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Birth name Harry Rodger WebbBirth 14 october 1940
(79 years) at Lucknow (Inde
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. Richard has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. He has total sales of over 21 million singles in the UK and is the third-top-selling singles artist in UK Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
With his backing group the Shadows, Richard, originally positioned as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard and Elvis Presley, dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His 1958 hit single "Move It" is often described as Britain's first authentic rock and roll song, and John Lennon once claimed that "before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music." Increased focus on his Christian faith and subsequent softening of his music later led to a more middle of the road pop image, sometimes venturing into contemporary Christian music.
Over a career spanning more than 50 years, Richard has become a fixture of the British entertainment world, amassing many gold and platinum discs and awards, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male twice and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and two Ivor Novello Awards. He has had more than 130 singles, albums and EPs make the UK Top 20, more than any other artist and holds the record (with Elvis Presley) as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six decades (1950s–2000s). He has achieved 14 UK No. 1 singles (or 18, depending on the counting methodology) and is the only singer to have had a No. 1 single in the UK in 5 consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 1990s. In 2008, he celebrated his 50th anniversary in music by releasing a greatest hits album, featuring the new track "Thank You for a Lifetime", which reached number 3 in the UK singles chart. In November 2013, Richard released The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook, which became the 100th album of his career.
Richard has never achieved the same impact in the United States despite eight US Top 40 singles, including the million-selling "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore", the latter becoming the first to reach the Billboard Hot 100's top 40 in the 1980s by a singer who had been in the top 40 in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In Canada, Richard achieved moderate success in the 1980s with several albums reaching platinum status. He has remained a popular music, film, and television personality in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Northern Europe and Asia, and he retains a following in other countries.
Richard has been a resident for most of his life in the United Kingdom, but in 2010 confirmed that he is now a citizen of Barbados. He now divides his time between living in Barbados and at a vineyard property in Portugal. In 2014 and 2015 Richard has been involved in a controversy that concerns police conduct into an allegation against Richard of a historical sexual offence against a boy, an allegation which Richard strongly denies. Richard has not been arrested or charged with any offence.
1940–58: Childhood and adolescence
Harry Rodger Webb was born in India at King George's Hospital, Victoria Street, in Lucknow, which was then part of British India (or the British Raj). His parents were Rodger Oscar Webb, a manager for a catering contractor that serviced the Indian Railways, and the former Dorothy Marie Dazely. Richard is primarily of English heritage, but he has one great-grandmother who was of half Welsh and half Spanish descent, born of a Spanish great-great-grandmother named Emiline Joseph Rebeiro.
The Webb family lived in a modest home in Maqbara, near the main shopping centre of Hazratganj. Dorothy's mother served as the dormitory matron at the La Martiniere Girls' School. Richard has three sisters.
In 1948, following Indian independence, the family embarked on a three-week sea voyage to Tilbury, Essex, England aboard the SS Ranchi. The Webbs moved from comparative wealth in India, where they had servants and lived in a company-supplied flat at Howrah near Calcutta, to a semi-detached house in Carshalton. Harry Webb attended a local primary school, Stanley Park Juniors, in Carshalton. In 1949 his father obtained employment in the credit control office of Thorn Electrical Industries and the family moved in with other relatives in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, where he attended Kings Road Junior Mixed Infants School until a three-bedroom council house in Cheshunt was allocated to them in 1950.
He then attended Cheshunt Secondary Modern School from 1952 to 1957. (The school was later renamed Riversmead School before being rebuilt and renamed Bishopslea School). As a member of the top stream, he stayed on beyond the minimum leaving age to take GCE Ordinary Level examinations and gained a pass in English literature. He then started work as a filing clerk for Atlas Lamps. A development of retirement flats, Cliff Richard Court, has been named after him in Cheshunt.
Harry Webb became interested in skiffle. His father bought him a guitar at 16 and he formed the Quintones vocal group in 1957, before singing in the Dick Teague Skiffle Group.
1958–63: Success and stardom
Harry Webb became lead singer of a rock and roll group, the Drifters (not to be confused with the US group of the same name). 1950s entrepreneur Harry Greatorex wanted the up-and-coming Rock 'n' Roll singer to change from his real name of Harry Webb. The name Cliff was adopted as it sounded like cliff face, which suggested "Rock." It was "Move It" writer Ian Samwell who suggested that the former Harry Webb be surnamed Richard as a tribute to Webb's musical hero Little Richard.
Before their first large-scale appearance, at the Regal Ballroom in Ripley, Derbyshire in 1958, they adopted the name "Cliff Richard and the Drifters". The four members were Harry Webb (now going under the stage name "Cliff Richard"), Ian "Sammy" Samwell on guitar, Terry Smart on drums and Norman Mitham on guitar. None of the other three played with the later and better known Shadows, although Samwell wrote songs for Richard's later career.
For his debut session, Norrie Paramor provided Richard with "Schoolboy Crush", a cover of an American record by Bobby Helms. Richard was permitted to record one of his own songs for the B-side; this was "Move It", written by the Drifters' Samwell on a number 715 Green Line bus on the way to Richard's house for a rehearsal. For the "Move It" session, Paramor used the session guitarist Ernie Shears on lead guitar and Frank Clark on bass.
There are various stories about why the A-side was replaced by the intended B-side. One is that Norrie Paramor's young daughter raved about the B-side; another was that influential TV producer Jack Good, who used the act for his TV show Oh Boy!, wanted the only song on his show to be "Move It". Richard was quoted as saying –
It's wonderful to be going on TV for the first time, but I feel so nervous that I don't know what to do. I shaved my sideburns off last night... Jack Good said it would make me look more original.— NME, September 1958
The single went to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. John Lennon credited "Move It" as being the first British rock record.
In the early days, Richard was marketed as the British equivalent of Elvis Presley. Like previous British rockers such as Tommy Steele and Marty Wilde, Richard adopted Presley-like dress and hairstyle. In performance he struck a pose of rock attitude, rarely smiling or looking at the audience or camera. His late 1958 and early 1959 follow-up singles, "High Class Baby" and "Livin' Lovin' Doll", were followed by "Mean Streak", which carried a rocker's sense of speed and passion, and Lionel Bart's "Living Doll".
It was on "Living Doll" that the Drifters began to back Richard on record. It was his fifth record, and became his first No. 1 single. By that time the group's line-up had changed with the arrival of Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch. The group was obliged to change its name to "The Shadows" after legal complications with the American group the Drifters as "Living Doll" entered the American top 40, licensed by ABC-Paramount. "Living Doll" was used in Richard's début film Serious Charge, but as a country standard, rather than a rock and roll standard.
The Shadows were not a typical backing group. They became contractually separate from Richard, and the group received no royalties for records backing Richard. In 1959, the Shadows (then still the Drifters) landed an EMI recording contract of their own, for independent recordings. That year, they released three singles, two of which featured double-sided vocals and one of which had instrumental A and B sides. They thereafter had several major hits, including five UK No. 1s. The band also continued to appear and record with Richard and wrote many of his hits. On more than one occasion, a Shadows' instrumental replaced a Richard song at the top of the British charts.
Richard's fifth single "Living Doll" triggered a softer, more relaxed, sound. Subsequent hits, the No. 1s "Travellin' Light" and "I Love You" and also "A Voice in the Wilderness" lifted from his film Expresso Bongo and "Theme for a Dream" cemented Richard's status as a mainstream pop entertainer along with contemporaries such as Adam Faith and Billy Fury. Throughout the early 1960s, his hits were consistently in the top five.
In 1961, EMI records organised Richard's 21st birthday party at its London headquarters in Manchester Square led by his producer Norrie Paramor. Photographs of the celebrations were incorporated into Richard's next album "21 Today" in which Tony Meehan joined in despite, then, having very recently left the Shadows to be replaced by Brian Bennett.
Typically, the Shadows closed the first half of the show with a 30-minute set of their own, then backed Richard on his show-closing 45-minute stint as exemplified by the retrospective CD album release of "Live at the ABC Kingston 1962". Tony Meehan and Jet Harris left the group in 1961 and 1962 respectively and later had their own chart successes for Decca. The Shadows added bass players Brian Locking (1962–63) and then John Rostill (1963–68) and took on Brian Bennett permanently on drums.
In the early days, particularly on EP and album releases, Richard sometimes recorded without the Shadows to cater to other styles with the Norrie Paramor Orchestra with Tony Meehan and then Brian Bennett as a session drummer. Even after the Beatles' rise he continued to achieve hits, although more often with an orchestra rather than the Shadows: a revival of "It's All in the Game" and "Constantly", a revived single of a well-known Italian hit. A session under the direction of Billy Sherrill in Nashville, Tennessee yielded two more top two hits: "The Minute You're Gone" and "Wind Me Up" in 1965.
Richard, and in particular the Shadows, never achieved star status in the United States. In 1960 they toured the United States and were well-received, but lacklustre support and distribution from a revolving door of American record labels proved an obstacle to long-term success there despite several chart records by Richard including the aforementioned "It's All in the Game" on Epic, via a renewed linking of the worldwide Columbia labels after Philips ended its distribution deal with CBS. To the Shadows' chagrin, Apache reached No. 1 in the US via a cover version by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann which was almost unchanged from their worldwide hit. Richard and the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was crucial for the Beatles, but these performances did not help them gain sustained success in North America.
Richard and the Shadows appeared in six feature films including a debut in the 1959 film Serious Charge but most notably in The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, Wonderful Life and Finders Keepers. These films created their own genre known as the "Cliff Richard musical" and led to Richard being named the No. 1 cinema box office attraction in Britain for both 1962 and 1963 beating that of even James Bond. The title song of The Young Ones became his biggest-selling single in the United Kingdom, selling over one million copies in the UK. The irreverent 1980s TV sitcom The Young Ones took its name from Richard's 1962 film. In mid-1963, Cliff and the Shadows appeared for a season in Blackpool, where Richard had his portrait modelled by Victor Heyfron.
1964–75: Changing circumstances
As with the other existing rock acts in Britain, Richard's career was affected by the advent of the Beatles and the Mersey sound in 1963 and 1964. He continued to have hits in the charts throughout the 1960s, albeit not at the level that he had enjoyed before. Nor did doors open to him in the US market; he was not considered part of the British Invasion, and despite four Hot 100 hits (including the top 25 "It's All in the Game") between August 1963 and August 1964, the American public had little awareness of him.
Richard's 1965 UK No. 12 hit "On My Word" ended a run of 23 consecutive top ten UK hits between "A Voice in the Wilderness" in 1960 to "The Minute You're Gone" in 1965, which, to date, is still a record number of consecutive top ten UK hits for a male artist. Richard continued having international hits, including 1967's "The Day I Met Marie", which reached No. 10 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 5 in the Australian charts.
Although baptised as an Anglican, Richard did not practise the faith in his early years. In 1964, he became an active Christian and his faith has become an important aspect of his life. Standing up publicly as a Christian affected his career in several ways. Initially, he believed that he should quit rock 'n roll, feeling he could no longer be the rocker who had been called a "crude exhibitionist" and "too sexy for TV". Richard intended at first to "reform his ways" and become a teacher, but Christian friends advised him not to abandon his career just because he had become an active Christian. Soon after, Richard re-emerged, performing with Christian groups and recording some Christian material. He still recorded secular songs with the Shadows, but devoted a lot of his time to Christian work, including appearances with the Billy Graham crusades. As time progressed, Richard balanced his faith and work, enabling him to remain one of the most popular singers in Britain as well as one of its best-known Christians.
Richard acted in the 1967 film Two a Penny, released by Billy Graham's World Wide Pictures, in which he played Jamie Hopkins, a young man who gets involved in drug dealing while questioning his life after his girlfriend changes her attitude. He released the live album Cliff in Japan in 1967.
In 1968, he sang the UK's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest: "Congratulations" by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter; it lost by one point to Spain's "La La La". According to John Kennedy O'Connor's The Eurovision Song Contest—The Official History, this was the closest result yet in the contest and Richard locked himself in the toilet to avoid the nerves of the voting. In May 2008 a Reuters news report claimed that voting in the competition had been fixed by the Spanish dictator leader, Francisco Franco, to ensure that the Spanish entry won, allowing them to host the contest the following year (1969). It is claimed that Spanish TVE television executives offered to buy programmes in exchange for votes. The story was widely covered and featured on UK Channel 4 News as a main story, with Jon Snow interviewing author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor about the matter. Eurovision later ended voting by national juries in a bid to eradicate such alleged scams. Nevertheless, "Congratulations" was a huge hit throughout Europe and Australia and yet another No. 1 in April 1968.
After the Shadows split in 1968, Richard continued to record.
During the 1970s, Richard took part in several television shows and fronted his own show It's Cliff Richard from 1970–1976. It starred Olivia Newton-John, Hank Marvin and Una Stubbs, and included A Song for Europe. He began 1970 by appearing live on the BBC's review of the sixties music scene, Pop Go The Sixties, which was broadcast across Britain and Europe on 31 December 1969. He performed "Bachelor Boy" with the Shadows and "Congratulations" solo. In 1972, he made a short BBC television comedy film called The Case with appearances from comedians and his first ever duets with a woman, Olivia Newton-John. He went on to release a double live album "Cliff Live in Japan 1972" featuring Newton-John.
His final acting role on the silver screen was in 1973 when he starred in the film Take Me High.
In 1973, he sang the British Eurovision entry "Power to All Our Friends"; the song finished third, close behind Luxembourg's "Tu Te Reconnaîtras" and Spain's "Eres Tú". This time, Richard took Valium to overcome his nerves and his manager was almost unable to wake him for the performance. Richard also hosted the BBC's qualifying heat for the Eurovision Song Contest, A Song for Europe, in 1970, 1971 and 1972 as part of his BBCTV variety series. He presented the Eurovision Song Contest Previews for the BBC in 1971 and 1972.
In 1975, he released the single "Honky Tonk Angel" produced by Hank Marvin and John Farrar, oblivious to its connotations or hidden meanings. As soon as Richard was notified that a "honky-tonk angel" was southern US slang for a prostitute, Richard ordered EMI to withdraw it. He refused to promote it despite making a video for it. EMI agreed to his demand despite positive sales. About 1,000 copies are known to exist on vinyl.
In 1976, the decision was made to repackage Richard as a "rock" artist. That year Bruce Welch relaunched Cliff's career and produced the landmark album I'm Nearly Famous, which included the successful but controversial guitar-driven track "Devil Woman" (Richard's first true hit in the US) and the ballad "Miss You Nights". Richard's fans were excited about this revival of a performer who had been a part of British rock from its early days. Many music names such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Elton John were seen sporting I'm Nearly Famous badges, pleased that their boyhood idol was getting back into the heavier rock in which he had begun his career.
Notwithstanding this, Richard continued to release albums with contemporary Christian music content in parallel with his rock and pop albums, for example: Small Corners from 1978 contained the single "Yes He Lives". On 31 December 1976, he performed his latest single "Hey, Mr. Dream Maker" on BBC1's A Jubilee of Music, celebrating British pop music for Queen Elizabeth II's impending Silver Jubilee.
In 1979, Richard teamed up once again with producer Bruce Welch for the pop hit single "We Don't Talk Anymore", written by Alan Tarney, which hit No. 1 in the UK and No. 7 in the US. Bryan Ferry added hummed backing vocals to the song. The record made Richard the first act to reach the Hot 100's top 40 in the 1980s who had also been there in each of the three previous decades. The song was quickly added onto the end of his latest album Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile. It was his first time at the top of the UK singles chart in over ten years and the song would become his biggest-selling single worldwide, selling almost five million copies throughout the world. Later in 1979, Richard performed with Kate Bush at the London Symphony Orchestra's 75th anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall.
At long last Richard had some extended success in the United States following "Devil Woman". The follow-up "Dreamin'" peaked at No. 10. His 1980 duet "Suddenly" with Olivia Newton-John, from the film Xanadu, peaked at No. 20. In the UK, "Dreamin'" peaked at No. 8 and "Carrie" reached No. 4. In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Dave Thompson praised "Carrie" as being "an enthrallingly atmospheric number. One of the most electrifying of all Cliff Richard's recordings."
In 1980, Richard changed his name by deed poll from Harry Webb to Cliff Richard and received the O.B.E. from the Queen for services to music and charity.
The singles chart saw his most consistent period of top twenty hits since the mid-1960s, with "A Little in Love", "Dreamin'", and "Suddenly" on the Hot 100 at the same time at the end of 1980. Richard continued with a string of top ten albums, including I'm No Hero, Wired for Sound,
Now You See Me, Now You Don't, and, marking his 25th year in show business, Silver.
In 1986, Richard reached No. 1 by teaming up with The Young Ones to re-record his smash hit "Living Doll" for the charity Comic Relief. Along with the song, the recording contained comedy dialogue between Richard and the Young Ones. That same year Richard opened in the West End as a rock musician called upon to defend Earth in a trial set in the Andromeda Galaxy in the multi-media Dave Clark musical Time. Two Richard singles, "She's So Beautiful", which reached No. 17 in the UK and "Born To Rock 'n Roll", were released respectively in 1985 and 1986 from the concept album recorded for Time.
In August 1986, Richard was involved in a five-car crash in torrential rain on the M4 motorway in West London. Richard's car was a write-off as another car swerved and braked hard. Richard hurt his back in the accident, but was not seriously injured in the crash. Police called for a cab from the accident scene so that he was able to perform that night in the "Time" musical. Richard said: "I'm lucky to be here" after the show. He said that his seatbelt prevented him from flying through the windscreen.
In October 1986, "All I Ask of You", a duet that Richard recorded with Sarah Brightman from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of The Phantom of the Opera reached No. 3 in the UK singles chart. 1987 saw Richard record his Always Guaranteed album, which became his best selling album of all new material. It contained the two top-10 hit singles "My Pretty One" and "Some People".
Richard concluded his thirtieth year in music by achieving a UK Christmas No. 1 single in 1988 with "Mistletoe and Wine", while simultaneously holding the No. 1 positions on the album and video charts with the compilation Private Collection summing up his biggest hits from 1979–1988. "Mistletoe and Wine" was Richard's 99th UK single and spent four weeks at the top of the chart. It was the best-selling UK single of 1988, shifting 750,000 copies.
In 1989, Richard received the Brits highest award: "The Outstanding Contribution award". In June 1989, he filled London's Wembley Stadium for two nights with a spectacular titled "The Event" in front of a combined audience of 144,000 people.
Richard's 1989 UK No. 2 hit single "The Best of Me" received positive reviews from critics and established him as the first British artist to release 100 singles. "The Best of Me" was included in the top ten album Stronger, together with the UK No. 3 "Just Don't Have The Heart" and the 1990 UK No. 11 hit "From a Distance".
On 30 June 1990, Richard performed to an estimated 120,000 people at England's Knebworth Park as part of an all-star concert line-up that also included Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Elton John and Tears for Fears. The concert in aid of charity was televised around the world and helped to raise $10.5 million for disabled children and young musicians.
Later in 1990, Richard scored his second UK Christmas No. 1 single with "Saviour's Day", a song written by Chris Eaton, which became Richard's 13th UK No. 1 single and his 100th top 40 hit. The video for "Saviour's Day" featured Richard singing on top of the limestone arch landmark of Durdle Door in Dorset.
Richard unsuccessfully bid for the Christmas No. 1 spot again with "We Should Be Together" and "Healing Love" in 1991 and 1993 respectively – the latter being taken from his No. 1 studio album Cliff Richard – The Album. The next few years saw Richard concentrate on bringing the musical Heathcliff to the stage.
Back in the UK during the next years and throughout the 1980s, Richard remained one of the best-known music artists in the country. In the space of several years he worked with Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Julian Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Phil Everly, Janet Jackson, Sheila Walsh and Van Morrison. Richard also reunited with Olivia Newton-John. Meanwhile, the Shadows later re-formed (and again split). They recorded on their own, but also reunited with Richard in 1978, 1984, 1989–90, 2004, and 2009 for some concerts.
On 17 June 1995, Richard was appointed a Knight Bachelor (and invested on 25 October 1995) and became the first rock star to be so honoured (Bob Geldof had received his honorary knighthood nine years earlier).
In 1996, he led the Wimbledon Centre Court crowd in singing during a rain delay when asked by Wimbledon officials to entertain the crowd.
In late 1990s, Cliff Richard established with former EMI UK managing director Clive Black a record label they named Blacknight. In 1998, Richard demonstrated that radio stations were refusing to play his music by releasing his latest single "Can't Keep This Feeling In" on a white label through the label Blacknight. The single was featured on playlists until the true artist was revealed. Richard eventually included it in his album Real as I Wanna Be under his own name.
In 1999, controversy again arose regarding radio stations refusing to play his releases when EMI, Richard's label since 1958, refused to release his song, "The Millennium Prayer", having judged that the song did not have commercial potential. Richard took it to an independent label, Papillon, which released the charity recording (in aid of Children's Promise). The single went on to top the UK chart for three weeks, becoming his fourteenth No.1 and the third-highest-selling single of his career.
Richard's next album, in 2001, was a covers project, Wanted, followed by another top ten album, Cliff at Christmas. The holiday album contained both new and older recordings, including the single "Santa's List", which reached No. 5 in 2003.
For his seven-day-long 60th birthday party Richard in conjunction with OK magazine hired a cruise boat to Monte Carlo and sailed with his top 80 (out of a possible 500) specially invited guests, mostly from British showbiz, to France. Among the guests were Olivia Newton-John, Shirley Bassey, Sue Barker, Gloria Hunniford, Tim Rice, Mike Read, Richard's three sisters, etc.
Richard went to Nashville, Tennessee for his next album project in 2004, employing a writers' conclave to give him the pick of all new songs for the album Something's Goin' On. It was another top-10 album, and produced three UK top-20 singles: "Something's Goin' On", "I Cannot Give You My Love", with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, and "What Car".
On 14 June 2004, Richard joined the Shadows on-stage at the London Palladium. The Shadows had decided to re-form for another tour of the UK. It was not to be their last tour together though, as they would re-form once again for a final tour five years later in 2009.
Two's Company, an album of duets released in 2006, was another top-10 success for Richard and included newly recorded material with Brian May, Dionne Warwick, Anne Murray, Barry Gibb and Daniel O'Donnell, plus some previously recorded duets with artists such as Phil Everly, Elton John and Olivia Newton-John. Two's Company was released to coincide with the UK leg of his latest world tour, "Here and Now", which included lesser known songs such as "My Kinda Life", "How Did She Get Here", "Hey Mr. Dream Maker", "For Life", "A Matter of Moments", "When The Girl in Your Arms" and the Christmas single "21st Century Christmas", which debuted at No. 2 on the UK singles chart.
Another compilation album, Love... The Album was released on 12 November 2007. Like Two's Company before it, this album includes both previously released material and newly recorded songs, namely "Waiting for a Girl Like You", "When You Say Nothing at All", "All Out of Love", "If You're Not the One" and "When I Need You" (the last was released as a single, reaching No. 38; the album peaked at No. 13).
2008–present: 50th anniversary and The Shadows reunion
2008, Richard's 51st year in the music business saw the release of the eight-CD box set And They Said It Wouldn't Last (My 50 Years in Music). In September, a single celebrating his 50 years in pop music, titled "Thank You for a Lifetime" was released. On 14 September 2008 it reached No. 3 on the UK music charts.
On 11 November 2008, Richard's official website announced that Cliff and the Shadows would reunite to celebrate their 50th anniversary in the music business. A month later they performed at the Royal Variety Performance. In 2009, Cliff and the Shadows brought their partnership to an end with the "Golden Anniversary concert tour of the UK".
A new album by Richard and the Shadows was released in September 2009. Titled Reunited, It was their first studio project in forty years. The 28 tracks recorded comprise 25 re-recordings of their earlier work, with three "new" tracks, originally from that era (and earlier), the single "Singing the Blues", along with Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and the Frankie Ford hit "Sea Cruise". The album charted at No. 6 in the UK charts in its opening week and peaked at No. 4. The reunion tour continued into Europe in 2010. In June 2009, it was reported by Sound Kitchen Studios in Nashville that Richard was to return there shortly to record a new album of original recordings of jazz songs. He was to record fourteen tracks in a week.
Richard performed "Congratulations" at the 70th birthday celebrations of Queen Margrethe II in Denmark on 13 April 2010.
On 14 October 2010, Richard celebrated his 70th birthday and to mark the occasion, he performed a series of six concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, London. To accompany the concerts, a new album of cover versions of swing standards, Bold as Brass, was released on 11 October. The official party celebrating Richard's 70th birthday was held on 23 October 2010, with guests including Cilla Black, Elaine Paige and Daniel O'Donnell.
After a week of promotion, Richard flew out to rehearse for the German Night of the Proms concerts in Belgium at the end of October. He made a surprise appearance at the Antwerp concert of the Night of the Proms on Thursday, 28 October 2010 and sang "We Don't Talk Anymore" to a great reaction from the surprised 20,000 fans at Sportpaleis Antwerp. In all, he toured 12 German cities in November and December 2010, during the Night of the Proms concerts, as the headline act. The total of 18 concerts were attended by over 300,000 fans. Richard performed a selection of hits and tracks from the Bold As Brass album.
In November 2010, he achieved his third consecutive UK No. 1 music DVD in three years with the DVD release of Bold as Brass.
In October 2011, Richard released his Soulicious album, containing duets with American soul singers including Percy Sledge, Ashford and Simpson, Roberta Flack, Freda Payne and Candi Staton. The album was produced by Lamont Dozier and was supported by a short UK arena tour. Soulicious became Richard's 41st top-10 UK hit album.
He was among the performers at the Diamond Jubilee concert held outside Buckingham Palace in June 2012.
On 30 June 2012, Richard helped to carry the Olympic torch from Derby to Birmingham as part of the torch relay for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Richard said that his run with the Olympic torch would be one of his top-10 memories.
In November 2013, Richard released the 100th album of his career, The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook. To that point Richard had released 47 studio albums, 35 compilations, 11 live albums and 7 film soundtracks.
Richard was scheduled to open for Morrissey at a live concert at New York's 19,000-capacity Barclays Center on 21 June 2014. Morrissey said that he was "honoured and thrilled" to have Richard on the bill. It was reported on 16 June 2014 that Morrissey had cancelled the concert after collapsing with an "acute fever". Richard announced that he would stage a free show for fans in New York on the same night the cancelled concert was due to take place.
In October 2015, Richard performed on tour to mark his 75th birthday. He took to the stage across seven cities in the UK, including six nights at London's Royal Albert Hall, a venue he has performed on over 100 occasions during his career. Richard's 2015 tour received a positive review from The Guardian's rock music critic Dave Simpson.