#144: It’s All In The Game by Cliff Richard

Peak Month: November 1963
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #2
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #25
YouTube.com: “It’s All In The Game
Lyrics: “It’s All In The Game

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.

Bruce Welch was born in 1941 in Bognor Regis, a seaside resort 55 miles southwest of London. He formed The Railroaders while he was still fourteen (before he turned 15 on November 2, 1956). His friend, Hank Marvin was one of the other three bandmates in The Drifters. Another member of The Drifters was Terrance “Jet” Harris, who was born in North West London in 1939. It was Harris who suggested to Cliff Richard that the band change their name to The Shadows in order to avoid confusion with the American R&B group, The Drifters, who were had a string of hit records  beginning with “Money Honey” in 1953 and most recently with “There Goes My Baby” in 1959.

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. 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.

In March 1961, Cliff Richard had his second number one hit record in Vancouver with “‘D’ In Love”. And in the spring of ’61 Richard was back in the Top Ten with “Theme For A Dream“. Eleven months later he was back in the Top Ten in Vancouver with “The Young Ones“.

And a year later Cliff Richard was roaring up the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY in early spring 1963 with “Bachelor Boy”. 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. After “Bachelor Boy”, Richard’s sixth Top Ten charting song in Vancouver was “Summer Holiday”, in May ’63. Next up 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 and #4 in the UK in the summer of ’63. Of the next eight singles after “It’ll Be Me”, seven made the Top Ten in Vancouver. One of these, “It’s All In The Game”.

It's All In The Game by Cliff Richard

“It’s All In The Game” was written by Carl Sigman in 1951. He was born in 1909 in Brooklyn. In the 1940s he co-wrote “Pennsylvania 6-5000” for Glenn Miller, and “Crazy He Calls Me” for Billie Holiday in 1949. The song was covered by Dinah Washington, Anita O’Day and many others. Other notable hits Sigman penned in the 1940s include Vaughan Monroe’s number one hit in 1947, “Ballerina”; and a number one hit in 1949 for Mel Tormé titled “Careless Hands”, and “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” a Top Ten hit in 1949 for Guy Lombardo. In 1951, Sigman’s “My Heart Cries For You” was a #2 hit for Guy Mitchell. In 1957 he wrote the English lyrics for “Till”, derived from the French song “Prière Sans Espoir”. And in 1961 Sigman wrote the English translation for “Et maintenant”, which was rendered “What Now My Love?” Sigman also wrote the Christmas tune “A Marshmallow World”;  “Civilization” by the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye; “Ebb Tide” for Vic Damone; “Shangri-La” for the Four Coins and “(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” for Andy Williams in 1970. Other classics by Sigman include the jazz standard “If You Could See Me Now”, and “The World We Knew (Over And Over)” a minor hit for Frank Sinatra in 1967. Sigman died at the age of 91 in 2000.

The music for “It’s All In The Game” came from “Melody in A Major”, written by Charles G. Dawes in 1911. Dawes was born in 1865, and the son of Union Army General Rufus Dawes who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Charles Dawes was a descendant of William Dawes who rode with Paul Revere to warn American colonists of the advancing British army at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Charles Dawes learned to play violin and piano. In the 1890s, Charles Dawes became the president of both the La Crosse Gas Light Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Northwestern Gas Light and Coke Company in Evanston, Illinois. He worked in the Department of the Treasury, and in 1902 organized the Central Trust Company of Illinois, where he served as its president until 1921.

During WWI, Charles Dawes rose to the rank of brigadier general. In 1921, Dawes published a memoir of his World War I service, A Journal of the Great War. For his work on the Dawes Plan that enabled Germany to restore and stabilize its economy, Dawes shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925. Charles Dawes and Bob Dylan are the only persons credited with a number-one hit to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1924 Dawes was chosen by the Republican Convention to be the Vice President on the ticket with Calvin Coolidge as the party’s candidate for President. The Coolidge-Dawes ticket won election on November 4, 1924, and Dawes became the nation’s Vice President from 1925-29. He became U.S. Ambassador to England from 1929-31. Subsequently, Dawes served for nearly two decades as chairman of the board of City National from 1932 until his death in 1951 at the age of 85.

“It’s All In The Game” was a number-one hit for Tommy Edwards in 1958, and originally recorded by Edwards in 1951 to climb to #18 on the Billboard pop chart that year. “It’s All In The Game” is a song about the challenges of developing an intimate romantic relationship. This is summed up in the line: “You have words with him, and you’re future’s looking dim. But these things your heart can rise above.”

“It’s All In The Game” peaked at #1 in Toronto, #2 in Vancouver, London (ON), and Worcester (MA), #3 in Springfield (MA), San Bernardino (CA), and Fort Worth (TX), #4 in San Jose (CA), Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, and Louisville (KY), #5 in Kingston (ON), Newport News (VA), #6 in Saskatoon (SK), Miami, and Winnipeg (MB), #7 in Akron (OH), and Chicago, #8 in Tucson (AZ), San Antonio (TX), Dallas, and Erie (PA), #10 in Ottawa (ON).

Cliff Richard’s followup hit in Vancouver was “Don’t Talk To Him“. Other hits in Vancouver for Cliff Richard in 1964 were “Constantly [L’Edera]“/”True True Lovin'” and “I’m The Lonely One“. The last of Cliff Richard’s eight consecutive Top ten hits in Vancouver was in the fall of 1964 with “On The Beach”.

Cliff Richard also had a Top Ten hit in Vancouver in 1965 with “Just Another Guy“, while the B-side “The Minute You’re Gone” stalled at #11. Then in 1966 Richard was back in the Top Ten with a cover of the Rolling Stones “Blue Turns To Grey“. While “I Don’t Wanna Love You” stalled at #14 in 1965.

Starting with “Bachelor Boy” in 1963, Cliff Richard began charting for 81 of 85 consecutive weeks on the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY in Vancouver between March 9, 1963, and October 17, 1964.

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 the late ’70s into the early ’80s he scored again with “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Dreamin’.” Other hits in the early ’80’s that did well in Vancouver were “A Little In Love” and “Wired For Sound”.

In 1982, he covered the 1961 doo-wop classic “Daddy’s Home” by Shep and the Limelights. The single was a Top Ten hit in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK.

In 1982 Richard released a contemporary/Christian album Now You See Me, Now You Don’t. The debut single, “The Only Way Out”, was a Top Ten hit in the Belgium, Ireland and the UK. In 1983 Cliff Richard and Phil Everly recorded a duet, “She Means Nothing To Me”, which was a Top Ten hit in Ireland and the UK. Richard also enjoyed a second Top Ten hit in both nations that year with his cover of the Buddy Holly tune “True Love Ways”. And an album marking his 25 years as a recording artist, Silver, featured a third Top Ten hit in Ireland and the UK in 1983 titled Please Don’t Fall in Love”.

In 1986, Cliff Richard released a new recording of his 1959 hit “Living Doll”. It became a number-one hit this time in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. As well, it made the Top Ten in Switzerland and Norway. And in 1986, Richard recorded a duet with Sarah Brightman titled “All I Ask of You”. It was a chart-topper in Ireland and South Africa, and a #3 hit in the UK.

During the 1980s, Cliff Richard had three number-one hits and 17 Top Ten hits in Ireland, and two number-one hits and 14 Top Ten hits in the UK. He had six Top Ten hits in Belgium and five Top Ten hits in Australia, with a #1 hit in each nation across the ’80s. And in the 1990s, Cliff Richard had 7 more Top Ten hits in the UK with “Savior’s Day” and “The Millennium Prayer” both topping the UK charts. And in the 2000s, the singer had five more Top Ten hits in the UK.

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.

July 8, 2022
Ray McGinnis

References:
Cliff’s Career,” Cliff Richard.org.
Cliff Richard UK Singles chart discography,” official charts.com.
Douglas Martin, “Carl Sigman, 91, Songsmith Who Made Generations Hum,” New York Times, September 30, 2000.
C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, November 1963.

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