23/11/2011 16:07 | By James Hurley, Music Editor, MSN Entertainment

Cliff Richard: I'm the only radical person around

We spoke to ultimate sixties star Cliff Richard about The Beatles, X Factor and being banned from the radio.

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Sir Cliff Richard is renowned for being a star of the swinging sixties, along with his band The Shadows. The self-proclaimed radical has penned catchy hits spanning five decades, such as Summer Holiday and festive tune Mistletoe and Wine.

Despite this, new digital radio station Absolute Radio 60's has banned Sir Cliff's songs from the air claiming that, although has enjoyed massive chart success, his songs don't fit the cool sound of the sixties they are trying to reclaim.

We caught up with Sir Cliff and asked him how this made him feel, what he thought about the new X Factor generation of musical talent, and all about his new album- Soulicious.

Cliff Richard


What do you think of shows like X factor? Do you think that they're good for music?
I think they've been great for music. They've actually found singers that you'd never think were there. X factor has shown us all that there are people out there who do so many different things... In fact some of the losers are the ones that I prefer. And I think that's fantastic, and I just hope that the show doesn't destroy their own personal ambition because they lose. I've said it all along. You cannot expect to have number ones all the time. I never had number ones all the time. The trick was to have 36 top fives. 16 number ones, 120 top thirties. Then you have a career. So don't worry about not winning the X Factor. Just use it as another step to being what you want to be.

Given all of your hard work and how much you've achieved, do you feel under-appreciated?
I just feel that I don't fit the mould. I feel that I'm the only radical person around, and everyone else does what they're supposed to do. Spits out of windows and back in the day when they use to throw TV sets out of windows. And now there is an absolute radio that decides that they're not going to play me!

Im thinking- Why? I can understand that people may not like what I do, but then if you look at the charts and they probably don't like fifty percent of what's in there, but that doesn't make the chart any different.

Me to have outsold The Beatles in terms of singles in Britain, well I've out sold everyone actually. It's not something that I could have planned, it's something that happened. And so, I'm very happy with that.

First of all they're lying to themselves! They can't get away with the fact that it didn't start with The Beatles, it started with Elvis then it came over to Europe and it was me and Marty Wilde and my shadows.

And we had 5 years before The Beatles actually cracked it and took it on to heights beyond our dreams.

But to actually say we're not going to play. I just think it's dishonest to themselves and dishonest to their public.

Do you have any idea what the agenda is there?
Apparently I'm not cool! But let me tell you this: there are only two cool things. Success and being alive. And that's really cool. I've given up worrying about whether I get played on radios. In the end it doesn't really matter.

The people out there already know what they like. Sometimes they like and sometimes they like somebody else. And that's how it's always been. There is no point festering over this because it is of no consequence to me!

Cliff Richard (© REX)

Cliff Richard performing at The Gaumont, Shephards Bush, in 1959.

Congratulations on the album. It's your 41st top 10 UK hit album! Is it all original material?
Yes it is. When David Gest formulated the idea originally... I thought we were going to do an album of classic, iconic songs along with classic iconic singers. But as the demos kept coming into me, and they were new songs.
Lamont Dozier of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who wrote 54 number 1s for Motown, wrote a few songs and I chose 3 or 4 of his. Then I saw Beau Dozier - his son. And Beau wrote four or five tracks on the album!

So I suddenly thought- well here we are singing new songs and then Ashfield and Simpson also had a hand with writing 3 songs! So it grew from that. In the end from 15 tracks, only four would be remembered and recognized.

This far down the track of your career, you seem to be stretching yourself and pushing yourself further...
It's nice to do it, but of course I'll have to be careful to recognize when this isn't going to work anymore.

It's still early days, but albums nowadays take much longer to sell to capacity, and I'll just have to be keeping an eye on how well it sells because if in fact there's a little or no sale, would I do this again? I don't think so. I hate wasting other people's money, and I don't like wasting my own either. But the album for me, I've always been thrilled with my albums, but for me they get a chance to share musically with other people such as Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, Temptations and Freda Payne, Percy Sledge- it was just fantastic.

The motown stars don't come any bigger than this do they? Were you star struck? Intimidated?
I love working with people of that stature, because I bought all those records- most of us did. We loved Motown. We bought band of gold. We had all those Percy sledge records in our collection- we bought band of temptation and the stylistics- so for me to actually listen to my voice and hear Freda come in or Roberta Flack or Peabo with me is a fantastic treat!

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