Cliff Richard, The Young Once
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2013 - 12:00am

The young ones, darling we’re the young ones

And the young ones shouldn’t be afraid

To live, love, while the flame is strong

‘Cause we may not be the young ones very long

That memorable stanza from the ‘60s hit song The Young Ones kept replaying in the soundtrack of my mind as I recalled those care/stress-free days while doing an exclusive 20-minute phone Conversation with Sir Cliff Richard (calling from Australia).

Was it only last week when my friends and I saved up enough from our meager allowance to watch the double program of Sir Cliff’s starrers The Young Ones and Summer Holiday at the Scala Theater? A stanza, this time from Summer Holiday, continued to reverberate in our minds as we grew older — We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more working for a week or two…we’re going where the sun shines brightly, we’re going where the sea is blue. We’ve seen it in the movies, now let’s see if it’s true.

Has time really flown that fast? I couldn’t believe that Sir Cliff is turning 73 (born on Oct. 14, 1940, in India).

On the phone, he sounded the way he did way back when. I commended him for, according to my research, being “The most radical star there has ever been” and he laughed a bit, “I did say that and it’s only true because I didn’t do what everybody else did. Usually, when people are radical, they are different…it means you’re different from the crowd. And I suddenly realized after many years that I’m the only pop star who didn’t take drugs. I’m the one who’s radically different.” Then he laughed again.

Told that the Philippines has its own “Cliff Richard of the Philippines” — yes, Jose Mari Chan — Sir Cliff said, “I hope to see him when I go there. I’m very happy that there’s a Filipino Cliff Richard!” He was declared Knight Bachelor in 1995 by the Queen of England.

For sure, my friends and I will be at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Feb. 28 when Sir Cliff, “still reelin’ and a-rockin’” as the ad’s blurb says, will lead us down Memory Lane reliving the good old days when we were young and we were not afraid to live, love, while the flame was strong.

Let’s talk about the stories behind some of your songs. First, The Young Ones.

“It’s a very inspiring song. And remember, it’s the title song of a movie. When they asked me to be in the movie, they said that they found some songs and they liked The Young Ones, especially the introduction.” (Proceeds to sing it) “It feels like magic to me, you know, to go into the studio and suddenly you hear your voice coming back with all these wonderful musicians behind you. After all these years, it’s still very, very exciting for me.”

What about Ocean Deep (which is very popular in the Philippines)?

“Ocean Deep was an unusual one because it came through the post from two writers who I didn’t know; they were amateurs. When something comes in like that, privately, usually they’re not very good. So I didn’t listen to it for about three months. And then when I came home from a tour, I saw this tape and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll play it,’ and I exclaimed, ‘Oh, it’s fantastic!’ I love the song! I was so pleased that these two guys sent that to me. I’m very happy that Ocean Deep is very popular in Southeast Asia.”

And We Don’t Talk Anymore which is very popular among couples about to break up?

“It was never meant to be on my album but the writer, an Australian guy who used to play on my band, came into the studio and said, ‘Look, we’ve got this song for you,’ and they played it. I recorded it right away. It’s a wonderful song and it became the biggest-selling single that I ever had, bigger than Evergreen Tree or The Young Ones or Ocean Deep.”

Oh, speaking of The Young Ones, the last line of that song goes, And someday when the years have flown, darling then we’ll teach the young ones of our own. How come you never had young ones of your own?

“That song belongs to everybody. It’s true for most people but not for me, except of course, I have my own children through my sisters. I have three sisters and they have nine children among them. So, I really have many children and I can still teach them about love and living and about being good, hahahahaha!”

What do you teach them about love, specifically?

“Well, life without love would be unbearable, I think. Some people who don’t have the love of another person may find diversion in work and immerse themselves into it. It’s still love…for work…but it’s a different kind of love. You need to have the love of friends or of family. It’s so important in anybody’s life, I think.”

You mean, any kind of love?

“Yes, a genuine feeling from one human being to another. You know, if you are married, you give that love to your wife or husband. If you’re a parent, you give that kind of love to your children. And you, as son or daughter, give that kind of love to your parents.”

If you didn’t become a singer, what would you have been? You were born in India (like Engelbert Humperdinck) where you spent the early part of your life.

“I don’t know what I would have been really, but I thought when I was younger that I would like to teach. Five or six years into my career, I became involved in charity work. Well, I think I would have offered myself as spokesman of some charity organization which is really what I’ve been doing now — you know, we talk to people, we try to sell them ourselves so I guess it would be easy for me to sell something else. You can easily sell the products that the charity organizations do because there are so many needs in the world, so many children who are starving, so many people who don’t have jobs, so many people who are sick, and so I think I would have devoted all my time to charity work if I didn’t become a singer.”

My friends and I and so many Baby Boomers grew up on and with your songs (and movies). What about you, what kind of songs did you grow up with?

“My mother and father used to have an old-fashioned gramophone — you know, the thing that you have to wind up. I heard the music they played, the music of their time, and it was okay. When I grew older, I listened to singers like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Teresa Brewer and Peggy Lee, and I liked them very much. But when I heard Elvis Presley for the first time, it changed all my feelings for music. My heart then belonged to rock ’n roll, hahahahaha!”

I read your autobiography and I love it. It’s so honest and so sincere and, well, kind of revealing in some way.

“Well, you have to reveal something of yourself if you write a book about your life. I often think that so many artists don’t speak enough to the public. I mean, you don’t have to say anything philosophically strong or even be necessarily spiritual, but you have to be part of their lives for the two hours that you are on stage. You know, I tell them funny things that happen to me that maybe they didn’t know. I explain how I record a song. I talk to them all the time, so when they leave the hall they feel that they know me a little better. My book gave me a chance to express how I feel about my family. When I read the book to make sure that everything was all right, I realized how much my mother and my father influenced me. So I dedicated the book to them. Even now, as a 72-year-old man I still think to myself, ‘Would my father like that? Should I have said that? Would my mother be happy if I did that?’ They are still a big influence on my life.”

Maybe you wouldn’t recall but in your book you made a passing mention of your fan from the Philippines.

“Oh yes, my Filipino fans. The song that they usually remember is Ocean Deep. I go on cruises sometimes and some of the Filipinos would come up to me and say, ‘Sometimes when we go to the beach we have a good time and we sing Ocean Deep.’ Then they start singing Ocean Deep and I would sing along with them, hahahaha!”

I also like your song Bachelor Boy, especially the line that goes, And he said, “Son you’ll be a bachelor boy and that’s that way you’ll stay…” You followed that song and stayed a bachelor.

“I didn’t know it was going to be prophetic, hahahahaha! It was just a fun song.”

You seem to enjoy being a bachelor boy. How do you do it?

“Well, there was a time in my life when I thought I should be married now and maybe have children. But you know, there’s no point in playing games with marriage; it’s a very serious thing to do. And now, I think to myself, ‘Oh well, I’m happy that I am what I am, who I am, where I am. For instance, I’m touring now. I’m coming from Australia and then I go to Manila and to Singapore. I go home to Britain for a little bit and then I go on another tour again. You know, I couldn’t do that if I was married because I would do feel the responsibility of having a wife and children. I probably wouldn’t want to leave them. So with this freedom that I have, I can still maintain a relationship with my fans and visit anywhere. You know, I spend more time flying now than I did when I was 18.”

Really!?! Where do you get all that energy?

“I don’t know. I never had any problem with energy. But you know, I play some tennis and I would work out at the gym sometimes. I look after myself very well. I do my two-hour show, I dance around for two hours and sing, and I feel that it’s not easy to do that. It’s most unnatural really when you think about it.”

By the way, any comment about widely-discussed issues like, well, same-sex marriage?

“Everybody has his own opinion. Like I said in my book, I base everybody’s relationship on what my father and my mother had. They had total commitment to each other. And, I don’t care what sex they have, but if two people have that commitment and want to make it to each other, how can I be a judge? It’s not for me to make a judgment on it. I accept it because that’s what my father and my mother did, so I don’t have anything more to say about that.”

Anyway, during your Feb. 28 concert in Manila, what song would you dedicate to your Filipino fans?

“Oh goodness! Of course, it’s gonna be Ocean Deep. Yes, that song.”

(Note: Cliff Richard Live in Manila: Still Reelin’ and a-Rockin’ is presented by Wilbros Live and brought to you by Diamond Hotel Manila, with The Philippine STAR among the sponsors. For ticket inquiries, call 911-5555 and 374-9999.)

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

KNOW LOVE OCEAN DEEP ONES SIR CLIFF SONG YOUNG YOUNG ONES
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