Sir Cliff Richard was born Harry Rodger Webb at the King George Hospital, Victoria Street, Lucknow in what was then United Provinces of British India. His father was a manager for a catering contractor that serviced the Indian Railways.
When Cliff Richard started out he was part of the variety circuit. He recalled to Mojo
: "The first shows we did there would be fire-eaters and jugglers. It was very weird, but then the promoters could see that the audiences weren't coming to see the fire-eaters. So quickly, within a year, after my first tour, the promoter said, 'I'd like to take you on tour as the headliner.' I'd got one record, at the time, I only had 'Move It
"Move It" is recognized by many as the first genuine British rock 'n' roll record. John Lennon said "Before Cliff and Move It, there was nothing."
It was "Move It" writer Ian Samwell who suggested that the former Harry Webb be surnamed Richard as a tribute to Little Richard. 1950s entrepreneur Harry Greatorex came up with the first name "Cliff" as it sounded like cliff face, which suggested "Rock."
Cliff Richard became an active Christian in 1964 and since then his faith has become an important aspect of his life. He first spoke up about his faith at a Billy Graham campaign two years later.
He passed his O-level in the Oxford GCE examination for religious instruction on January 17, 1967.
He has had more than 130 records make the Top 20 of the UK singles chart, more than any other artist.
Richard is the only singer to have had a #1 single in the UK in five consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 1990s.
Cliff Richard received his knighthood on October 25 1995, the first pop star to be honored.
Richard led the Wimbledon Centre Court crowd in singing during a rain delay on July 3, 1996 when asked by Wimbledon officials to entertain the crowd. Past tennis stars Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova, Hana Mandlíková, Pam Shriver, Liz Smylie, Gigi Fernández and Conchita Martínez were in the Royal Box and proceeded to join in as background singers.
"I started with Summer Holiday as a bit of a joke," recalled Sir Cliff to the Daily Telegraph. "And the crowd saw the vulnerability of someone singing without any help. They were magnificent, right from the very first moment."
"The reaction was absolutely stunning. Pam Shriver, who is a friend of mine, was getting a massage downstairs and she saw me singing on the television," he continued. She said to Martina Navratilova: 'This is our world, and he's helping us out. Let's go and help him.' So then a whole gang of women came up, and they were my backing singers."