A heartfelt and heart-warming reflection on Geoff Goodfellow’s boyhood in suburban South Australia.
Sir Cliff Richard is celebrating dual milestones at what can only be described as the most inopportune moment in the 21st Century: his 80th year on the planet and his 60th year in the music business.
To coincide with these milestones, while he awaits the opportunity to return to touring, he has released his autobiography, The Dreamer which charts (no pun intended) his journey from his birthplace, India, through to his discovery of rock’n’roll (thanks to an American legend) and his six-decade long career in the industry.
Sir Cliff was born Harry Rodger Webb in October 1940 to supportive, loving parents. His father was a firm-handed man, with expectations of his son’s achieving academically before his fateful decision at 17yo to pursue a career in the burgeoning field of rock. This path was, like so many British icons of the time and the subsequent decade was influenced by one man, Elvis Presley.
Harry Webb, as he was known at the time, heard the distinctive tones of Elvis through a parked car window and it put him on a path that continues to this day. As Sir Cliff espouses throughout his autobiography, this was his dream and he has been fortunate and indeed, lucky enough to have maintained a long-standing career in spite of changes in the way music is marketed to the masses and a horrifying scandal, spawned from an allegation of sexual abuse.
It is undeniable that Sir Cliff has been a powerhouse in the entertainment game with singles and albums which have entered into triple digits. In The Dreamer, we read about his influences, writing and performance partners, and the commendable success he’s had.
The Dreamer is also the life story of a man for whom Christianity is a cornerstone of his very being. Thankfully, Sir Cliff is not a bible-thumping Christian; he keeps his descriptions of his faith to their most personally supportive, particularly focussing on his charity work and its importance in allowing him to stay strong during the darkest times of his life, including the loss of loved ones and the abuse investigation.
This is a fun, informative – perhaps a tad self-aggrandising read (but then, why else would you write your autobiography) – with only minor drawbacks: the overt use of exclamation points and italicisation to drive home particular messages.
Regardless of nit-picking, The Dreamer showcases the extensive and on-going career of one of Britain’s most successful artists, Sir Cliff Richard. Whether you’re a Young One, going on a Summer Holiday or Wired for Sound, live the dream.
Reviewed by Glen Christie
Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: November 2020