Stronger Thru The Years is a new 2CD collection coinciding with Sir Cliff Richard’s 59th year in music.
As with many recent Cliff compilations there is much in the way of familiar material. Of the 38 cuts featured, over 30 were hit singles and 10 reached the coveted number one position.
Amongst the material are several early hits with The Shadows, including Summer Holiday, the theme to the 1962 film, written by Shadows members, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett who both scribbled down the song’s lyrics in 20 minutes during a pantomime rehearsal at The Globe Theatre in Stockton on Tees in 1962. An event recently commemorated with a blue plaque and of particular interest to your reviewer as I was born in that town and Cliff’s Summer Holiday was one of the first pop records I grew to love as a child in the 70s. If only I’d known!
Other classic Cliff hits include Shadow Hank Marvin’s composition, The Day I Met Marie, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s All I Ask of You (a duet with Sarah Brightman) from Phantom of The Opera and Leo Sayer & Alan Tarney’s Dreamin.
Five tracks from Cliff’s 1979 album Rock N Roll Juvenile also make the cut, representing a high point in Cliff’s career when he achieved the seemingly impossible by returning to the top of the UK charts after 11 years with We Don’t Talk Anymore,
Tracks such as Terry Britten and BA Robertson’s Sci-Fi and Cliff’s self-composed Rock N Roll Juvenile, may not be too familiar to some fans but unfortunately the majority of the collection including evergreens as Livin’ Doll and Travellin’ Light have featured on a large number of Cliff compilations in recent years.
It’s a shame the compilation people at EMI can’t delve deeper into the Cliff archives, there are many B Sides, EP tracks and gems from albums that are rarely praised from Cliff’s long career. Maybe they’ll rectify that for his 60th anniversary?