Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cliff Richard's Move It - an appreciation

In the history of popular music there can be few milestones as undisputed as the fact that Move It by Cliff Richard and the Drifters was the first authentic home-grown British rock and roll record.
As John Lennon said, “before Cliff and the Shadows (as the band were soon to become) there was nothing.” Shakin’ All Over by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates is secure in second place and thereafter perhaps some Billy Fury material.
There were a few earlier British artists challenging US domination like Tommy Steele and particularly Lonnie Donegan but their songs originated in America.
Move It was written by Drifters’ guitarist Ian Samwell on the top of a double-decker bus on his way to rehearsals. It took off in August 1958; I was thirteen.
The song launched Cliff as the British Elvis but just five singles later came Living Doll and the boy next door replaced the moody, lip-curling teenager.
Many decades later Sir Cliff Richard, a monument to clean living, is still making music. But for me Cliff – devout Christian and friend of Tony Blair – will always be the surly rocker I saw at the Metropolitan Theatre, Edgware Road fifty years ago at my first live gig.
Cliff’s Move It still sounds good today but he would never have got away with the wonky teeth.


  1. OK GC. I quite agree with you re "Move it". You say that guitarist Ian Samwell wrote the number. Did he write the fantastic guitar riffs that Hank Marvin plays on the featured video in your blog? When did Samwell leave the Drifters/Shadows? Requests Jaffa.

  2. For the full story go to Wikipedia where you'll find session men played on Move It with Samwell on rhythm guitar. He was eased out when Hank Marvin and Jet Harris arrived but continued to write songs for Cliff. GC

  3. Like GC I was crazy about Cliff and I remember queing for some time to get his autograph, the first time i saw him. When I got to the front and the great man smiled at me and signed my book I then repeated the exercise again for my bruvver and then once again for my sis. What a creep!

  4. I would swap you with my 'Norman Wisdom' but I lost his autograph more than 50 years ago. GC


What do you think? GC