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Cool 78 of the Month

July 2005

Cliff Richard and the Shadows
The Young Ones
Parlophone DB 4761 (Philippines)
April 1962

Easily described as the first British superstar of the Rock-n-Roll era, Cliff Richard has had hit records and has set chart records on every continent, although the market of the United States would remain remarkably ignorant to his talents until the 1970s. His first release, Move It (UK Columbia DB 4178 -- look for it as a cool 78 of the month soon), was actually a happy second choice as it was initially released with Schoolboy Crush as the A side. One wonders if we'd be looking at this late 78 if the sides had not been flipped, and if almost 50 years later he would still be charting with CD singles like his last release, the rocker What Car.

Just as they did several years later with the Beatles, Decca initially passed on Cliff. And just as with the Fab Four, he ended up in the Gramophone Company family of labels, in Cliff's case on UK Columbia. Cliff remained in their stable through almost all of his career. In the USA however he was bounced from label to label. While his initial releases were on Capital, they soon lost interest and he drifted from ABC Paramount (releasing a rare stereo 45 while there) to Big Top to Dot to Epic to Monument to Sire before finally cracking that market on Elton John's Rocket Records label and later EMI itself.

In an effort to get the maximum exposure, it was not untypical for pop stars of the era to star in films geared to the teenage audience. One of Cliff's biggest films was the 1961/62 release The Young Ones. Cliff stars as Nicky, who, along with his mates, faces the threat of their youth club being torn down to make way for an office block. Music to the rescue as they record a song in the hopes of raising the money needed to save their club.

The theme song from the film would go on to be Cliff's biggest selling single of all times. Out of the 20 million singles he has sold in the UK, only The Young Ones would sell over a million there. It would top charts around the world, reaching number 5 on the CHUM chart in Canada, where it was released on the Reo label (catalogue number 8638X). In the USA, the release on Big Top (catalogue number 45-3101), home to Del Shannon, would be a chart miss. He did hit the big top at number one in the Philippines in April of 1962 with the song's release on the Parlophone label. As USA Columbia had rights to that trademark there, the Gramophone Company issued the UK Columbia recordings of Cliff and the Shadows on their Parlophone imprint, albeit with the original Columbia catalogue number, as indicated with the DB prefix.

The disk is a sonic marvel. It is pressed in heavy thick vinyl typical of LPs of that time and is mastered hot. The bass just booms out. The advantage of the higher speed and greater surface area give the grooves ample space to spread out. This is the way records should be cut, and this disk puts the 45 and lp releases to shame.

As the world turned, Cliff would find chart success in the USA during the 70s with the apty titled I'm Nearly Famous album. The Gramophone Company would stop using that old moniker and as EMI would sell its rights to the Columbia name to Sony, the new owners of USA Columbia. And that other label, Decca, whose fortunes would be split across two disconnected companies in the US and the UK, and would eventually be reunited itself, would bounce back from the smarting of having passed on Cliff in the 50s, and the Beatles in the 60s, by signing him in 2005. As to Cliff, now knighted and appropriately known as Sir Cliff, he's still rocking, and he is still an all-around nice guy.

Shown below is an image of the B-side of the 78.

B Side
Cliff Richard and the Shadows
We Say Yeah