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Friday, July 24, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Gong at: #5 Harry Webb

In British slang the word "gong" means a medal. It originated in the military but now enjoys widespread use. When Blighty's Blog throws a gong at somebody it means we admire his or her achievements.

Win a $5 Gift Voucher
Is there somebody you think we should throw a gong at? Send us your suggestion, with your reasons, using the "comments" link below this post. If we agree we'll send you a gift voucher redeemable by mail order or in person at Blighty's Tuck Store. Our only stipulation is that the person you suggest must be a prominent and well-known personality in Britain.

We threw a gong at Billy Butlin a few days ago and confessed that he wasn't even born a Brit. Well today we are throwing a gong at another famous foreign born Brit. Everyone has heard of Harry Webb. He has thrilled his fans as an entertainer for six decades.

Born in India
Harry Webb is, of course, better known by his professional name: Cliff Richard. Cliff was born to Anglo-Indian parents in Lucknow, India in 1940. The family moved to Britain following Indian independence from Britain in 1948.

Cliff became the proud owner of a guitar at age 16 and quickly developed an interest in "skiffle" music. He formed a band a year later and within a couple of years he was a hit recording artist.

Cliff the Christian
We all know the story of his career from then on. Cliff's music career changed from rock to softer pop tunes when he became a Christian. His Christianity influenced his music for some time until he was able to reconcile his beliefs with the harder image of rock music again.

The First Knight of Rock
Cliff Richard received a knighthood from the Queen in 1995. He was the first rock music entertainer to receive that honour.

Off the Air
Despite his success he has never been particularly popular with the media in Britain. Radio stations are reluctant to air his songs. He has even been forced to release songs under a pseudonym to get his music on the air. Some songs released this way became big hits with the record buying public.

Bachelor Boy
Back in the 1960s Cliff released a hit single called "Bachelor Boy". Despite contemplating marriage several times throughout his life Cliff has remained a bachelor. He now lives in private seclusion with a male partner but has refused to respond to questions about his sexuality.

English Elvis
Blighty's Blog cares only about the tremendous impact Harry Webb has made on the world of entertainment. The "English Elvis" has refused to adopt the "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" lifestyle of so many of his contemporaries. Instead he has given us over half a century of great music.

"Congratulations" Sir Cliff and thank you.

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