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Monday 17th

Cliff makes his variety debut at the Metropolitan, Edgware road, London. This was a gruelling three-week tour (42 shows) arranged by his manager Franklyn Boyd and intended to give the young Cliff an intensive crash course in the art of stagecraft.

The NME write up on the following Friday (21st) gives an interesting and not oft given detailed account of the songs in Cliff’s early act. Many of the songs here were undoubtedly featured on “Oh Boy!” too during the last quarter of 1958. Both “Move It” and “Don’t Bug Me Baby” were favourites performed on the opening show of the series, and “High Class Baby” (his 2nd single) was performed on “Oh Boy!” around late November as well. The Conway Twitty hit “It's Only Make Believe” was another number Cliff loved performing live with a wonderful look of ‘anguished pain’ on his face and grabbing his arm as if jabbed by a hypodermic syringe. It is probable that Cliff sang this track on “Oh Boy!” too. In fact when Conway Twitty himself visited Britain to appear on 2 shows in May 1959 he closed one of the shows with this number.

There are also a few surprise inclusions in this variety debut. Cliff had first seen Marty perform “Poor Little Fool” and “Baby I don’t Care” at his first “Oh Boy!” audition in September and liked them so much he decided to incorporate them into his own act. Cliff closed his 30 minute set with Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (as he did on his first live debut album “Cliff” in February 1959). During the song he would go down on one knee during its quieter moments and an actual picture from the show is reproduced here. (See photo above left)

Cliff Richard isn't going to forget this week in a hurry. When he woke up on Sunday morning this is what faced him: a concert at the huge Trocadero Cinema, Elephant and Castle, London; two days in the film studio for "Serious Charge"; a Wednesday afternoon recording session at Columbia; a Jack Jackson Show" the same evening; two days rehearsal for, and the actual transmission of "Oh Boy!" Dominating all this was his first week in variety - almost a full-time job in itself. Eighteen-year-old Cliff never flinched. In between houses at the Metropolitan Theatre, London, on Monday, Franklyn Boyd, his manager, suggested the friends that had gathered in his dressing room should leave to let the singer rest. "No don't go," Cliff said, "I'm not tired."

Neither was his later performance a tired one. Richard slogged hard all through his act, swinging his pelvis in the widest arcs yet seen in Britain, vocally forcing his numbers over and compelling the female part of the audience, at least, into an ever increasing frenzy. In the Drifters, Cliff has the best group yet to tour with a rock singer. It has an enormous power and compelling beat, yet was never too loud to drown out Cliff's singing. As the "Move It" boy was announced, it thundered out from behind the curtain. The excitement had already started. "Baby, I Don't Care" was his first number. Scarcely a pause and straight into "Summertime Blues," "I've Got A Feelin," and "Don't Bug Me Baby."

Wisely he cut his talking to the minimum. He introduced the members of the group: Hank B. Marvin, Bruce Wells (guitars), Jet Harris (bass) and Terry Smart (drums). Then the smouldering Cliff went into "King Creole," a slow, struggling "Only Make Believe" and a nonchalant, hand-in-pocket "Poor Little Fool," before coming to his record hits "Move It" and "High Class Baby."

Came his finale and he set out to include and exceed everything that had gone before with "Whole Lotta Shaking." Fast, slow; loud, soft; wild, quiet; shaking or kneeling - Richard scored a notable triumph. DON WEDGE.

Harry Robinson, musical director of “Oh Boy” marries model Ziki Arnot. The couple take a short honeymoon in Paris until Friday 21st November. Cy Payne deputizes at rehearsals for four days.

Bertice Reading, a star of the two trial “Oh Boy!” shows in June 1958, falls ill and cancels her cabaret commitments in Britain.

Read 4180 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 19:56
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