Looking back, it seemed an obvious juxtaposition -- the lyric to "The Lord's Prayer" grafted onto the tune to "Auld Lang Syne," and released in time for the final Christmas of the 20th century. Certainly Cliff Richard was confident in the potential of the arrangement he worked up with Paul Field, Stephen Deal, Nigel Wright, and Richard -- so confident that, when EMI, his record label for the past 41 years, decreed the song to have no commercial potential and refused to issue it, Richard quit the company and released it instead on his manager's newly formed Papillon.
What happened next was as inevitable as it was deserved. Entering the U.K. chart at the end of November, "The Millennium Prayer" hit number one the following week, remaining in place for the next three weeks. It was Richard's 14th number one in 40 years, and extended his career chart run to a staggering 1,142 weeks.