Saturday, 7 November 2015

Golden by Cliff Richard (Single 2015)

Cliff Richard - Golden (Single 2015) (Courtesy: Huffington Post)

It would be unusual for an artist to release a song as a single, which dates back to live shows performed seven years ago. But, this is what Cliff Richard has done with Golden(1), a song written for his 50th anniversary tour of 2008. A studio version was recorded for the current 75 at 75 compilation album and is the only ‘new’ track on the collection. It has also been released as a single. When I first heard the single version, I thought it was a track from the distant past, as it reminded me of Miss You Nights (1975). Golden was written by Chris Eaton(2), who wrote the Christmas number one single of 1990, Saviour’s Day(3).

One of the first things that struck me about Golden is how well Richard sings the song. When interviewed on Paul O’Grady‘s BBC Radio 2 show, the singer described the song as ‘very emotional,’ and it is certainly beautiful. Ultimately, it is a soft-rock song, for which he is often criticised, and some of the phrases are a bit cheesy, such as ‘like flowers in the rain’ and ‘you have been golden’. There is also a ‘la-la-da-da’ section, as well as a semi spoken-word part (on the studio version). But, it works. My favourite part of the lyric is the end of the verse into the start of the chorus, ‘And I have lived a life that has been blessed/ Through laughter and through tears . . . And as the seasons change/ One thing remains the same/ You’ve always been right there.’ I have heard the song many times now and am not tired of hearing it yet.

The production on Golden is perfectly sparse. In the O’Grady interview, Richard described the single as being about, ‘Love affairs do not last forever, but you and I stood side-by-side through the storms together. All through the years, you have been golden. Never mind the golden records, the public have been golden.’ In 2008, he was referring to his career; in August 2015, he was talking about the police raid on his home (a year earlier), accompanied by a BBC film crew, which was linked to Operation Yewtree. Richard was not informed, interviewed or arrested.

Cliff Richard is 75-years-old this year, hence the new compilation title. He has performances planned and is working on a second album of rock ‘n’ roll covers. However, he faces an ongoing police probe into claims of sexual abuse up to 30 years ago, which he has strenuously denied.
(1) A YouTube live clip of Golden with lyrics: and a studio performance with piano:
(2) Chris Eaton was born in 1958, the year that Ciff Richard and the Shadows had their first hit single, the brilliant ‘Move It‘. They were, along with Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Britain’s only authentic rock ‘n’ roll acts.
(3) Cliff Richard has released several successful Christmas singles, which are also great records in their own right. They have been collected on the Cliff at Christmas album of 2003, which is one of the best of its kind.


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