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Sir Cliff Richard
"To be cut out of pop music is really painful"
 real 28k

Saturday, 27 November, 1999, 19:48 GMT
Sir Cliff 'hurt' at music snub
Sir Cliff Richard Sir Cliff: "Astounded at the knives that have come out on a personal level"

Sir Cliff Richard, whose Millennium Prayer single may reach number one in the charts on Sunday, has told the BBC of his "hurt" at being snubbed by radio stations and record companies.

The song has been ignored by various stations, including BBC Radio 2 and London's Capital Radio, the largest commercial radio station, which has not listed it for either its main network or for Capital Gold.

Sir Cliff's No 1 hits
Living Doll 1959
Please Don't Tease 1960
I Love You 1960
The Young Ones 1962
Bachelor Boy 1963
Summer Holiday 1963
The Minute You're Gone/Just Another Day 1965
Congratulations 1968
We Don't Talk Anymore 1979
Mistletoe and Wine 1988
Saviour's Day 1990


Last year, Virgin Radio boss Chris Evans also blacklisted the star for being too old.

When his record company EMI refused to release his latest single Sir Cliff announced he was taking the year 2000 off to travel across Australia. Several papers described his decision as a "sulk".

Sir Cliff, 59, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had been "astounded at the knives that have come out on a personal level", which he could not understand.

"I'm the one who's been dubbed the nice boy of pop, and suddenly I find myself hated, with people in television telling the public 'Don't buy it'," he said.

"And I'm thinking 'Gosh, this is for charity' - I'm just a pop singer and this is just a charity record."

He said the idea behind the record sounded odd to him at first.

"If someone said to you there was the Lord's Prayer set to Auld Lang Syne you'd want to puke," he said.

"But when I heard it, I thought most simple ideas are strokes of genius when they work and this is to me a stroke of genius - the combination of the two is perfect."

Sir Cliff's career dates back to the 1960s
Sir Cliff said: "Rock and roll is a perfect art form, because it encompasses everything from people like myself who can do things like the Millennium Prayer right through to heavy metal bands that play.

"That's what pop music is. To be cut out of it is really painful."

He is hoping the song, in aid of the Children's Promise charity, will take the number one spot in Sunday's charts, beating top-selling boy band Boyzone.

The star, whose career eats back to the 1960s, put the snub down to ageism, which he said was "a shame".

"There's room for all of us," he said.

'Radical pop star'

Not terribly impressed with the current state of the pop industry, he added: "I don't think the public at the moment gets the widest choice.

"I find myself more and more convinced that I'm the only radical pop star I know. I've always wanted to be slightly different."

The Millennium Prayer has had two boosts during the few days - he sang it on Friday both on the BBC One's Top of the Pops and Children In Need.

"I've got everything crossed for Sunday," he said. "I thought I ought to start looking for my own radio station."

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff heads for the top
17 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff's Millennium hit
21 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff's prayer could be answered
08 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Christians call for Sir Cliff boycott
10 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Imagine Lennon as festive number one

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