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Short Biography

1940�1958: Childhood

Cliff Richard was born at the King George Hospital, Victoria Street, Lucknow, India in 1940 to parents Rodger Oscar, a steward, and Dorothy Marie (born Dazely) Webb.
He was christened on 2 November 1940 at St Thomas` Church, Dehradun, India.
Both parents were of mixed Indian Blood or Anglo Indian
A year later his family moved to Calcutta.
In 1947, following Indian independence, the family moved to Britain.

The Webbs moved from comparative wealth in India (with servants) to a much lower standard of living in England.
For three years the Webbs did not have their own home and stayed with relatives.
In 1951, they were allocated a council house in the town of Cheshunt.


1958�1963: Success and stardom

Beginning as a member of an obscure skiffle group, Harry Webb soon became the lead singer of the rock and roll group the Drifters (not to be confused with the American group of the same name).
Before their first large scale appearance, at the Regal Ballroom in Ripley in 1958, they adopted the name "Cliff Richard and the Drifters".
The four members of the band were Harry Webb, Ian "Sammy" Samwell on guitar, Terry Smart on drums and Norman Mitham on guitar.
None of the other three played with the later and better known Shadows, although Samwell would write songs for Cliff Richard`s later career.

In the summer of 1958 Cliff Richard obtained a recording contract with EMI`s Columbia label for himself only, leaving the band behind.
He remained with EMI until signing with Decca in 2004.
Cliff Richard recorded his first single on 24 July 1958 with the (pre-Marvin/Welch) Drifters.
However, producer Norrie Paramor had little faith in the band and brought in two experienced session men, Ernie Shear and Frank Clarke, to provide backing on lead guitar and bass.

For his debut session, Paramor provided Cliff Richard with a song called "Schoolboy Crush", a cover of an American record by Bobby Helms.
Cliff Richard was permitted to record one of his own songs for the B-side; this was "Move It", written by the Drifters` Samwell (famously on a number "715" Green Line Bus on the way to Cliff`s house for a rehearsal).

There are a number of stories about why the A-side song was replaced by the intended B-side.
One is that Norrie Paramor`s young daughter raved about the B-side and not the A-side.
Another possible reason for the flip was that influential TV producer Jack Good, who used the act for his TV show Oh Boy!, wanted the only song on his show to be "Move It".

In any event, the single was flipped and went to #2 on the UK charts.
Music critics Roy Carr and Tony Tyler would later write that it was the first genuine British rock classic (to be followed by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates`s "Shakin` All Over").
John Lennon was also once quoted as saying that "Move It" was the first English rock record.

In the early days, Cliff Richard was marketed as the British equivalent to Elvis Presley.
As did previous British rockers such as Tommy Steele and Marty Wilde, Cliff Richard adopted a Presley-like dress and hairstyle.
In performance he struck a pose of rock attitude, rarely smiling or looking directly at the audience or camera.
His late 1958 and early 1959 follow-up singles, "High Class Baby", Lionel Bart`s "Living Doll" were followed by "Mean Streak" which carried a rocker`s sense of speed and passion.
It was on "Living Doll"

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