14 October 2020 18:32
In the 1970s, Cliff found a new soft-rock groove. How about aching ballad Miss You Nights, snappy rocker Devil Woman and heartache singalong We Don't Talk Anymore for a trio of classic singles? As the 1980s dawned, Cliff incorporated faux-new-wave sleekness into Carrie and proto-synth-pop classic Wired for Sound. "Power from the needle to the plastic/AM-FM, I feel so ecstatic…" You don't score 68 solo Top 10 hits without knowing what makes a killer record. All winning streaks fade.
By the time the 1990s dawned, Cliff was increasingly relying on Christmas songs to stay at number one. But at least he sings them with the conviction of a true believer. His squeaky-clean Christian church-going image may never lend him counter-cultural hipness, but he is a man of conviction, with a worshipful sideline in gospel music. Van Morrison, a genius who does not suffer dodgy singers lightly, invited Cliff to duet on the joyous Whenever God Shines His Light in 1989. In his time, Cliff has sung with Elton John, Dionne Warwick, Barry Gibb, Tammy Wynette, Candi Staton, Roberta Flack and (I kid you not) Janet Jackson and Aswad. When Cliff finds a song suited to his voice and persona, he is a match for anyone.