“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.