Cliff at the Radio Luxembourg microphone in 1960
The main part of this feature lists in alpabetical order and comments extensively on the surviving tracks performed by Cliff Richard and The Shadows in the series 'Me And My Shadows' broadcast by Radio Luxembourg from July 1960 on (together with a handful of recordings known or thought to have been broadcast in 1959). A separate section sets out systematically the dates of the broadcasts together with their contents so far as they are known.
Each 15-minute show would typically consist of five numbers (Cliff singing four numbers and The Shadows performing one), and open and close with the familiar rocking Me And My Shadows theme tune accompanied by the sponsor's voiceover. Cliff's set would comprise his latest hit recordings featured alongside rock 'n' roll standards of the time. He would also compère the shows, announcing each track with occasional anecdotes to make for additional interest. Over a 32-month period two different companies sponsored the shows. First "Ilford Film", promoting their "Ilford Sporti Cameras", and later "Ever Ready" advertising their "power packed transistor batteries." These products would be advertised over the opening and closing Me And My Shadows theme tune each week.
A large number of songs were recorded from mid-1960 onwards at the Radio Luxembourg Studios at 38 Hertford Street, London, and the transcription tapes were sent to the continental Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for broadcast each Sunday night (though one of the series went out on Thursdays) at 9.45pm–10pm commencing 3 July 1960. The first series ran for 13 weeks into late September 1960. Further series ran sporadically during 1961 and 1962 until the final 20-week series, which was aired from November 1962 to the end of March 1963.
During the series run, songs were reused time and time again. Cliff and The Shadows revisited the Luxembourg recording studios only occasionally during 1961 and 1962 to record more material and add to the catalogue. This new material was broadcast alongside the lion's share of the songs recorded back in 1960. During the final 'Me And My Shadows' series which ran from November 1962 to March 1963 many fresh songs were featured. These included several of his contemporary hits such as It'll Be Me, Summer Holiday, Bachelor Boy, The Next Time, A Girl Like You, I Love You, and even older material like Living Doll and Don't Be Mad At Me. Album tracks featured too: Big News, Blueberry Hill, Tea For Two, My Blue Heaven, First Lesson In Love, You Don't Know, Shame On You and It's You. Unfortunately copies from this last batch of recordings have never surfaced, though the running order to this final series of 20 shows has been preserved. There is a strong presumption that a high proportion if not all of these newly introduced songs were in fact the commercially released studio versions, a presumption that may account for their total disappearance in Luxembourg guise, there being no incentive to record material already available in listenable form.
The list presented here incorporates alternate takes, making a total of 61 unique recordings of 54 songs, not counting the variant versions of the Me And My Shadows theme tune. All of the copies examined, accommodated on a reference recording in the possession of the author and compounded from a variety of tapes and discs which have been in circulation since the early 1960s, were made by fans recording from their radios at the original times of transmission and are consequently of variable quality; erratic tape-speed, dropouts and noise artefacts present recurrent and often irremediable problems, but some tracks at least are amenable to manipulation with sonic software. The master transcription discs containing all these songs have long been regarded as lost or junked, but there is a remote chance they, or a derivative approximating to, if not matching, the quality of the original broadcasts, are in private ownership. Rumours have abounded for years that some or all of them are in the hands of a Belgian (according to others, German, or French) collector, although no firm evidence has ever emerged to substantiate this, and if they do exist, they have been very proficiently spirited away.
In any event, the upshot of all this is that the present listings round up all the known surviving tracks recorded by Cliff and The Shadows for Radio Luxembourg during 1960, 1961 and the first half of 1962, with a few from 1959. In the absence of documentation, a year is specified for the recording of each song on grounds of style and/or probability (we welcome comments on this aspect in particular). Although it is well-nigh impossible to give accurate recording dates at the Luxembourg studios for any of the material, it appears that at least 31 songs were recorded over the period May, June and July 1960 in preparation for the forthcoming first series which debuted on Sunday 3 July.
The following is a list of probable songs recorded over these 2-3 months. They include many rock 'n' roll standards which were an integral part of their stage act at the time, a selection of their own hits, but also covers of songs which were new to the band at the time. Some of this fresh material also featured on the three of Cliff's ATV 'Saturday Spectaculars' during 1960 which were aired in the months of March, May and July, and are marked with an asterisk.
Note that the two sets of recordings provided in the Cliff Richard Complete Chronicle (pp. 35 & 66) are, on Peter Lewry's own admission, simply titles drawn from fans' Luxembourg recordings and have no evidential value, either in their ordering/grouping or indeed in any other meaningful respect.
To return to the question of reproduction. The picture is not entirely gloomy. Some excellent recordings have recently surfaced – numbers like Donna, Dim Dim The Lights, Forty Days (one version), Got A Funny Feeling, Rosalie, Sweeter Than You, Willie Did The Cha-Cha and two alternate takes of Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On. This more than compensates for the atrocious quality on some of the other tracks: Now's The Time To Fall In Love, Bony Moronie, Without You, Forty Days (a second version) and We Say Yeah are especially bad. Also a few of the songs are incomplete, though this is mostly due to their being used as 'fade-outs' at the close of the shows.
Cliff's early covers of rock 'n' roll songs in this series are truly exciting. His 1960 takes of My Babe, Blue Suede Shoes, Mean Woman Blues, Twenty Flight Rock and Forty Days (first version) are much more raunchy and hard-edged than the officially released EMI versions.
Furthermore, Cliff never recorded a significant number of these songs in any other studio, which makes them unique and highly desirable for collectors: these include Sick and Tired, Hang Up My Rock 'n' Roll Shoes, It's Me And I'm In Love Again, Donna, Sweeter Than You, It's Only Make Believe, Kansas City, Let The The Good Times Roll , Rosalie, Willie Did The Cha-Cha, Let's Have A Party.
[Travellin' Light, I'm Lookin' Out The Window and Apron Strings are also listed in the official records as being recorded but these turned out to be broadcasts of the original recordings inserted into the shows. Apron Strings was in fact the live version broadcast from the Cliff album of February 1959. See above for a more general point in this connection.]
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