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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Retro top ten - This year in 1986

A young Cliff Richard circa 1960
A young Cliff Richard circa 1960

Jim Hayes

Twenty seven years after first reaching number one in the UK with 'Living Doll', Cliff Richard was back at the top of the chart with the same song.

But while the first was a version of the original from the soundtrack of movie drama 'Serious Charge' (in which Cliff made his screen acting debut), the second was a re-recording with the cast of alternative sitcom 'The Young Ones', in aid of Comic Relief.

'Living Doll' songwriter Lionel Bart (who famously created the hit musical 'Oliver!') said he wrote the classic track in just ten minutes, taking his inspiration from an advert in a newspaper for a doll that could 'kneel, walk, sit and sing'. Sixty years on, the lyrics objectifying women are inappropriate to say the least, but back in 1959 it wasn't the words but the way in which the song was first recorded for the movie that bothered Cliff Richard.

Then 18 years old and a fan of the American rock 'n' roll sound drifting across the Atlantic at the time, he hated the light 'pseudo-rock' movie version of 'Living Doll' and did not want it released as a single. However, he was contractually obliged to do so.

On the suggestion of guitarist Bruce Welch, Richard and his band, the Drifters, re-recorded the song country-style, with a slower tempo, and the resulting single went down a storm with the buying public.

The first of 14 UK chart-topping singles for Cliff Richard, 'Living Doll' became the biggest selling single of 1959 and it has gone on to sell 1.86 million. Meanwhile, the 1986 version has sold an additional 1.5 million copies worldwide.

1 Living Doll Cliff Richard and the Young Ones

2 A Different Corner George Michael

3 Wonderful World Sam Cooke

4 Touch Me (I Want Your Body) Samantha Fox

5 Rock Me Amadeus Falco

6 You To Me Are Everything (The Decade Remix 76/86) Real Thing

7 A Kind Of Magic Queen

8 Peter Gunn Art Of Noise feat Duane Eddy

9 Train Of Thought A-Ha

10 Secret Lovers Atlantic Starr

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