The third of five CDs issued in the U.K. to mark the 40th anniversary of Cliff Richard's first hit single ("Move It," in 1958), 40th Anniversary, Vol. 3 covers the second half of the 1960s -- that is, the years during which Richard's commercial star first stumbled and then commenced free fall. It was not wholly a musical mishap. Although this disc certainly bears more than its fair share of lousy songs, the fact is that the worst of them ("Congratulations," of course), was contrarily his biggest hit in three years. But Richard had lost his once immaculate ear for the market, sinking deeper and deeper into a sea of bubblegum-coated balladeering that simply couldn't compete with the newly wrought giants of that same arena -- Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Scott Walker. Of course he still had hits, and a few of them -- "Visions," "All My Love," "The Day I Met Marie" -- were masterpieces. But it was clear that he was losing direction, and there was no one on hand to show him a new one. This set celebrates 40 years of Cliff Richard's hitmaking career, but there were moments back then when it seemed unlikely he'd even top a decade's worth.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson