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Monday 2nd

A traumatic three week period begins for Cliff Richard who loses his voice with laryngitis and is in a near state of collapse due to the hectic work schedule placed on him.
He was due to begin a week long residency at the famous Lyceum Ballroom in Charing Cross, London, but rioting broke out on the first night. Cliff was pelted with tomatoes and eggs and the concert was abandoned before he even sang a note of his opening number “Baby I Don’t Care”.

Cliff recalled on the Gloria Hunniford TV show in 1986 that the show opened with Jet starting up the bass line for “Baby I Don’t Care” as the revolving stage swung into action and slowly revealing the group in silhouette. Within seconds a barrage of missiles including eggs, fruit and large penny coins were aimed at Cliff, who was already feeling rough and succumbing to illness by this time. “The revolving stage didn’t even stop,” laughed Cliff, “it just carried on full circle. The curtains came down and that was the end of the show. I hadn’t even sung the first line of the first song.”

Cliff lost his voice completely at the worst possible time as on the following Monday and Tuesday 9th and 10th February he was due to record his debut album live before a selected audience at the Abbey Road Studios in London. In order to get himself fit again he cancelled the remainder of the Lyceum Ballroom dates until Saturday 7th February and an appearance on ATV’s Jack Jackson Show on Wednesday 4th February. The one booking Cliff didn’t want to miss was his “Oh Boy!” appearance the following Saturday (7th February) as he was due to sing five solo numbers and three duets on the show. But his condition deteriorated rapidly and he was forced to cancel on Friday, the day before the live broadcast. SEE NME ARTICE 6TH February “CLIFF’S SORE THROAT LEAVES 'OH BOY!' DOUBT.

Cliff managed to fulfil the debut album recordings despite the laryngitis. He had appealed to Columbia (EMI) for them to postpone the sessions but they insisted it went ahead as they had spent £200 on setting up the studio and arranging travel and refreshments for the 200 fans drafted in from both this country and Europe. “I sang some duff notes on that album” noted Cliff, but nevertheless it has still come to be regarded as one of Cliff’s classic recordings.

On the Wednesday morning after the recordings (11th February) Cliff had totally lost his voice again. He was due to embark on a five day concert tour that day, but he was almost speechless. A doctor was called who warned Cliff not to sing for two weeks and a holiday break was advisable. Cliff however refused to disappoint his northern fans. Throughout a 200 mile motor journey from London to Hull he treated his throat as medically prescribed, but on arrival at the theatre his condition had not improved. He bravely undertook both performances that night (11th February) but singing was physically impossible. The audience still applauded and cheered however at his courage.

To make matters worse both Drifters drummer Tony Meehan and rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch went down with the ‘flu’ after the show. As a result the other four dates on the tour at Wigan, Newcastle and Sheffield were cancelled. After recuperating at home for two days he joined his friends Ray Ernstone and Dave Riley and travelled on impulse to Brighton for the weekend of (14th and 15th February) to get away from it all . (SEE NME ARTICLE “MY LOST WEEKEND “ 20th FEBRUARY.) He finally regained his voice and returned to his live concert schedule the following Saturday 21st February at the Town Hall, Birmingham.

Read 2469 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 21:28
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