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Cliff Richard
"I can't demand air play, but I can demand fair play"
 real 28k

The BBC's Francesca Kastelitz
"The song got off to a bad start"
 real 28k

Sunday, 21 November, 1999, 21:18 GMT
Sir Cliff defies critics
Sir Cliff's new single was snubbed by radio stations

Sir Cliff Richard's controversial new single has gone straight to number two in the charts - despite struggling for air play since its release.

His charity song Millennium Prayer is the Lords Prayer set to the music of Auld Lang Syne.

The latest success makes Sir Cliff the UK's biggest ever charting artist with 132 hits in 41 years - more even than the Beatles.

Earlier this month, it emerged that many stations - including Radio Two - thought Millennium Prayer unsuitable for their playlists, which govern the airtime given to songs.

'Hungry' for success

After being told about his latest record reaching number two, Sir Cliff said he was as "hungry" for chart success as he was in the 1950s.

He said: "It is a dream to have entered the charts at number two seemingly without much air play.

"I keep having to pinch myself but what a tribute to my fans and the public who, it would appear, have made up their own minds and gone out and bought Millennium Prayer.

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
"After having number ones in the last five decades, I suppose I should not be greedy in hoping for the sixth but I am as hungry as I was in the 50s."

The new track has leap-frogged teen favourites Robbie Williams and Will Smith to take the number two slot.

It also sold more copies than new singles by Britpop bands Texas and Blur.

Christine Whitehead co-ordinator of the Cliff Richard fan clubs said: "Everyone I have spoken to, Sir Cliff fans or not, likes this single. I am so pleased that it has done so well."

Dance song King of My Castle by The Wamdue Project went straight in at the number one slot - heading a big name Top 20, which includes Spice Girl Emma Bunton, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and Five.

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See also:
08 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Christians call for Sir Cliff boycott
10 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Imagine Lennon as festive number one

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