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Friday 23rd

NME reports that the Cliff and the Drifters debut album will be a tribute to some of the great stars of rock ‘n’ roll:

THE long-awaited news of Cliff Richard's first album has been revealed. Many fans will be able to attend the special sessions at EMI's St. John's Wood studios on February 9 and 10. Titled "Cliff Richard With The Drifters," his group will also be featured in two instrumental numbers.

On this LP Richard pays tribute to six famous rock 'n' roll personalities by including titles he considers to be the most exciting they have recorded. These include "My Babe" (Ricky Nelson), "It's Only Make Believe" (Conway Twitty), "Ready Teddy" (Little Richard), "Too Much" (Elvis Presley), "Down The Line" (Jerry Lee Lewis), and "Nothin' Shakin' " (Eddie Fontayne). Norrie Paramor, Columbia's recording manager, who is organising this LP, told the NME it is planned to convert the studio into the atmosphere of a dance club - including refreshments and a Press bar - with facilities for teenagers to dance during the sessions. Release date for the album is April 1.

Because of changes in several concert and TV dates for Cliff Richard, here is a revised list until March 30, when Lew and Leslie Grade launch a nationwide tour of 30-weeks' duration.

"Oh Boy!" TV appearances are set for Saturdays, January 31, February 7, and March 7 and 28. Cliff and the group pre-record a "Saturday Club" broadcast for February 21. Cliff follows a week's "Oh Boy!" stage show presentation - starting this Sunday at the Commodore, Hammersmith - with six days cabaret at the London Lyceum Ballroom, from February 2. Concerts next month in Hull (February 11), then consecutive dates at Wigan, Newcastle, Sheffield and Edmonton. On February 21 he is in Birminham. The Richard group starts a six-day tour of Granada cinemas at Cheltenham on February 23, then go to Doncaster (March 1). One-nighters revealed by Cliff's manager, Tito Burns, for March include Guilford (March 15) followed by consecutive days at Cardiff (17th), Swansea, Bradford, Stockton, Sunderland and Liverpool: a later date is Plymouth (March 29).

John Foster, who launched Cliff Richard's career as his personal manager but later became his touring representative, will terminate his association with Cliff during the next fortnight. Foster is hopeful of discovering other promising artists.


NME publishes the news that Jack Good is seeking some big American artists to appear on “Oh Boy!” This is a particularly interesting story because behind the scenes much more was going on than this article reveals:

ABC-TV's Jack Good is hoping to use top American rock artists in his weekly "Oh Boy!" show. He has asked the big London agencies to see if they can line up some topline American stars for him. He told the NME: "I would like to book people like Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent, if they are available." Rehearsals have been progressing this week on the "Oh Boy!" stage show, which opens for seven days at the Commodore Theatre, Hammersmith, on Sunday. Bookings are already heavy, particularly for Thursday, and many coach-loads of fans are travelling from the provinces specially for the show.


When Marty Wilde returns to "Oh Boy!" on February 7, he will be teamed with Cliff Richard on three numbers. This programme will present 32 items in 26 minutes. Shirley Bassey makes her second appearance on February 14, and includes a comedy duet with Marty Wilde. Newcomer Rikki Henderson is booked for the following week (21st).


CLIFF RICHARD, despite his almost jet-speed rise to fame, still manages to retain a naturalness that is thoroughly refreshing. This is perhaps the main reason why he has captured so many fervent young admirers in such a short time. He really knows the secret of how to enjoy life and he likes nothing better than to see other people sharing in the fun with him. Whenever his extensive schedule allows, he delights in inviting friends round to relax with him at his new Marylebone flat. With his nationwide tour of one-night stands in full swing, it wasn't until early last Sunday morning that we were able to fix a few hours together. Just after eight o'clock, my phone rang.

Breakfast

It was Cliff, full of joy at having a few hours to spare, suggesting that I might like to drop round for breakfast and also listen to a few new LP's he has had flown in especially from the States. A great idea! Within a few minutes I was heading north through Hyde Park, along Oxford Street, and then turning left into Marylebone.

Cliff's flat, located in a busy shopping centre, is on the first floor of a three-storied building. At the moment the front door is a little the worse for wear, for it seems that late the other night Cliff and his road manager found they were locked out wthout a key between them, and so there was nothing for it but to do a spot of house-breaking! Once inside the large lounge - three walls are painted cream and the fourth an olive green - I spotted the NME cup presented to Cliff earlier this month for being voted by readers the Most Promising New Singer of 1958. It stands in pride of place on the oak mantlepiece and Cliff still can't always realise that he has actually won it!

Dressed casually in his green and black striped silk dressing gown and wearing the new suede slippers he bought in Dewsbury last week, Cliff offered to give me a conducted tour of his six-roomed apartment. Next to the lounge is the spare bedroom. It is simply furnished in a maroon and grey colour scheme and on one of the walls there's a collection of photographs of top rock 'n' roll stars. The next room along is the bathroom, which on Sunday was being used as a drying room for the three pairs of pink socks, presents from fans, that Cliff had just washed through. By the soap cabinet, I noticed the electric razor that Cherry Wainer had given him as a Christmas present. The next room is the nerve centre of the whole flat - the kitchen. Equipped with a new electric cooker, a modern, blue coloured refrigerator and the table with its gay yellow top, it is large enough to seat four people. The chairs, made in metal, are of bright contemporary design. Leading off the kitchen is another spare bedroom wher comedian-compere Jim Tarbuck, or members of the Drifters group, often sleep when they are unable to get back to their own flats.

Jet's gift

On one of the walls is a watercolour of a Hertfordshire village given to Cliff by Jet Harris, the blonde bass guitarist in the Drifters. Our last port of call was Cliff's bedroom, which is dominated by a huge lucky mascot, aptly named "Lord Rockingham." This is a three-foot-tall soft toy rabbit, which his fans presented to him at the party he held recently in the Holborn Hall. Cliff thinks the world of this gift and while it is too large for him to carry around on his tours, he always keeps a photo of it in his wallet. Cliff sleeps in a single bed with a light-oak headboard, and by the side is a small cabinet which on Sunday was covered by a four-pound box of chocolates given to him by two fans - Meg and Ann, of Leicester. Back in the lounge again, Cliff switched on the radiogram, and played a disc by Pat Boone singing a number from "Mardi Gras," which is the latest film Cliff has been able to see. With this holiday music playing in the background and with Cliff by now nestling snugly in a comfortable corner armchair playing with his six-week-old black kitten, we were soon discussing summer vacations. He is at present busily collecting pamphlets on the Mediterranean Riviera, where he is planning to go for three weeks later this year.
He can just remember some wonderful sunny holidays in India and this summer he is determined to follow the sun once again.

Everly disc

After the "Mardi Gras" record, Cliff put on a brand new Everly Brothers LP, and then suggested I might like to browse through one of his favourite science fiction books while he prepare breakfast. Before many minutes had passed, he was calling me into the kitchen where he proudly presented his breakfast speciality, consisting of scrambled egg served with chopped, grilled bacon and tomato. It tasted really good and apart from one burnt peice of toast, the whole breakfast was cooked and served without a hitch. After his third cup of tea ("four lumps, please"), we went back into the lounge and listened to one of his many Presley discs.


Cliff was just telling me that he was planning to buy a hi-fi stereophonic gramophone with the royalties from "Move It," when the telephone bell rang. It was Martin Jackson of ABC television, asking the number of tickets Cliff wanted for his family at next Sunday's first performance of the "Oh Boy!" show, when it opens at the Commodore, Hammersmith, on Sunday for seven days. This gave me the opportunity to look around the room and I noticed that Cliff's liking for food and articles with an Oriental flavour had spread to the lounge. On the walls were several Chinese prints and in one corner was a really enormous reading lamp of a famous Malayan design. After talking and listening to more records by such stars as Stan Freberg, Ricky Nelson and Neville Taylor, it was eventually time for Cliff to bath and change before going to lunch with his grandmother and "uncle" Chris at Windborough Road, Carshalton, Surrey. "Uncle" is in inverted commas because it so happens that Chris is only seventeen - a whole year younger than his famous nephew!

Just as he was about to put on his white shirt, Cliff noticed that one of the buttons was missing. Without hesitation, and with his careful upbringing coming to the fore, he found a needle and cotton and in a very short while Operation Sewing had been successfully caried out. While on tour, he is by now sufficiently well trained in domestic matters to do any necessary emergency darning as well. What with that, and cooking, Cliff will make someone a wonderful husband!


As a nearby church was striking twelve, we closed the front door and Cliff said how much he was looking forward to being in the flat all next week while playing Hammersmith, particularly as he wanted to try out the new cooker with some fancy Chinese concoctions he had found out about at the Lotus House.

This will be the first opportunity he will have had since taking over the lease of the flat a month ago of staying there for more than two consecutive nights. As we were driving away, I realised how fortunate this 18-year-old artist was in having the qualities that make him not only a first-class modern entertainer, but also a first-class host and friend as well. It had been an extremely pleasant morning spent with one of the nicest young personalities in British show business today.


During January 1959 Jack had met with senior American television executives from ABC TV with a view to selling some of the “Oh Boy!” shows for broadcast in the States. Jack revealed in his weekly column in “Disc” music paper that after being shown some telerecordings of a few of the shows, the executives were highly impressed with our British rockers. Indeed one commented how much more raw and energetic they were compared to some of the lame US rock stars at the time. However, for a deal to be finalised they insisted on some changes. They requested some US celebrities needed to star in the shows if they were to appeal at all to an American audience back home. Jack of course needed time to do this, but he eventually managed to book several stars, including Brenda Lee and Conway Twitty for April and May 1959. The agreement reached was that 13 shows would be telerecorded for export to the United States beginning on Saturday 7th March 1959 and run weekly until the very last edition on Saturday 30th May 1959. See “WHERE HAVE THE SHOWS GONE?” page for more detail on this.


The news of the successful deal eventually made the headlines in the NME on Friday 13th March 1959 by which time the first show had already been telerecorded for export the previous Saturday. (7th March)


“Oh Boy!” did air on ABC TV in America from Thursday 16th July to Thursday 3rd September 1959. Eight of the original 13 were broadcast with some editing of the masters, including cutting out compares Tony Hall and Jimmy Henney and replacing them with Brenda Lee who did the introductions and announcements. It is believed some or all of these 13 shows have survived over the last 45 years and are in the hands of a private collector in the United States. Just as intriguing are these unanswered questions :-

“Which editions of “Oh Boy!” did Jack Good show to these American TV producers back in January 1959 to clinch a deal?”

How many of the earlier shows did Jack telerecord prior to 7th March 1959 and most importantly where are they now?

SEE ALSO WRITE-UP FOR THE FIRST “OH BOY!” SHOW FOR BROADCAST IN THE UNITED STATES ON 7th MARCH 1959 (IN THE MARCH 1959 DIARIES)

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