366 Songs 291: The Girl Can’t Help It

Cliff Richard was never cool. He was too square, always, too clean, too unsexy; even when he tried to get funky and sexy in the 1970s, it didn’t work because he was trying too hard. It was like a musical version of Steve Carrell describing breasts as like sandbags in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. How, then, to explain away this song…?

Well, the fact that it’s a cover probably helps. This song was originally, as far as I can see, a Little Richard “joint” –

– but that doesn’t explain the sensational arrangement here that reinvents the original’s caffeinated jitter into something with more swagger and confidence. Listen to that casual drum beat, the crouching bassline, at the start. The horns that keep everything grounded, but also provide the aural fireworks as the song continues (along with the wonderful backing vocals); it sounds like someone was listening to some awesome psych-rock and soul at the end of the sixties before coming into the recording booth, and thought no-one would really pay any attention if they played around with some of those textures on this album track. The result? Cliff’s finest hour, and then some.

Then again, this is what it has to compete with; it’s not really any contest, is it?

366 Songs 115: Summer Holiday

Quite why this song has been in my head for the last week or so, I have no idea, but that riff keeps returning when I least expect it.

It’s a riff that I want to be stolen by something else, to be used in a way it deserves instead of this treacley, over-produced tweefest with the syrup vocal and trite lyrics, not to mention the light entertainment strings, but… Man. That riff. Somebody, sample it and save it. Please.

(The riff comes from Cliff Richards’ then-backing band, the Shadows, who also did stuff like this:

The Shadows had their moments of awesomeness, as you may be able to tell.)