Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard 40th Anniversary, Vol. 5: 1983-98

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The final 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. 5 brings the story up to date in much the same disappointingly scattershot manner as Vol. 4 dispensed with the 1970s. Unquestionably enjoying his longest period of unbroken success yet, and certainly dipping into a far more diverse musical universe than he had ever indulged in his prime, Richard had reached the point where he no longer needed to prove his continued success with hit singles alone, and was instead turning out albums wherein the most adventurous (and therefore representative) material was anything but fodder for future 45s. This set, however, overlooks that adventure, rigidly adhering instead to the songs and singles that everybody remembers -- "Shooting from the Heart," "From a Distance," the Christmas chart-toppers, Stock, Aitken & Waterman -- and, as such, it stands as a fair enough hits collection. But the most significant 40th anniversary in British rock history (so far) deserved more than that, and Cliff Richard himself deserved better. Hopefully the 50th anniversary (in 2008) will deliver it.

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