Cliff Richard: Session singer Simon Goodall reminisces about his great influence

Wednesday 1st December 2010

Through the years Simon Goodall has had various encounters with pop superstar CLIFF RICHARD. He pinpoints them here.

Photo by Michelle Kloboucnik
Photo by Michelle Kloboucnik

For many years I've been compared to Cliff - something I've never tried to be but the natural sound of my voice is pretty close to Cliff. It's something I've always regarded as a compliment and has been a great calling card for work as a session singer/songwriter. In fact around 1998 I was featured on so many different projects that I'd lost count and nearly lost my voice!

However it has to be said that Cliff's music has played a big part in my life. Being a CCM artist I've been heavily influenced by "the man and his music." Pop stars have great influence over many different people and Cliff has never been flippant or casual about his faith - ever. It's something he believes is important even to this day and how that's changed his life and in turn been a good role model for many, including myself. Cliff has always been consistent and unwavering in his faith despite the criticism and cynics out there!

Meeting Cliff - "It's A Boy" recording 18th March 2003, London
2003 was when it all happened - I aspired to meet the artist who had such an influence on my music and who indeed I admired. However, I seriously thought this would be no more than a dream. Little did I realise, I wouldn't simply meet him, but our encounter would be at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, watching Cliff in action, recording a song that I had co-written with Mick Gisbey. We arrived at the studio and Cliff arrived with his manger Bill Latham. Suddenly, Cliff appeared at the top of the stairs with a huge grin on his face and looking directly at me and my friend! He came over, said hello and I was introduced. Bill asked who I was and once I said "Simon Goodall - the guy who sang the demo Cliff is recording," he said, "You really had me fooled." He thought it was Cliff on the demo! Bill said, "You should go on that programme.." and after asking Cliff what it was called, I found out he was referring to Stars In Their Eyes! Wow, what a compliment! To be honest once Cliff got behind the mic, I was mesmorised (in a good way)! Yet, I felt at home, because by this time I had spent nigh on 10 years in studios doing vocal sessions. But wait. . . this is CLIFF singing my song! At one point my vocal was still in the track as Cliff was recording and I have an out-take of Cliff saying, "Keith, can you turn the other guy off. . . sorry Simon!!!" Cliff really has such a great sense of humour and can really make a song his own - he did a fantastic job of "It's A Boy" - so much so, I felt it necessary to "reproduce the track" around Cliff's fantastic vocal which not only was included on a Christmas cartoon animation it also ended up on Cliff's 2003 Christmas single "Santa's List" - which incidentally made it to the top five. So, you could technically say I've had a top five hit with that song on there! The song almost made it on the 'Cliff At Christmas' album too, but that's another story! I had to hang around in the studio for about three hours whilst Cliff did a few other tracks. Simply watching him layering his backing vocals up was magic and so inspiring!

Cliff recording another song "Someone Else", 2010
What an experience! It really motivated me in searching for another song amongst those I'd written that maybe Cliff would enjoy and consider recording. In the summer of 2005 I sent a selection of songs to Bill Latham for Cliff to have a listen to. Out of these, another co-write between myself and fellow Leeds native, Rob Dunsire, grabbed Cliff's attention. The song "Someone Else" originally appeared on my debut album 'Generous Love'. However, Cliff wanted a few tweaks to make it more commercial. So, I set to writing another verse and changing the melody in the bridge. Cliff's idea for this song was to go on his forthcoming 2006 album of duets called 'Two's Company' and he would record this with Shania Twain. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, and much to my disappointment, this never materialised and the song was shelved. But, in this very difficult business, you can never give up and must keep pursuing varying avenues in the hope that God will open another door. After my involvement with The Cliff Richard Fan Club of Birmingham in 2008, the story of this song was brought back to the fore and Cliff instantly remembered the song and showed interest again during the latter part of 2009. Following this, Cliff was approached by Majella O'Donnell (Daniel O'Donnell's wife) to guest vocal on her solo album. He was very happy to do so and suggested an original song "Someone Else". They recorded the Goodall/Dunsire song in June 2010 and it was released on Majella's album 'By Request' on 21st October 2010 and on itunes 22nd October 2010. The song has a new title called "He Knows, She Knows" and has a real country feel. The rest is history as they say!

Singing "Miss You Nights" with Cliff at the London Dorchester 3rd July 2010
What a year this year has been! Earlier in 2010 I was invited to perform at the Dorchester Hotel, London as part of Cliff's pre-70th Birthday celebration and in aid of the Caron Keating Foundation. The original plan was to perform a 30 minute set in the VIP lounge before proceedings commenced. This was soon to become two 30 minute sets, but on Main Stage in front of 350 devout Cliff fans! Everyone always hopes Cliff might call by at these events, particularly as he was at Wimbledon around this time, but there's never any guarantee. Anyway, I found out that Cliff was in fact going to be at the event, but I kind of had an inkling that something else was brewing! But, it was on the actual day of my performance that the organiser told me, "Cliff isn't just turning up tonight, but he wants to join you in your opening song 'Miss You Nights'."

No pressure, I hear you say. At around 7pm Cliff turned up unannounced and I was asked to go to a room off a room if you follow and Cliff and Bill (Cliff's Manager) had just turned up. I was introduced to Cliff again and he said, "We're singing 'Miss You Nights'." "Er, I guess! Where are you coming in, Cliff?" "Midnight Diamonds." We rehearsed for no more than five minutes then it was my turn to open up the evening. Mike Read introduced me. The reason for singing 'Miss You Nights' was because it meant a lot to Caron Keating and it was really as a tribute to her. I was on stage (shaking like a leaf. . .well, inside anyway) and on cue, Cliff came in from a side door, mic in hand and singing along to "Midnight Diamonds".

You've never seen anything like it. Everyone screaming and running to the front of the stage to get a piece of Cliff, I think! It was just a fantastic moment for me; here I am, singing with "Cliff Richard" - it's not every day this happens. To the guests we looked like long lost friends singing a song together. What is so wonderful is that Cliff has the ability to make you feel at ease and also he is such a seasoned pro. All I can say is I am totally surprised I managed to get a note out (as you can well imagine) - my jaw dropped to the floor! So many people will remember that evening for many reasons but for me it was a dream come true and something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

52 Years in the Music Business, 70 years old and still on top form!
I don't think Cliff gets enough credit for not only his own massive contribution to the British music scene, but also the fact he has been an inspiration to many down the years. I know for myself being involved in the CCM scene since 1994 that Cliff's music has been a massive influence to me personally. Having studied vocals myself at Leeds College of Music I can fully appreciate Cliff's amazing skill to adapt as a singer down the years to many different genres. His actual vocal range is quite amazing - disguised by the ease in which he reaches those high notes. He has accomplished 52 years in the music business and numerous hits and album sales and continues to deliver first class vocals even at 70 years old and. . .oh yeah. . .he's a really nice guy too! His fans remain loyal to him and he remains loyal to them and to his music and his beliefs. Long may it continue! CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Simon Goodall
Simon GoodallSimon Goodall is a well known British session singer and songwriter.


Reader Comments

Posted by cindy Cooper in Norwich @ 13:29 on May 27 2016

Thank you so much for your Cliff comments, much appreciated by this devoted fan. I'll keep an eye out for you too now!

Posted by Steve Jeffery in Worthing, West Sussex @ 18:56 on Aug 11 2014

Simon Goodall is a real talent in his own right. Yes, he sounds like Cliff - always has done - and he continues to wow so many people (and Cliff!) with his great voice - as a songwriter, he is first class. Wonderful melodies, inspiring lyrics and vocal arrangements that Brian Wilson would applaud! Great guy, great musician and great records.

Posted by Angela Nicholson in London @ 08:25 on May 26 2011

Oh how I agree with Evelyn!
So rarely do we read such positive, honest articles about Cliff.
Thank you Simon

Posted by Evelyn McNamara in Newcastle upon Tyne @ 13:25 on Dec 2 2010

Oh it is so lovely having positive comments about CLIFF for a change.
Simon is a fantastic 2nd to CLIFF and I had the good fortune to be at the Dorchester, London on 3rd July when Simon and CLIFF sang "Miss You Nights" together.
I don't usually like anyone singing this song with or with out CLIFF as it is my all time favourite but I was pleasantly surprised, I really did enjoy it.
All the best for the future to Somon, he really is good.
Love to you CLIFF, Love you always and forever.


The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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