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Cliff Richard

Cliff: “…that Saturday in May 1956, Norman Mitham, Terry Smart and I were planning to do the usual thing: hang out in the park, look at a couple of shops, maybe call into Marsden’s to listen to one or two new songles, and then we saw a French car, a green Citroën, with a funky curved rear end, and then, floating through the open front window, we heard the song playing on the car radio.

‘…W-e-e-e-e-l since mah baby left me’

Hey? What’s that? Norman, Terry and I stared at each other with our mouths open: WOW! I’ve never heard anything like it in my life!

Norman, Terry and I spent the entire afternoon chatting about how good it sounded and that we had to find out what it was.

When I saw him at school that Monday morning, Norman was smiling triumphantly.

“…I heard that song again, on AFN!’ he proclaimed. “…it’s called Heartbreak Hotel and it’s from a guy named Elvis Presley!”

Elvis sounded like he was singing to me, no one my age, no teenager, would have ever been inspired by Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby, or wanted to be like them.

Elvis was different.

He sounded so young, so cool, and so current, and his voice cut through everything else. He sounded passionate and powerful. It sounded like it had secrets you needed to learn.

Sensation that something was being born before my ears.

I immediately became obsessed. I started trying to find out everything I could about Elvis. When I first saw a photo of him, I couldn’t believe how cool he looked: that jopo! That curled lip! And when I realized there was already an LP, I had to have it…

I embarked on a determined mission to look as identical to him as humanly possible.

The jopo came first, of course, and I began spending hours in front of the bathroom mirror, brushing my hair back and trying to fix it with Brylcreem; He wasn’t the only boy in Cheshunt who did that, but he never looked as good as when Elvis had locks falling out of his hair and hanging over his forehead.

I never managed to reproduce that.

When I managed to start, they called me the
English Elvis” or the “British answer to Elvis.”

I no longer think: “…what would Elvis do?” Whenever I have to make important decisions, as I did in my early years, I have already gone through that, I stopped being the “English Elvis” and started being me, Cliff Richard, a long time ago.

But I still feel like I owe everything to Elvis.

Many mornings I wake up in Barbados, get up, look out my bedroom window at the Caribbean and wonder: how the hell did I get from Cheshunt to here?

And the answer is Elvis Presley.

Cliff Richard “Elvis Medley”

Translation and Adaptation of Carlos and Claudia of Elvis Shop Argentina

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