Saturday, 13 June 2015
Oliver: Cliff Richard & The Shadows - We Say Yeah (14 December 1991)
Another example of "I didn't expect to hear John Peel play that" though in this case, it owed its inclusion in his programme to one of Peel's tenuous links as it was played after a dance track by The Pied Piper called I Say Yeah which failed to make my cut.
This seems to have been Peel's favourite Cliff song, as it got a number of plays over the years. Indeed, he had a particular fondness for Young Ones era Cliff for reasons closer to home:
One of the many reasons I was initially attracted to the Pig, my wife, was the fact that she knew the entire opening sequence to The Young Ones and could sing it and do all of the voices and things; still could if prompted to do so.
Moreover, when Peel played The Pied Piper's track on his Boxing Day 1991 show for Radio Mafia of Finland, he played a snatch of The Young Ones soundtrack to illustrate Sheila Ravenscroft's party piece. He followed this up with a track from Extreme Noise Terror, naturally.
Regardless of what you may think of Cliff's subsequent work, his rock 'n' roll stuff still stands up well and for a schoolboy, the "Maybe they're not so square" line would have stood out. Furthermore, while writing this, I've recently gone through a period where after saying no, I've started to say yeah instead. And I feel much better for it.
Cliff ended up making his presence felt in a terrific production of Willy Russell's play, Stags and Hens, which I was fortunate to be part of in 2000 (how far off that seems now - both retrospectively and in terms of this blog). The action takes place in a Liverpool nightclub in the late 70s and I remember spending a highly enjoyable evening with the directors and some of the rest of the cast going through the record collection of the co-director's parents to find suitable records to play. We all laughed when someone pulled out a Cliff greatest hits album, but upon noticing that Devil Woman had come out a year before Stags and Hens was set, we put it on for a listen and all around the room, smiles widened as the plinky-plonk keyboard opening gave way to those dampened drums and Cliff's enigmatic vocal. We made up a compilation CD of all the music used in the show and it sits dead centre of the 18 tracks we included. Sadly, it doesn't appear that Peel played this, even retrospectively, but there's still time to find out...
Video courtesy of finetunestv.