Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard 40th Anniversary, Vol. 4: 1971-83

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The fourth 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. 4 covers an inordinately, and almost insultingly, broad period of time. After the almost hit-by-hit arrangement of the earlier volumes in the series, this set just takes a deep breath and sweeps up as much as it can carry, to provide little more than a snapshot of an era that should, in fact, have been spread across two discs at least. Of course, the first part of the period, the years 1970-1975, offered little to write home about in either musical or commercial terms; hits were sporadic and desultory at best, and one could quite happily live without ever hearing "Power to All Our Friends" too often. However, 1976 saw Richard engineer one of the most spectacular comebacks in pop history, regaining his grip not only on his talent, but also on the expectations of the marketplace. Ten major hits over the next four years together with a crop of albums that rank among his best ever reestablished him firmly at the top of the U.K. (and, briefly, American) charts, and this package's failure to treat this period with the same respect shown to the late '50s/early '60s sees it stumble into near uselessness, if you're looking for anything more than a makeshift hits collection.

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