#323: “D” In Love by Cliff Richard
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 1,410 songs he appears on 22 occasions.
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. Fans in Vancouver were wild about Richards. He had a string of hits between 1959 and 1966, and again in the late 70s onward. Of 26 singles that charted on the Vancouver pop charts, only two didn’t climb into the Top 20. His second number-one hit in Vancouver was “‘D’ In Love” in March 1961.
“‘D’ In Love” was cowritten by Roy C. Bennett and Sid Tepper. Bennett was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1918 with the birth name Israel Brodsky. His family were recently arrived Eastern European immigrants. While he was a child he met Sid Tepper, who was also born in 1918, but in New York City. They began writing songs from the age of eleven. They both were drafted into the U.S. Army in World War II. In 1945 they began to publish songs in the Brill Building on Broadway.
When they were in their twenties, Bennett and Tepper got their first big break with “Red Roses For A Blue Lady”, a #4 hit for Vaughan Monroe in 1949. They co-wrote “Suzy Snowflake” for Rosemary Clooney who had a Christmas hit with the tune in 1951. The Ames Brothers had a hit by this songwriting team in 1954 that climbed to #3 titled “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane”.
In 1955, Bennett and Tepper wrote “Nuttin’ for Christmas”, a #6 hit for Art Mooney and His Orchestra, featuring six-year-old Barry Gordon. Then in 1958 Tepper and Bennett scored a #6 hit for Perry Como titled “Kewpie Doll”. In 1960 they wrote “(There’s A Little Song A-Singing) In My Heart” for Carl Dobkins Jr. Tepper and Bennett wrote five songs for the Elvis Presley film and soundtrack of Blue Hawaii. They wrote 37 other songs that Elvis recorded including “G.I. Blues” and “Puppet On A String”. They also penned the only Presley song nominated for an Oscar, “It’s a Wonderful World” (which was in Roustabout). Other recording artists who recorded Tepper and Bennett tunes include Jo Stafford, Dean Martin, Wayne Newton, Eartha Kitt, Dave Brubeck, Gogi Grant, Carl Perkins, Jim Reeves, Connie Francis, Joanie Sommers, Conway Twitty, Helen Shapiro, Jerry Keller, and The Searchers.
Between 1945 and 1970 the songwriting team published over 300 songs. Both Bennett and Tepper died in 2015, months apart.
“‘D’ In Love” was a song about someone who is very good at academics in school. They get “A” in Biology and Psychology. In social studies, they can name every United States president. However, when it comes to making love they get “D”. They are clumsy when it comes to giving hugs, and when it comes to kissing, they need a lot more practice. Consequently, their patient date suggests “lots and lots and lots and lots of homework with me.” The warning for listeners was that just because someone has a high IQ doesn’t make them an ace in the sack.
“‘D’ In Love” climbed to #1 in Vancouver and #19 in Seattle (WA).
While “‘D’ In Love fell down the C-FUN-Tastic 50, Cliff Richard’s “Theme For A Dream” was climbing up the chart. It peaked at #4 on CKWX in April ’61. In March 1962 Cliff Richard’s “The Young Ones” peaked at #10. And in March 1963 Cliff Richard was back in the Top Ten in Vancouver with “Bachelor Boy“. His sixth Top Ten charting song was “Summer Holiday”, in the spring of 1963.
From March 1963 to May 1966 Cliff Richard had 15 hit singles in the Top 20 on CFUN. Of these 12 made the Top Ten and three peaked at #1. In 1963 Richard won the Best UK Male Singer in the NME (New Musical Express) Reader Poll. In Vancouver, Cliff Richard’s follow up hit to “Summer Holiday” was “Lucky Lips” and simultaneously “It’ll Be Me”. This was a #2 hit in the UK in 1962 and #7 in Vancouver in the summer of ’63. While “Lucky Lips” climbed to #1 in Vancouver in August ’63, and #3 in the UK. In September ’63 Cliff Richard was in the number-one spot again with “The Next Time“. And “Dancing Shoes” peaked at #1 in October-November ’63, with his #2 hit in Vancouver, “It’s All In The Game” sharing the Top Ten. In 1963 Cliff Richard had a song on the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY for 40 of 52 weeks. And in 1964 he had record on the CFUN chart for 47 of 52 weeks.
Cliff Richard’s hits in Vancouver in 1964 included “Don’t Talk To Him”, peaking at #4 in January. Next up was “I’m The Lonely One“, followed by “Constantly” and “On The Beach”. He also had a Top Ten hit in Vancouver in 1966 with a cover of the Rolling Stones “Blue Turns To Grey“.
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.”
Cliff Richard appeared in concert in Vancouver (BC) on March 5, 1981, at the Italian Cultural Centre. He returned to the city to perform at the Orpheum on July 13, 1982. (Checking websites online, I can’t confirm if Cliff Richard appeared in concert in Vancouver earlier in his career when he charted 23 songs onto the pop charts on CKWX and CFUN between 1959 and 1966).
Cliff 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. Over the course of his recording career, Cliff Richard has had 68 singles reach the Top Ten on the UK singles chart between 1958 and 2008. In late June and early July, 2019, Cliff Richard celebrated his 60th year as a recording artist with his Diamond Encore Tour. He performed in the village of Cartmel in Cumbria, just south of Scotland. He gave a concert in Scarborough by the North Sea, and in Greenwich, London.
April 12, 2021
Cliff’s Career, Cliff Richard.org.
Trailer, The Young Ones, Paramount Pictures, 1961.
Nick Deriso, “Elvis Presley Songwriter Sid Tepper Dies at 96,” Ultimate Classic Rock.com, April 26, 2015.
Carmel Dagan, “Roy C. Bennett Dies at 97; Wrote Songs for Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles,” Variety, July 9, 2015.
“C-FUN-Tastic 50,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, March 11, 1961.
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