Sir Cliff Richard
By the end of that year we'd been round the
world, and next was a tour of the UK. Stu Calver replaced Paul,
and made his first appearance in Cliff's band, and it was the
start of 9/10 years together as a team. The band by now was the
best bunch of musicians I'd ever worked with, every one of them
was brilliant. The late Graham Jarvis, who'd joined the band at
the same time as John Perry and me, was the drummer, Mark
Griffiths on bass, Mart Jenner and John Clarke on guitars
(John's still with him!) Graham Todd and Alan Park were on
keyboards. We had brought something unheard of, to the Cliff
band of that time, ENERGY!
This wasn't too popular with Peter Gormley and David Bryce. They
loved the new sound vocals that we provided, but just couldn't
get their heads round people onstage appearing to enjoy
themselves! Peter Gormleys' wife even told me that we were
distracting people from looking at Cliff! Not much chance of
that, in my experience! (A review in the Daily Mirror of Cliff's
show at the Royal Albert Hall, rather controversially said that,
"the three backing singers, apart from producing some superb
harmonies, were a joy to watch!"). I bet that was well received
at Harley House!! (Cliff's office). We didn't change though, and
were there for ten years, many 'hit records', albums, thousands
of gigs and five world tours!
A single that we recorded in 1977, was 'The Girls Back Home' for
the Brian Bennett Band, written by Brian (the drummer of the
Shadows at the time) and his son Warren . On this track I was
singing lead, with John and Stu on backing vocals, and as usual
I'd done the vocal arrangement, with the definite intention of
doing a 'Beach Boys' on it. I wanted Cliff to sing the bass
vocal, so I asked him if he'd do it and he said, yes! Cliff
actually sang backing vocals for me on a whole tour once! I'd
recorded an Alan Tarney song, called 'The Shape I'm In Tonight'
WEAK 18092 (available on 'Tony Rivers Harmony Works'
EM1003CD/Japan). Cliff suggested I sing the song every night on
the British tour, and he'd go onto my backing vocal mike. You
don't get an offer like that too often, so I said ok, (and I've
got the photo to prove it!)
In 1981 we did a concert for a Cliff TV
series that was being recorded. This was from the Hammersmith
Odeon, and Cliff had Phil Everly as a very special guest. We had
a great week of rehearsals with Phil Everly (I actually have
most of it on tape), just hearing Cliff and Phil sing together
was an experience in itself. But every evening, after the days
work at Shepperton Studios, we'd all go to eat together, and
this was when all the stories would come out. I'd always be
asking Phil about what it was like working with all those
Rock'n'Roll legends, and how did the Evs' record their vocals
and stuff like that? Then it would be harmony time 'you sing
this, you sing that'. Great fun, (or not, if you weren't
singing!) Quite a few years later, 'All I Have To Do Is Dream',
a duet with Cliff and Phil Everly (from the Hammersmith concert)
and was released, and made the top 20. This was the third 'live'
HIT single that I'd been on with Cliff The others were 'Daddy's
Home' which reached No.2 Xmas '81 (Hammersmith again) and 'True
Love Ways' which was from the 'Dressed For The Occasion' Albert
Hall concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shepperton, rehearsals for televised
Hammersmith Odeon concert,
with special guest' Phil Everly.
May 1st. 1981.
Gold disc, awarded for ‘Daddy's Home’
vocal arrangement from
the Hammersmith Odeon concert.
© copyright Tony Rivers