Cliff Richard warned ‘more time’ for flat-Earthers than Christians before ‘bionic’ snub

Cliff Richard was 'not concerned' about relationships says expert

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The Summer Holiday singer announced his faith to the world shortly after his father’s death in the Sixties. Many considered the move unusual for a rock and roll star and some disowned him because of it. The 80-year-old, who remains a proud Christian today, was shaped by his beliefs despite coming under fire for his declaration.

In his autobiography, Cliff Richard: The Dreamer, which was released in October, he noted the impact his faith had on his life.

He started dating Sue Barker after being asked to befriend and guide her while she found Christianity. 

The singer was recommended as a mentor as he too had found religion while under the media spotlight. 

But it wasn’t all positive, Sir Cliff revealed the commitment to his faith led Sir Elton John to brand him “the bionic Christian”.

Sir Cliff explained his religious beliefs in the mid-Sixties, several years after his father Rodger Webb died from complications related to thrombosis. 

After his father’s passing, the singer financially supported his mother Dorothy and three sisters Donella, Jacqueline and Joan.

Royston Ellis, who penned the 1960 biography Driftin’ With Cliff Richard, believed the singer was “always liable to faith”.

The author said: “He wanted a belief, so he was susceptible to it.”

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Mr Ellis believed this was because of Sir Cliff’s “parental background” and “the culture in India”, where he was born and raised for eight years.

He continued: “Everyone has a faith in India and some people have several faiths.”

When Sir Cliff announced he was a Christian to the world, he claimed to have “asked many, many questions” and didn’t want to find faith.

He said: “I hoped, really deep down, that maybe I wouldn’t get the right answer so that I could call the whole thing off and have a great time.”

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After finding religion, Sir Cliff wanted to “tell as many people that will listen” about Christianity.

Paul Jones, from the rock band Manfred Mann, claimed it was a “courageous” decision to announce faith back at that time. 

In the 2003 documentary The Real Cliff Richard, Mr Jones said: “To declare it was just the most unfashionable, the most daring, courageous and brave act you could imagine. 

“You could have said that you believed that the world was flat and people would have had more time for you.”

Mr Jones felt Sir Cliff’s speech was “powerful” because it was “so totally real” and genuine.

Religious broadcaster Cindy Kent explained that “it was very rare” to be a “Christian in show business in the Sixties”.

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She continued: “In fact, Cliff, I think, broke the mould by being the one that stood up in front of thousands… and said, ‘I’m a Christian.’”

Sir Cliff is far from the only openly Christian musician today – Lenny Kravitz, Kings Of Leon, Alice Cooper, U2 and others have all publicly professed their beliefs.

Ms Kent revealed the singer asked “endless questions” to David Winter, then the BBC’s Head Of Religious Broadcasting, before becoming a Christian.

She claimed he spent “hours and hours and hours” with Sir Cliff because he “asked more questions than anybody he ever knew had while trying to become a Christian”.

Mr Winter confessed it was a “terrifying experience” because he felt he was “in the dock and Christianity was under trial” during his chats with the singer.

He said: “I can tell you, he’s not an intellectual but my goodness he is bright.”

Bruce Welch, from Sir Cliff’s former band The Shadows, was less than unimpressed with the singer’s faith.

He claimed the musician “looked like a bank manager” due to his “horn-rimmed glasses, the suit and tie”.

Mr Welch thought his new style was in contradiction with the musical genre he subscribed to.

The guitarist said: “He [was]… professing to be rock and roll but he didn’t look like a rock and roll star.”

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