#1065: Blue Turns to Grey by Cliff Richard and the Shadows

Peak Month: May 1966
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Cliff Richard was born Harry Roger Webb on October 14, 1940, in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1940 Lucknow was part of the British Raj, as India was not yet an independent country. Webb’s father worked on as a catering manager for the Indian Railways. His mother raised Harry and his three sisters. In 1948, when India had become independent, the Webb family took a boat to Essex, England, and began a new chapter. At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line.”

In 1958 Webb became the lead singer of a British rock group named the Drifters. It was during this time that Harry Greatorex, who was promoting the band, gave Harry Webb the stage name, “Cliff Richard.”As rock and roll made some people think of rocks, Greatorex reasoned that “Cliff” would be a rock solid name for the young 18 year old Harry Webb. Cliff Richard would go on to record nearly 150 singles that made it onto the UK charts. While his popularity in the USA was erratic, he was a big seller in Vancouver.  On this survey of 1,130 songs he appears on 20 occasions.

At the age of 16 Harry Webb was given a guitar by his father. Harry then formed a vocal group called the Quintones. Webb was interested in skiffle music, a type of jug band music, popularized by “The King of Skiffle,” Scottish singer Lonnie Donegan who had an international hit in 1955 called “Rock Island Line”. In 1958 Webb became the lead singer of a British rock group named the Drifters. It was during this time that Harry Greatorex, who was promoting the band, gave Harry Webb the stage name, Cliff Richard. As rock and roll made some people think of rocks, Greatorex reasoned that “Cliff” would be a rock solid name for the young 18 year old Harry Webb. Cliff Richard would go on to record nearly 150 singles that made it onto the UK charts.

Cliff Richard had his first single on the Vancouver charts peak at number one in the fall of 1959. “Living Doll” became an auspicious beginning for a recording artist that fans in Vancouver were wild about for Richards early string of hits between 1959 and 1966, and again in the late 70s onward.

In the UK Cliff Richard had 26 of his first 28 singles, from 1958 reach the Top Ten, which included a record of 23 Top Ten singles in a row, ending in the middle of 1965. Of these 15 singles were non-album singles. It would seem with the coming of the British Invasion that Cliff Richard would be discovered by the American record-buying public. However, it was not to be. He remained almost completely off the radar in the USA until his Top Ten hit in 1976 on the Billboard Hot 100 called “Devil Woman.”

An exception was “Blue Turns To Grey,” which appeared on the Vancouver pop charts in the spring of 1966.

Cliff Richard - Blue Turns To Grey 45 (Capitol Canada).jpg

Well now that she is gone.
you won’t be sad for long,
For maybe just an hour,
or just a moment
 of the day.

Then blue turns to grey,
and try as you may,
you just don’t feel good,
and you don’t feel alright.
And you know that you must find her,
find her, find her

You think you’ll have a ball,
and you won’t hurt at all.
You’ll find another girl or maybe more
to pass the time away.

Then blue turns to grey,
and try as you may,
you just don’t feel good,
and you just don’t feel alright.
And you know that you must find her,
find her, find her

She’s not home when you call,
so you can go to all,
all the places where she likes to be
but she has gone away.

Then blue turns to grey,
and try as you may,
you just don’t feel good,
you don’t feel alright.
And you know that you must find her,
find her, find her

Blue turns to grey… 

“Blue Turns to Grey” is a song that was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The song first appeared in February 1965 when Dick and Dee Dee, The Mighty Avengers and Tracey Dey released their own versions. It was released by The Rolling Stones on their 1965 album December’s Children (And Everybody’s) later that year. It became a hit, peaking at #15 in the UK when remade by Cliff Richard and the Shadows in 1966. Though it failed to chart in the USA, it peaked at #8 in Vancouver. The subject of the song contrasts the initial positive feeling of a man who had broken up with his girlfriend with feeling upset once the impact of the breakup has taken hold. Nonetheless, he has the motivation to try to find her and work things out again: “and you know that you must find her, find her, find her.” Nothing like recognizing what you’ve lost.

“Blue Turns to Grey” was the 19th Top 20 hit in Vancouver for Cliff Richard, between September 1959 and May 1966. It would be ten more years before he returned with another hit on the Vancouver charts called “Devil Woman.”

Cliff Richard has a resurgence in the mid-70’s with “Devil Woman” and into the 1980’s with “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Dreamin’.” Richard was among the performers at the Diamond Jubilee concert held outside Buckingham Palace in June 2012. Then, on June 30, 2012, he helped to carry the Olympic torch from Derby to Birmingham as part of the torch relay for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Cliff Richard has also been active as a philanthropist. In October 2015 he went on tour at the age of 75.

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