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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 16:52 GMT


Hope for snubbed Cliff track

Sir Cliff Richard was not condsidered to have broad enough appeal

Sir Cliff Richard fans have been given a ray of hope following reports that BBC Radio 2 has blacklisted the veteran pop star's new single from its playlist.

Yesterday it emerged that the station had decided not to include Sir Cliff's song Millennium Prayer on its list of recommended singles for DJs to play.

But as devotees of the 59-year-old singer protested outside Radio 2's home, Broadcasting House in central London, the station's boss Geoff Mullin said the decision may be reconsidered.

[ image: Eurythmics are on the A-list]
Eurythmics are on the A-list
Playlists guarantee a certain amount of airtime for singles chosen by station executives.

Sir Cliff's track - which puts the Lord's Prayer to the music of Auld Lang Syne - was considered "not to be of broad enough appeal" to be added to any of the three main lists of the UK's most listened to station.

Instead, priority was given to stars such as Robbie Williams, Simply Red and the Eurythmics on its A-list. While fellow golden oldie Sir Paul McCartney features on the secondary B-list.

Individual DJs can however still play songs, including Sir Cliff's, at their own discretion.

Nonetheless, Mr Mullin came out to meet dismayed fans on Thursday and told them there was a possibility of reinstating the pop veteran to the favoured lists.

[ image: Chris Evans banned Sir Cliff last year]
Chris Evans banned Sir Cliff last year
Radio 2 is not alone in leaving Sir Cliff's single - the last before he takes a break in the year 2000 - off its airwaves.

London's Capital Radio, the largest commercial radio station, has not listed it for either its main network or for Capital Gold.

London's Magic 105.4FM, which also broadcasts around the north of England, is similarly declining to play it. Last year, Virgin Radio boss Chris Evans also blacklisted the star for being too old.

Radio 2 is a key station for pop acts as its listeners tune in for longer than any other station in the UK. Its audience is lower than the more youth-oriented Radio 1, which dropped older stars from its schedules a few years ago.

Sir Cliff, who has been in the music business for more than 40 years, was on a cruise and could not be contacted about the Radio 2 snub.

But Mike Andrews, joint managing director of Papillon Records, which is releasing the single, said: "We're very disappointed, as we are with any record we ask them to consider for play and they reject it.

"Our whole business is geared towards getting radio airplay as part of the whole marketing mix."

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