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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 14:58 GMT
Michael brands Cliff campaign 'vile'

George Michael: Rare radio interview


Pop star George Michael has attacked the campaign to make Sir Cliff Richard's Millennium Prayer the Christmas number one as "vile".

The former Wham! singer said the publicity surrounding the song was exploiting people's faith, and dubbed the track a "heinous piece of music".

He spoke during a rare radio appearance on London station Capital FM's breakfast show.



Knowing there has been a Christian campaign for it - I think it is so exploitative of people's religion
George Michael
Michael told host Neil Fox, Sir Cliff was "always taking his hat off to himself telling you how many hits he's had".

He continued: "Yes, absolutely great achievement, but I think the single and the way it's been dealt with has been vile.

"Just knowing there has been a Christian campaign for it - I think it is so exploitative of people's religion, it really is.

"I think there are people out there who feel it is their duty to buy this record on the eve of the millennium. That is a really horrible reason for a number one record."


Sir Cliff: "Always taking his hat off to himself"
The Millennium Prayer - The Lord's Prayer sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne - is set for a third week at number one, despite many radio stations, including BBC Radio 2, Capital FM's sister station Capital Gold, and the Magic network of oldies stations, declining to put it on their playlists.

A campaign through churches and the Internet has helped boost sales, and copies were distributed to churches by an ecclesiastical newspaper for them to play to their congregations.

Michael said he wanted to see Imagine by John Lennon - which is being re-released for the festive season - as the Christmas number one.

"I think everyone listening to this show should buy Imagine just to make sure they don't have this heinous piece of music on the radio as we go into the next millennium."



It's a great shame that George feels that the marketing of the record has been 'vile', because that casts a shadow over a lot of people who've bought it
Sir Cliff Richard
But he joked: "I don't think anyone's going to shake the vicar."

In response, Sir Cliff said: "A lot of people want to buy Millennium Prayer because they genuinely feel that this is a Christian celebration.

"It's a great shame that George feels that the marketing of the record has been `vile', because ultimately that casts a shadow over a lot of people who've bought it.

"Millennium Prayer has defied every marketing rule in the book because of the genuine groundswell of support for all it stands for."

Michael, who is hoping to top the album charts this weekend with his new collection Songs From the 20th Century, said he would be spending New Year's Eve with his friend Geri Halliwell.

He said of the former Spice Girls singer: "She's the only person who has the guts to throw a party. I mean, I don't know anyone who's planned anything. I think most people are staying at home."

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See also:
10 Dec 99 |  Talking Point
Are the music charts a joke?
08 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Singing hamsters threaten Sir Cliff
06 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff 'bigger than the Pope'
29 Nov 99 |  Talking Point
Sir Cliff - hero or zero?
05 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff tipped for millennium No 1
29 Nov 99 |  UK
Cliff Richard: Peter Pan or lost boy?
26 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Sir Cliff heads for the top

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