By now, you’ve probably been hearing about the Fiscal Cliff if you’re in the States, with potential tax hikes and government cuts coming at the end of the year, but hey, this isn’t a blog about politics unless it’s about the politics of the music industry. Here are four Cliffs that you may find a little bit more entertaining than the one you’ve been hearing about almost every day on the news.
Cliff DeYoung, best known for his role in the movie Sunshine, scored his only top-40 hit with a song from that a film, a cover of the John Denver track “My Sweet Lady”. It got to #17 on the Hot 100 in 1974. DeYoung did more film work after scoring his one hit single.
In 1968, R&B singer Cliff Nobles released a vocal single entitled “Love Is All Right”, but it didn’t become a hit. However, the instrumental backing, dubbed “The Horse”, of which Nobles didn’t sing or play a note of, became a huge hit, rising to #2 on the Hot 100 during the same year. Nobles is credited for two other charting singles that were also instrumentals: “Horse Fever” (#68, 1968) and “Switch It On” (#93, 1969).
It wouldn’t be a topic of Cliffs without mentioning the king of them all, Cliff Richard. With sixty-nine top ten hits in the United Kingdom stretching way back to 1958, he’s one of the most successful singers of all-time… except for in the United States. Though his single “Living Doll” reached a modest #30 in 1959 and “It’s All In The Game” a better #25 in 1964, that was the extent of his hits until 1976, when he scored a surprise comeback smash with the #6 “Devil Woman”. His commercial peak came beginning in the fall of 1979 when he scored five top-40 hits in a row, including the #7 “We Don’t Talk Anymore” in 1979 and the #10 “Dreaming” in 1980. Richard’s last top-40 hit, a remake of the oft-covered “Daddy’s Home”, reached a high of #23 in 1982, while his last Hot 100 entry, “Never Say Die (Give A Little Bit More)”, came the following year in 1983. It only reached #73. Richard was in the U.K. Singles Chart as recent as 2009.
This Jamaican singer with surname Cliff first charted at age 21 when he peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 with “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”. After one minor followup single in 1970, he disappeared from the charts, but reemerged twenty-three years later at age 45 when his remake of “I Can See Clearly Now” from the soundtrack of Cool Runnings hit a high of #18. You may also recognize his voice from the single version of “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King. It was a minor Adult Contemporary entry in 1995.
Have a favorite by any of the four? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Until then, keep enjoying that Fiscal Cliff coverage. It may have a longer shelf life than even Cliff Richard’s career.