World of Chig   

Sir Cliff comes third in bi-curious sex three-way

...which means he still hasn't had a number 1 single in the noughties, to give him a chart-topper in six consecutive decades.

It was a close-run thing all week between Kings Of Leon, who have entered at number one on downloads only, Katy Perry, who slips to #2 and Cliff Richard, who enters at #3. Up to Wednesday night, Kings of Leon had sold 36.2% of sales between the three of them, Katy Perry 32.6% and Cliff 31.2%. It's quite surprising that he didn't at least overtake Katy Perry, in her seventh week on sale, especially as he has done the rounds of daytime TV all week. Still, there's something delicious about Cliff being denied the chart achievement by one song about raunchy sex and a bi-curious anthem. It also gave Fearne Cotton the opportunity to tell American Caleb from the Kings of Leon that, "you have beaten off Cliff Richard" on the Radio 1 chart show, in one of those double entendres that gets lost on the Yanks.

It goes to show that you can't have a number one single just because you ask people nicely to give you the chart record. Here's some advice for Cliff's record company if they want to try again, say at Christmas.

1) Don't restrict sales of the CD to Woolworth's only. Cliff's fans, like the rest of us, would have had trouble locating the singles section in any Woolworth's these days, because the display is so small. By Christmas, it will be impossible, as Woolworth's were due to stop selling singles last month anyway. If the single had been in HMV, Cliff would probably have been number one today.

2) Teach your fans how to buy downloads. Start by teaching them how to turn on a PC. Cliff has at least topped the physical singles chart today. Hardly any of his sales were of the digital variety.

3) Release a better song. 'Thank You For A Lifetime' is syrupy rubbish. To be fair, it would have been nice if Cliff had achieved his noughties number one in 2006, with 21st Century Christmas, which was lyrically original and interesting, unlike this new load of mush. It ended up being stuck at #2, behind Leona Lewis's début single.

4) Check the release schedules and don't go up against something as good as the Kings of Leon single. They may never have made higher than #13 in the singles chart before, but this is a stormer of a track and a well-deserved chart-topper. The CD single hits the shops tomorrow.

For the record, Cliff Richard has appeared on fifteen UK number one singles so far, in each of the first five decades of the chart era, but not the sixth:

Twice in the 1950s:
Living Doll (1959). With The Drifters (the early name for The Shadows).
Travellin' Light (1959). With The Shadows.

Seven times in the 1960s:
Please Don't Tease, I Love You (both 1960). Both with The Shadows.
The Young Ones (1962). With The Shadows.
The Next Time/Bachelor Boy (1962), Summer Holiday (1963). Both with The Shadows and The Norrie Paramor Strings.
The Minute You're Gone (1965)
Congratulations (1968)

Once in the 1970s:
We Don't Talk Anymore (1979).

Three times in the 1980s:
Living Doll (1986). With The Young Ones, featuring Hank Marvin
Mistletoe & Wine (1988).
Do They Know It's Christmas? (1989). Part of Band Aid II.

Twice in the 1990s:
Saviour's Day (1990).
The Millennium Prayer (1999).

This total of 15 chart-toppers includes the Band Aid II single from 1989, which some sources choose to ignore. Only six of the fifteen have been under Cliff Richard's solo name; the other nine have all been collaborations or had co-credits.

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