Dec 04

CILLA BLACK – “Anyone Who Had A Heart”

Popular66 comments • 4,613 views

#164, 29th February 1964

“Anyone who had a heart would love me too”. When Cilla Black sings it, this is not a request. Dynamic to be sure, but this song requires its singer not to lose the vulnerability when they turn up the volume, and Cilla never pulls that off. Her demand to be loved is almost bullying in its stridency. And the British public listened, making this the best-selling single by a British woman and making Cilla Black a star.

And there’s the trouble. On paper the story of the hat-check girl turned pop star is wonderful, in the real world it ends up at Blind Date, which of course as a sensitive boy I despised. (And even now I’ve sluiced out most of the virginal bile that prompted such hate, the thought of the program makes me wince). It’s terribly unfair on the Cilla of ’64 to hold the Cilla of ’89 up as prosecution evidence, but I can’t help it. Playing this song I don’t just hear a young woman with a remarkable ability to shift voices, I hear Cilla Black accessing her own future, the full-on parts a preview of the prime-time caw that blighted my Saturdays.



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  1. 51
    swanstep on 8 Sep 2012 #

    NPR/Fresh Air’s tribute to Hal David (including a 25 min interview with David from 1997) is listenable/downloadable here. Recommended.

  2. 52
    Erithian on 23 Sep 2014 #

    Has anybody else here been watching “Cilla”, the three-part ITV series? Very competently done with Sheridan Smith in the title role. A couple of moments in last night’s episode of particular interest to us – two contrasting scenes where Cilla and Bobby Willis rush across the road to a phone box to take calls from Brian Epstein. The first to tell her “Love of the Loved” has reached number 35, at which Cilla is distraught at having a flop; the second to say “Anyone Who Had A Heart” is number 1, leaving Cilla and Bobby embracing in a hero-shot with Liverpool at their feet.

    A couple of questions – even at the peak of Merseybeat, would a No 35 hit for a debut single be considered a flop for an Epstein act? And would Epstein have known the chart positions in advance of the general public, and if so how long before? We’ve established that the chart we follow on here wasn’t the one that 60s pop fans would have been most aware of, so which one would he be working from and what were the single’s previous chart positions?

  3. 53
    wichitalineman on 23 Sep 2014 #

    Love Of The Loved was a joint #30 for one week on the NME chart, which may mean it was bought in. It’s not a single you see very often. I’m sure this would’ve been a huge disappointment – think of the success Billy J Kramer, not the world’s strongest singer, was having with Lennon/McCartney cast-offs. Tommy Quickly (and, briefly, the Big Three) were the only relative failures in Epstein’s stable. Cilla must have thought she was on the scrap heap already.

  4. 54
    Mark G on 23 Sep 2014 #

    It wasn’t that, it was the implication that they were waiting to see where the single had charted. “Love of the love” peaked at 35 but had entered at 50 and had gone up every week until it got to 35, and there is no way they would have known that that would be it’s peak position.

    “Anyone who ever had a heart” entered at 28 (which is obviously better and has more potential), but the week it made number one, they’d be waiting to see if it had moved up from it’s previous position of 2.

    Compare again to “Love me Do” which took 12 weeks to reach its peak..

    (this post has been brought to you by Polyhex. Yum.)

  5. 55
    Erithian on 23 Sep 2014 #

    That’s right, it was as if the scene was scripted by someone who was used to records debuting at their highest position, and it jarred slightly.

  6. 56

    of course scripts which hinge on the fact that there were at that time various competing charts may not get past the drama editor’s scrutiny :)

  7. 57
    wichitalineman on 23 Sep 2014 #

    Back to your piles of dusty books, sir! Of course you’re right, but historical inaccuracies do my head in. Seeing an orange RCA label in Nowhere Boy, a full ten years out of sync, nearly made me burn down the Rio in Dalston.

  8. 58
    Tommy Mack on 23 Sep 2014 #

    …post-CBS wide-headstocked Fender Stratocasters (a la Jimi Hendrix) in movies/TV about the 50s. Happy Days guilty here, i think. And, of course, Marty McFly rocking a 1958 Gibson ES 355 in 1955 Hill Valley.

  9. 59
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Sep 2014 #

    I think we should cut “Cilla” more than a little slack. Yes, the bits where Epstein calls Cilla with the chart positions was bound to annoy we chart saddoes (especially with regards AWHAH, which, as been mentioned, moved from two to one. The way that Cilla reacted to the news seemed to suggest that the record had entered the chart at the top) but in general the series, with one episode left, has been extremely good and well written. It is complimented by the performance of Sheridan Smith, who is a first rate actress and a delightful young woman too.

  10. 60
    Mark G on 26 Sep 2014 #

    #57, yes it does always bug me seeing the wrong label when a single is played on fillums and that. (e.g. the rolling stones were never on CBS, and so on)

    Then again, I have a small collection of singles that are on the ‘wrong’ labels, because they were issued that way: “Hey Jude” on Parlophone, “Dance to the Music” on UK columbia, “7 and 7 is” on London, and, what the hell, “Shout and Shimmy” James Brown on the old red Parlophone label, like it was “Love me do” or something!

  11. 61
    Ed on 27 Sep 2014 #

    @58 ‘Back to the Future IV: Doc Brown’s time-travelling guitar store’.

  12. 62
    lonepilgrim on 17 Mar 2015 #

    growing up in the ’60s and ’70s I’ve always associated Cilla from her TV shows with middle-of-the-road entertainment – not something that appealed to me but which if I thought about at all I was willing to tolerate. Cilla always came across as fairly genuine but IIRC had almost disappeared from the public eye until she gave a barnstorming performance on the Terry Wogan show which led to Blind Date, etc.
    Her version of AWHAH is a better than average performance that in the absence of a nuanced emotional interpretation she belts out with gusto. Not terrible, not great.

  13. 63
    Paulito on 2 Aug 2015 #

    And so Cilla’s name is added to the poignant roster of the Popular departed. RIP.

  14. 64
    Kinitawowi on 2 Aug 2015 #

    And it’s an RIP to Priscilla White.

  15. 65
    enitharmon on 2 Aug 2015 #

    News came through even as I was marking my numpty-numpth¹ birthday enjoying an obscene ice cream confection at Crolla’s Gelateria of Byres Road in my new home of Glasgow. And it came as a shock. Dedicated Tory she may have been but she was also part of my growing up. Sad and untimely.

    ¹ I’m in my prime again at the end of a one-year hiatus, but after this year it will six years before I’m in my prime again.

  16. 66
    fireh9lly on 26 Jul 2017 #

    Gosh. Not a Cilla fan here – early childhood exposure to her as a Blind Date host gave me an allergy – but she’s the least interesting thing about this. What’s important is that arrangement. The horror movie piano, the flapping harpies clawing at their mouths whenever there’s space, that sepulchral oboe; it’s gothic horror as teenpop. You just know George Martin was thinking of Johnny Remember Me; there’s a bit of Amy Winehouse in the piano, too, I bet Mark Ronson is a fan.

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