Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb, 14 October 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. He is the third-top-selling singles artist in the United Kingdom's history, with total sales of over 21 million units in the UK and has reportedly sold an estimated 250 million records worldwide.
With his backing group the Shadows, Richard, originally positioned as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard and Elvis Presley, dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His 1958 hit single "Move It" is often described as Britain's first authentic rock and roll song, and John Lennon once claimed that "before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music." Increased focus on his Christian faith and subsequent softening of his music later led to a more middle of the road pop image, sometimes venturing into contemporary Christian music.
Over a career spanning more than 50 years, Richard has become a
fixture of the British entertainment world, amassing many gold and
platinum discs and awards, including three Brit Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards. He has had more than 130 singles, albums and EPs make the UK Top 20, more than any other artist and holds the record (with Elvis Presley)
as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six
decades (1950s–2000s). He has achieved 14 UK No. 1 singles (or 18,
depending on the counting methodology) and is the only singer to have
had a No. 1 single in the UK in 5 consecutive decades: the 1950s through
to the 1990s. In 2008, he celebrated his 50th anniversary in music by
releasing a greatest hits album, featuring new track "Thank You for a Lifetime", which reached number 3 in the UK singles chart. His latest album, Soulicious, was released in October 2011. The album was supported by a short UK arena tour and gave Richard his 41st top ten UK hit album.
Richard has never achieved the same impact in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, including the million-selling "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore", the latter becoming the first to reach the Billboard Hot 100's
top 40 in the 1980s by a singer who had been in the top 40 in the
1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In Canada, Richard achieved moderate success in
the 1980s with several albums reaching platinum status. He has remained a
popular music, film, and television personality in Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, Northern Europe and Asia, and he retains a
following in other countries.