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=== Cliff Richard ===
Sir Cliff Richard OBE is a British singer-songwriter and entrepreneur. Richard was born Harry Rodger Webb to Anglo-Indian parents in British India but after Indian Independence moved to Britain. He rose to fame as the lead singer of The Drifters who just before their first large scale appearance changed their name to Cliff Richard and The Drifters. The group however was obliged to change their name after legal complications with the U.S Drifters and consequently became Cliff Richard and The Shadows. In this time however the Shadows line-up had changed dramatically and the group had also landed their own record deal although they did continue to appear wit Richard although he did frequently record without them in order to try different styles.
Because of his established status the arrival of the chart-topping Beatles in 1963 didn't cause him too much trouble and he was able to weather out the storm and continue to have hits in the charts. A conversion to Christianity in the mid-sixties led to a softening of his music and a more pop rather than rock imagine but remains popular to this day. He is one of only two acts (the other being Elvis Presley) to make the UK singles chart in all of its decades (1950s-2000s) and is the only singer to have had a UK number one single in five consecutive decades (1950s-1990s).
=== His Albums ===
Up to date Cliff Richard has released thirty-three studio albums, fifteen compilation albums, six soundtracks and seven gospel albums. The earliest of his studio albums 'Cliff' was released in 1959 and was closely followed by 'Cliff Sings' also in 1959. His latest studio album releases are 'Two's Company', which was released in 2006 and 'Reunited - Cliff Richard and the Shadows', which was released in 2009.
I am today however going to review his seventh compilation album 'Private Collection: 1979-1988', which was released in 1988.
== Private Collection ==
'Private Collection 1979-1988' was released in 1988 and was Cliff Richard's seventh compilation album. The album features hit songs from the 1979-1988 period including his at that time latest hit 'Mistletoe and Wine'. The album was exceptioanlly well received in the UK and hit the top spot immediately.
=== The Album in Short ===
If you're one of those people that aren't particularly looking for a track-by-track breakdown of the album in question then this section is for you and you can simply gloss over the track analysis if you wish. Private Collection is a fantastic compilation of Cliff Richard's work and I can see why it was a favourite when it was first released. The mix of tracks is brilliant to listen to as it doesn't just concentrate on a certain type of music but ensures that a large musical range is covered. The inclusion of the gospel 'Little Town' is superb as is the Sarah Brightman duet, which really adds a bit of class. For me however some of the album positioning is a little strange and the closing track should have been better chosen in my opinion.
=== Track Breakdown ===
ONE - Some People
Some people was part of the 1987 album 'Always Guaranteed' and reached number 3 upon its single release. The track itself has a heady beat, which is constant throughout the somewhat melodic song. The lyrics themselves aren't exactly sublime but I suppose they are interesting and they're definitely sung well. Overall the track is a more than pleasant one to listen to and a good album opener.
TWO - Wired For Sound
Wired for Sound was part of the album of the same name and reached number 4 when it was released in 1981. Like the previous track this one also has a strong heady and at times pumping beat that really keeps the track online. The chorus is somewhat catchy despite the ludicrous nature of the lyrics themselves. The track all in all however is sung well and I can definitely see why it appeals.
'I like small speakers
I like tall speakers
If they've music
They're wired for sound'
THREE - All I Ask of You
This is by far my favourite track on the album and is a duet with Sarah Brightman that was released in 1986 and reached number 3 in the charts. The track is one from the hit musical Phantom of the Opera and too be honest I don't understand why it didn't hit the top spot because I think it's a really beautiful song that is sung to perfection by both artists. Richard's dense and at times gravely vocals wonderfully compliment and contrast Brightman's high pitch and melodic sound. A definite hit in my opinion.
'All I want is freedom
A world with no more night
And you always beside me
To hold me and to hide me'
FOUR - Carrie
Carrie's is another of my favourite tracks from the album and was first included on the 1979 Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile album where it reached number 4 upon single release. The track has a different sound to all of the previous tracks despite the heady beat and strong backing track. The vocals are again exceptionally strong and the lyrics quite interesting to listen to as they definitely tell a story.
FIVE - True Love Ways
This track isn't one of my favourites no matter who it's sung by but when it was released in 1983 it made number 8 in the singles chart so must have some appeal. The pace of the track is far slower than any of the previous ones and I suppose that's why it stands out so much. I can't however say that I like it by any stretch of the imagination. There's nothing wrong with the vocals but the track just isn't for me.
SIX - Dreamin'
Dreamin' was part of the 1980 I'm No Hero album and upon it's single release reached number 8 in the charts. This track sees a return to the heady beat of the early album tracks and is definitely catchy. There is however little melody in this track, which is something I am fond of. Nevertheless though this track is a decent one.
SEVEN - She Means Nothing To Me
This track reached number 9 when it was released as a single from the 1984 album 'The Rock Connection'. The track like the previous one has a strong beat and good guitar leads and the chorus is brilliant but something just doesn't click into place with me and although I like the overall sound of the track for me there is just something slightly missing.
'She means nothing to me
She means nothing to me
I'm still as free as a bird
Don't care what you've heard about me'
EIGHT - A Little Love
This track hit the charts at number 15 when it was released in 1980 and therefore isn't one of the most popular ones on the album but strangely I quite like it. It has a much softer approach to the lyrics than other tracks on the album and the melody is there from the very start. The chorus is simple but effective rather like the backing track and overall I am somewhat fond of the track.
NINE - Daddy's Home
This track is from the a1981 album 'Wired For Sound' and charted at number 2 in the singles chart. The story behind the track is a really nice one to listen to and is sold well to the audience by the charming vocals but the track isn't one that I'm eternally fond of for some reason. I think to be honest that the track is maybe a little too slow for me and that's why it doesn't strike an appeal but saying that I still find it pleasant to listen to.
TEN - We Don't Talk Anymore
This track hit the top spot when it was released as a single from the 1979 album 'Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile'. The beat of the track isn't as heady and out there as it is in others on the album but this is really in keeping with the feel of the song. The melody's within the track are perfect and the whole feel and pace of the track is fitting for the lyrics, which are sung with strong and precise vocals.
'It's so funny why we don't talk anymore
But I ain't loosing sleep
And I ain't counting sheep'
ELEVEN - Never Say Die
Never Die comes from the 1983 album 'Silver' and reached number 15 in the UK charts. I however think it should have charted much higher up as it really is a catchy and well performed track. The lyrics aren't poignant or exceptionally poetic but they do tell a strong story and are sung brilliantly. The changes of pace, tempo and melody also make the track interesting to listen to throughout.
TWELVE - The Only Way Out
This track reached number 10 in the charts in 1982 and has a very catchy tune that you can't help but tapping your foot to. The verse lyrics aren't anything special really but they are interesting in parts and are performed well, which to be honest is what is most important. The chorus lyrics are however brilliant and I personally always find myself singing along.
THIRTEEN - Suddenly
Suddenly is a duet with Olivia Newton John and was released in 1980 when is made number 15 in the singles chart. To be honest I can understand why it only charted in this position as nothing about the track really excites. It is exceptionally slow and nothing about either the music, the lyrics are the vocals really endear you towards the song. I'm not saying however that the vocals are poor because they're not but the voices of the two singers just don't gel very well in my opinion.
FOURTEEN - Please Don't Fall in Love
This track comes from the 1983 album 'Silver' and charted at number 7 upon it's single release. I really like this track for some reason and I'm not particularly sure why but it seems to be one that I always come back to. The vocals are strong throughout and the backing track really atmospheric in the sense that it really fits what is being sung about and the style it is being sung in.
'I know that you're with him just now as I write
I know you need someone to hold you at night
But I'm begging you baby, please don't fall in love'
FIFTEEN - Little Town
This track comes from the 1982 gospel album 'Now you See Me... Now You Don't' and charted at number 11 on it's release. I really like this track despite it being a traditional Christmas number as somehow I feel that you can listen to it whatever the time of year because of the gospel nature of the song. The music is fantastic throughout and the gospel style of the track is really endearing and uplifting and showcases Cliff Richard's talent.
SIXTEEN - My pretty One
My Pretty One was a feature on the 1987 album 'Always a Guarantee' and charted at number 6 in the singles chart. I'm not completely taken by this track I must say but there is something about it that endears me towards it and I'm sure that, that is it's energy which is boundless throughout. The lyrics are decent and the pumping beat of the track really gets things started.
SEVENTEEN - Ocean Deep
From the 1983 'Silver' album Ocean Deep charted at number 27 in the charts. This is the lowest charting single on the album and I really don't know why. I'll admit there's nothing spectacular about the track but it is performed very well and has a distinct Cliff Richard style. The backing music is striking and towards the middle of the track as the volume picks up the track comes into it's on and becomes a really beautiful one to listen to.
EIGHTEEN - She's So Beautiful
She's so Beautiful charted at number 17 upon it's release in 1985 and despite its slightly strange opening turns out to be quite a catchy track that really draws you in. The lyrics are clever if you listen to them properly and the chorus really gets you tapping your feet. All in all the track is a very decent one to listen to.
'Peace then war then peace again
Trial and error too'
NINETEEN - Mistletoe and Wine
Mistletoe and Wine reached the number 1 sot when it was released in 1988 and is a track that I am exceptionally fond of when the time is right. For me therefore this track is not the best one to the end the album as although it is a fantastic one it only really has a strong appeal at Christmas. I therefore think that the track, if it had to be included, should have been placed in the position of 'Little Town', which could then have closed the album in a far better way. For its position of the album the track for me only deserves a two out of ten but in terms of fairness the rating I have actually given it is for the track itself.
== CLOSING COMMENT ==
Now I'm not going to say Cliff Richard is one of my favourite artists because he isn't but he is one of my mum's favourite singers and therefore I have grown up listening to his songs. In my opinion therefore this album is a fantastic compilation of his early works and is well worth listening to. I will admit that I'm not completely taken by all of the tracks but at 19 tracks in length this was always unlikely to happen. I must say however that all of the tracks add something to the album or at least shine a light on the musical range of the artist. My only real complaint is about the closing track for the album, which I really think should have been chosen far better.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Some People
2 Wired For Sound
3 All I Ask Of You (The Phantom Of The Opera)
6 She Means Nothing To Me
7 Daddy's Home
8 Never Say Die (Give A Little Bit More)
9 The Only Way Out
11 Please Don't Fall In Love
12 Little Town
13 My Pretty One
14 She's So Beautiful
15 Mistletoe & Wine