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Feb 05

CLIFF RICHARD – “The Minute You’re Gone”

Popular12 comments • 2,043 views

#192, 17th April 1965

Recorded in Nashville with Billy Sherrill as producer and the Jordanaires on backing vocals – this has the pedigree, alright, but can Cliff handle the song? The answer has to be no. He plays it smooth and burnished, but comes across as smarmy: this kind of composure does not suggest a man who collapses as soon as his lover is out of sight. Just as well for the putative relationship, but it makes the track feel insincere. I don’t know the ins and outs of his catalogue, but my suspicion is that Cliff Richard never does “lonesome” terribly well: upbeat, yes; affirming, maybe; self-satisfied, well of course. But his security-blanket voice doesn’t lend itself to melancholy or worse. As for Sherrill and his crew, they do a slick job, make the record sound good, and drop a few country signifiers into the mix as souvenirs for Cliff to take back home. But they can’t bring it to life.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Anonymous on 23 Feb 2005 #

    The only major exception to that Cliff-can’t-do-lonesome rule I can think of is “Miss You Nights,” on which for about the only time in his life he actually sounds vulnerable.
    Marcello Carlin | Email | Homepage | 02.18.05 – 6:27 am | #

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    Would I be right in thinking that Mis You Nights is Cliff’s longest single?
    Pete | Email | 02.18.05 – 9:37 am | #

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    For my money the only thing he ever did well was Devil Woman, and that’s down to the production and some good memories of travelling around the USA listening to it. Most of the rest is trivial schmaltz, verging on the absolutely unforgivable when he got hold of ‘From a Distance’ and insisted on turning it into a song about God just because it’s got the word ‘God’ in it.

    (End of rant. I’ll shut up now)
    Mark Gamon | Email | Homepage | 02.18.05 – 12:37 pm | #

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    It should be understood, that if you really try , you can hear what you want in any song or lyric.

    I mean that’s what good writers do.

    Evangelical types try and pull this shit all the time . Beware !
    Brian C | Email | 02.18.05 – 2:08 pm | #

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    Cliff (or should I say “Sir Cliff”) never really won an American audience, and his only US hit (i.e. “Devil Woman”) came about a zillion years after he’d hit his peak. This was the first CR recording I’d ever heard. It got played a few times on the radio in Los Angeles (where I grew up, wanting to be British because even then I knew that the US was/still is so . . . . Well, Robin will understand.) Fortunately, it was soon forgotten. I refused to believe that Cliff was British. I saw a picture of him in a fan mag. I thought he looked like a sap (uncool, ergo unBritish). This record was, to my discerning 14 year old self, even smarmier than Perry Como, my father’s fave. It completely convinced me CR couldn’t possibly be British. I’ve long since learned that things are vastly more complicated than that, but even that knowledge has failed to endear Cliff or this song to me. I agree that “4” is appropriate.
    Doctor Mod | Email | 02.19.05 – 2:34 am | #

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    Mark’s point is well taken. I recently read that Cilla Black recently released a CD of new recordings, including a cover version of Lennon’s “Imagine,” sung as a duet with Cliff! This is actually quite frightening. I *do not* want to hear it, lest I have an attack of apoplexy–but I do wonder how *those two* got through the lines about “no religion” and “no heaven.”
    Doctor Mod | Email | 02.19.05 – 2:40 am | #

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    I forgot. I do have one more good(ish) memory of Cliff: watching Summer Holiday in the cinema with my mates when it first came out. Actually, we went because we were Shadows fans (aged all of 12) and were left feeling vaguely disappointed that Cliff hogged the limelight. We wanted Hank to play his guitar, not some soppy love story.

    On reflection, the bus was the real star.
    Mark Gamon | Email | Homepage | 02.19.05 – 4:32 am | #

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    Doctor Mod – too much information, mate! My flesh is crawling at the very thought…
    Mark Gamon | Email | Homepage | 02.19.05 – 4:36 am | #

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    Actually, having recently reminded myself of it for the purposes of my 1974 epic, I’m surprised at how much Kiki Dee’s “I Got The Music In Me,” shall we say, anticipates “Devil Woman”…
    Marcello Carlin | Email | Homepage | 02.19.05 – 5:29 am | #

  2. 2
    wichitalineman on 12 May 2008 #

    Yeah, Miss You Nights shows Cliff can do lonesome. Maybe the fact that he hadn’t had a hit of any sort for a couple of years fired the desperation on it – the “children saw me crying” line still seems pretty amazing – that is totally absent from The Minute You’re Gone. And if anyone else really cares, When Two Worlds Drift Apart from 77 or 78 does a similarly great job, with baffled anger thrown in for good measure, and a more complicated stop/start structure.

  3. 3
    DJ Punctum on 12 May 2008 #

    “When Two Worlds Drift Apart” is a brilliant song brilliantly performed and I think the late Clifford T Ward, who wrote it, still isn’t getting nearly enough love.

  4. 4

    […] @Freaky Trigger : : I don’t know the ins and outs of his catalogue, but my suspicion is that Cliff Richard never does “lonesome” terribly well: upbeat, yes; affirming, maybe; self-satisfied, well of course. But his security-blanket voice doesn’t lend itself to melancholy or worse. […]

  5. 5

    […] @Freaky Trigger : : I don’t know the ins and outs of his catalogue, but my suspicion is that Cliff Richard never does “lonesome” terribly well: upbeat, yes; affirming, maybe; self-satisfied, well of course. But his security-blanket voice doesn’t lend itself to melancholy or worse. […]

  6. 6
    fussball on 6 Mar 2009 #

    Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

  7. 7
    Anthony Henning on 20 Apr 2009 #

    Thinking of it, this does sound a bit like something Jim Reeves couldn’t fit into his schedule so it got handed over to the visitor from ‘accross the pond’ as a treat. It probably would’ve made a good Jim Reeves record too.

  8. 8
    wichita lineman on 13 Aug 2010 #

    Worth picking up for the Neil Diamond-written b side, Just Another Guy, which is very Goffin/King – main feature is a lovely, slightly clumsy rinky dink piano hook which is a close cousin to the Chiffons’ One Fine Day. Cliff was clearly a Neil Diamond fan from the start (pretty sure he’d written no hits for anyone in mid ’65), and did – sticking my neck out – the definitive Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon in 1968.

  9. 9
    punctum on 13 Aug 2010 #

    Indeed – B-side of “I’ll Love You Forever Today” and turns up as a bonus track on the CD of Established 1958, a rather bizarre half-Cliff/half-Shads album, although “What’s Behind The Eyes Of Mary?” is a surprisingly good tilt at the Gene Pitney epic template.

  10. 10
    wichita lineman on 14 Aug 2010 #

    Est.58 includes Voyage To The Bottom Of The Bath – Dad jokes = Shad jokes.

  11. 11
    Billy Smart on 5 Jan 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: Cliff Richard performed The Minute You’re Gone on the edition of Top Of The Pops transmitted on 25 March 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Donovan, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds and Unit 4 + 2, plus the Go Jo’s interpretation of ‘The last Time’. Alan Freeman was the host. No copy survives.

  12. 12
    lonepilgrim on 24 Jul 2015 #

    this is plain awful and utterly unmemorable. Cliff sounds like an android trying to approximate human emotions and failing

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