Sir Cliff Richard, OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is an English singer, musician, performer, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who has sold over 260 million records worldwide.
With his backing group The Shadows, Richard, originally positioned as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard and Elvis Presley, dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His 1958 hit single "Move It" is often described as Britain's first authentic rock and roll song, and John Lennon once claimed that "before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music." A conversion to Christianity and subsequent softening of his music later led to a more middle of the road pop image, sometimes venturing into gospel.
Over a 52-year career, Richard has become a fixture of the British entertainment world. He has amassed hundreds of gold and platinum discs and awards, including three Brit awards and two Ivor Novello awards, making him one of the most successful singers of all time. He has had more than 130 singles, albums and EPs make the UK Top 20, more than any other artist. He holds the record (with Elvis Presley) as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six decades (1950s–2000s). He has achieved 14 UK number one singles (or 18, depending on the counting methodology) and is the only singer to have had a number one single in the UK in six consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 2000s (discounting digital downloads and counting only CDs, he also had a UK number one single in the 2000s). He is the biggest selling singles artist of all time in the UK, with total sales of over 27 million and UK album sales of over 18 million. He has sold more than 150 million singles worldwide.
Richard holds many records for the number of concerts held at various venues around the world. In the UK he holds the record for most performances at the Royal Albert Hall, with over 80 performances at the venue with audiences reaching 450,000. He also holds the record for most shows at Wembley Arena, were he has performed at least 66 concerts to audiences of nearly 800,000. In Birmingham, Richard has performed at least 56 shows at the NIA (totalling 620,000 attendees), in addition to over 20 shows at the NEC arena. In Manchester Richard has performed at the MEN arena eight times with over 120,000 fans attending the shows. He appeared twice at Wembley Stadium in 1989 in celebration of his 30th year in music; over 144,000 fans attended the sold-out shows. Richard has also performed hundreds of times in Australia and New Zealand in cities including Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland, audience members totalling hundreds of thousands.
Richard has never achieved the same impact in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, three of which peaked in the Top 10, including the million-selling "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore" (with the latter, becoming the first act to reach the Hot 100's top 40 in the 1980s who had also been in that chart's top 40 in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s). In the USA, his singles sales stand at around 10 million while his album sales are about 6 million. In Canada Richard achieved moderate success in the 1980s with a couple of albums gaining platinum status, he has sold around 5 million records there. He has remained a popular music, film, and television personality in Australia (where he has sold more than 5 million records), New Zealand, South Africa, Europe (especially in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland and Belgium) and Asia (especially Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong), and he retains a following in other countries also. He has sold more than 260 million records worldwide.
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