Cliff Richard: The pop star ambassador flies a flag for faith

Tuesday 1st May 1990

CLIFF RICHARD has more than the hit record "Midas Touch".

Photo by Michelle Kloboucnik
Photo by Michelle Kloboucnik

A superstar whose fame circles the globe needs no introduction. Cliff Richard has been called both 'the most phenomenal hit-making machine in the record industry' and 'an ambassador for Christianity.' But those with elephantine memories will remember the pelting rock 'n' roller of the 50s who snarled, "Move It". How did the change occur? To answer that we must go back to 1961 when despite wall-to-wall hit records Cliff began to feel increasingly uneasy about his life. He was affected by the death of his father. Cliff thought of arranging a séance in order to communicate with his dead father. Bruce Locking, one of the members of his back-up group The Shadows, was an active follower of the Jehovah's Witness religious sect. He strongly warned Cliff against any séance, citing references in his Bible, which forbade any such activity. Cliff was surprised by and impressed with Bruce's intense interest in the Bible. For quite a while after that, Cliff met with Bruce and other Jehovah Witnesses discussing the tenets of their religion. Cliff bought his own Bible and studied it frequently. "What was happening was this great big hole in my life and I was trying to fill it," says Cliff. "But at the time I was just getting disillusioned and I couldn't understand why because I had what I wanted. I wanted to be a rock 'n' roll singer and I had that career and I was very successful at it. I can see now it was because I needed some kind of stabilizing factor in my life. Rock 'n' roll is not stable, not in itself. I went around asking a lot of questions." Cliff sensed a lack of certainty about their salvation in the Jehovah Witnesses he spoke to. It was after seemingly endless searching and interminable discussions into the small hours that Cliff finally found the peace he was looking for. In his autobiography, "Which One's Cliff?", the singer recalls reading Revelation 3:20, "Behold I stand at the door and knock, whoever hears my voice opens the door, I will come in." That night Cliff heard the knock and opened the door of his heart. "All I recall is that I meant what I said and was willing for the consequences." For Cliff those consequences were a "radical change of life style, a focal point for new relationships" and indeed a new life. It also meant ridicule from the press, irritated by his squeaky clean image. Today Cliff stands at the pinnacle of unprecedented record business achievement. But his relationship with Christ is still the most important thing in the singer's life. 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 Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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