Book Review: Bachelor Boy

Posted on: 24 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Cliff Richard's friends, family and colleagues tell his story in an abundantly illustrated book.

'We're all going on a, summer holiday; No more working for a week or two...'

How many times has this been sung by generations of people over the last 45 years, as they leave on their August holiday? These lines, I would guess, are as subliminal to the average conscience as their original singer, Cliff Richard.

Certainly with the majority of the visitors of 50connect, Cliff is simply part of life. That is not to say that we are all fans who would rush to a concert or even have bought a record or CD, but he has most probably registered on everyone's radar on a fairly regular basis over the past fifty years.

Is this because he is Britain's longest surviving and most consistent hit music maker, master of the media, or genuinely a nice guy and great musician? 

Steve Turner's book Bachelor Boy adds a different dimension to Cliff Richard, the institution.

This is not a biography in the true sense, but a presentation of vignettes through the years. These are stories, anecdotes and comments about the good times and the bad times. There are many of these 'voices' from the past in nine eras of Cliff's life and some that span the whole book.

What the author gives us, are some extraordinary insights into Cliff Richard's life by revealing the actual conversations, not an interpretation of interviews or thoughts. From these Cliff Richard's humanness is clear, his frailties revealed in a manner that makes him all that more reachable.

Lavishly illustrated with interesting photos of Cliff and the people who 'talk' about him and reproductions of - no doubt now rare - theatre and concert posters. These in themselves give a depth to the book and bring the comments alive.

I get the impression from reading about the author, that he has a huge amount of material about his subject that has not been used in his other publications and this book is a vehicle to make the most of this data.

Possibly that is not all bad. Not having read any of the biographies, I can not compare this work to others with Cliff as the subject, but I found it fascinating, fun to read and quite frankly satisfied any curiosity I may have regarding the singer.

Book Review: By Guy Ellis

Bachelor Boy (Carlton Books, London, 2008) costs £19.99 from all good bookshops, or you can purchase it online at Amazon for £13.99.

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