier in your career?

I’ve always tried to keep up with the times. Technology means my CDs sound up-to-date so, of course, I use technology in my stage shows to sound as close to my recordings as possible. Many of the songs that I recorded in the ’70s and onwards were different from “Living Doll” and “Summer Holiday,” etc., but I think that “Devil Woman” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and others were more contemporary but still terrific songs!

Your biggest hits, for Filipinos, are: “Summer Holiday,” “Constantly,” “Do You Remember,” “It’s All in the  Game,” “Bachelor Boy,” “The Next Time,” “Suddenly,” “Ocean Deep” and  “When the Girl in Your Arms is the Girl in Your Heart.” Are there others on your own favorites list that we missed? Will you sing all your hits in your coming Manila concert?

I love singing “Miss You Nights,” “Dreaming,” “Move It,” “Devil Woman,” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” To be honest, I really like doing, live, all the wonderful songs I’ve been given to sing over the years.

You are a noted philanthropist. Which among these involvements are music-related?

I have been involved in many charities, in particular, Tear Fund. I’ve felt privileged to have traveled around the world in their behalf.

Did your life change when you became Sir Cliff Richard? Weren’t they supposed to attach the Sir to your birth name, Harry Rodger Webb?

I changed my name, officially, to Cliff Richard, many years ago. I am no longer Harry Webb so the title I received came to Cliff Richard.

The Filipinos are known worldwide as a musical people. Have you ever heard a Filipino song that you would like to perform?

I haven’t heard many Filipino songs, but I know that you Filipinos sing very well. Maybe I’ll hear something on this visit, so who knows?

We’ve been watching some of your recent shows on YouTube—they’re quite big and serious projects, production-wise. Will your Manila concert be on that level?

Yes, it will be, and hope the fans will like it.

What are you looking forward to doing in Manila outside of the concert?

Unfortunately, we leave the Philippines immediately after the performance date, so we won’t have time to enjoy your city. I hope the next time we will be given time to relax in Manila!

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