Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cliff Richard 'I Just Don't Have The Heart'

Chart Peak: 3

Cliff's 101st British single was written and produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman... It reached No. 3 on 27th August 1989. The follow-up 'Lean On You' was a Top 20 hit in October.
It's tempting to suspect an element of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" here, since Cliff's hundredth single was kept off the top of the chart by an SAW act (more on that if we ever do Now 15), but as both songs are from the same album it's unlikely in reality. However, it's easy to forget that for the first thirty years or so of his career, part of his survival plan was adapting to changing trends: a decade or so before this he'd proved the point with the discofied 'We Don't Talk Anymore' and the oddly dark new wave style of 'Carrie'. In a sense it was only logical that he'd gravitate in this direction soon enough. I'm not quite so sure what was in it for the producers though.

It goes without saying that, love him or hate him, Cliff is on a different level of performing skill than Big Fun, and he was presumably a bit higher up the pecking order for songs too: 'I Just Don't Have The Heart' is more memorable than 'Can't Shake The Feeling' (at least, I remembered it more, despite there being many bigger Cliff songs to distract me from it) and coincidentally almost the exact opposite in sentiment - he doesn't need or want to shake the feeling, he wants it back. Catchy as it is though, it's not one of the trio's more inspired compositions - the way the entire song seems to be put on hold for that handclap in the chorus gives it a curiously clumsy air at odds with the mechanical production. It seems to have been one of his last attempts to sound modern, though that's probably just as well unless you wanted to hear him collaborating with Chase & Status in 2012.

Also appearing on: 6, 10, 15, 17
Available on: The Platinum Collection

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