The best of Cliff Richard's movie soundtrack albums, Summer Holiday is dominated by its all-conquering title track, but by no means is it cowed by it. Of Richard's own performances, the anthemic "Bachelor Boy," the blistering "Dancing Shoes," and the impossibly stately "The Next Time" have all been accorded classic status, commercially and musically, while a trio of Shadows instrumentals -- "Les Girls," "Round and Round," and "Foot Tapper" -- are all the equal of the band's regular fare. Indeed, the latter title not only topped the U.K. singles chart, it displaced "Summer Holiday" itself in the process. History remembers the first half of 1963 as the frenetic dawn of Beatlemania. In fact, of the six singles which reached number one between January and mid-April, only one (by Australian balladeer Frank Ifield) had no connection with Richard and company -- two hits each by Clif Richard and the Shadows were joined at the top by "Diamonds," performed by former Shads Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Summer Holiday's secret -- one which the Beatles would themselves tap for their celluloid adventures -- lay in not disturbing an already successful formula. Seven of the soundtrack's 16 tracks featured songwriting input from either Richard or the band, including both the title track and "Bachelor Boy," while "The Next Time" had already been scheduled as his next 45 before it was added to the movie. Two more tracks, "Orlando's Mime" and "Yugoslav Wedding," are instrumental passages performed by the Associated British Studio Orchestra, which leaves just six songs, composed by screenplay writers Peter Myers and Ronald Cass, to jolly along the plot itself. It is to the authors' credit that, even at their most script-driven, all six still raise a smile -- the effervescent "Seven Days to a Holiday" and the rhyming motor mechanics of "Let Us Take You for a Ride" are genuine highlights, while the return of The Young Ones soundtrack co-star Grazina Frame brings a touch of added glamor to "A Swingin' Affair." Undeniably the best of Summer Holiday can be gleaned from any half-decent Richard/Shadows hits collection, and there are a few moments when the soundtrack certainly misses its intended visuals -- "Really Waltzing," with its interruption by an extremely oddly-accented gent; the protractedly over-done ballad "All at Once," Overall, however, Summer Holiday not only stands alone, it is also one of those rare soundtracks which actually enhances the movie it represents -- imagining the film without "Bachelor Boy" or "The Next Time" is like trying to picture your foot without its toes. You can do it, but it wouldn't be a very pretty sight.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson