#1085: I Don’t Wanna Love You by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: January 1965
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #14
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Between 1958 and 2008 Cliff Richard charted 69 singles into the UK Top Ten including 14 #1 hits. In contrast, he managed to only chart three songs into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Vancouver was a hybrid of the two markets and had 21 singles reach the Top Ten including six number one hits. 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.

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“. In 1965 his ninth studio album was released called Cliff Richard. There were no hit singles from this album in the UK. However, in Belgium and Australia a track from the album called “Angel” peaked at #6 in Australia and was a Top 40 hit in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Vancouver another album track, “I Don’t Wanna Love You”, got airplay and became the 17th charted song to reach the Top 20. Of these, 15 peaked in the Top Ten in Vancouver. The song also made it into the Top 20 in Calgary, Alberta, and the Top 30 in Edmonton, Alberta, and Tucson, Arizona. It was one of four songs in 1965 that Cliff Richard charted into the Top 20 in Vancouver.

Cliff Richard - I Don't Wanna Love You 45 (Capitol Canada).jpg

I don’t wanna dream about you every single night
I don’t wanna get all shook up when I hold you tight
I don’t wanna settle down, I just ain’t ready to
I don’t wanna love you but I do

I don’t wanna count the hours ’til you’re by my side
And I don’t wanna get so jealous I forget my pride
I don’t want this heart of mine to be so doggone true
I don’t wanna love you but I do

Now I made up my mind to stay as free as can be
But no matter how I fight it, you’ve got something that gets me, yeah

I don’t want my world to crumble when I make you mad
I don’t wanna feel like cryin’ everytime you’re sad
But no matter what I want I can’t stop wanting you
I don’t wanna love you but I do

In “I Don’t Want To Love You,” despite wanting to stay as free as he can be, the singer lists the ways they are captivated by the object of their desire. He confesses: a) I dream about you every night, b) I get all shook up when I hold you tight, c) I count the hours ’til you’re by my side, d) I get so jealous I forget my pride, e) this heart of mine is true, f) my world crumbles when I make you mad, g) I feel like crying every time you’re sad, h) I can’t stop wanting you, and i) I love you. It is this final insight that he concludes with and points to a trajectory of his moving toward the one he’s in love with instead of walking away. The song climbed to #14 in Vancouver in 1965. Richard had another Top 10 hit in 1966 titled “Blue Turns To Grey.”

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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