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Sir Cliff Richard, Kt., OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb, 14 October 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. He is the third-top-selling singles artist in the United Kingdom's history, with total sales of over 21 million in the UK and has reportedly sold an estimated 250 million records worldwide.
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 gospel 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 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 five consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 1990s.
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.Harry Rodger Webb was born in India at the King George 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 his wife Dorothy Marie Dazely. Richard was baptised Harry Rodger Webb on 2 November 1940 at St Thomas's Church, Dehradun, India. The family lived in a modest home with other Anglo-Indians at Maqbara, near the main shopping centre of Hazratganj. The Anglo-Indians living at Maqbara were often employed as musicians; a band played at the Royal Cafe Restaurant, Lucknow, and another at the Mohmmad Bagh club, which was the officers' club serving the garrison at Lucknow. Dorothy's mother served as the dormitory matron at the La Martiniere Girls' School. Anglo-Indians did not enjoy any great social status in India and were looked down upon by the British. Richard has three sisters. In around 1945, his family moved to Howrah, near Calcutta, where he started his schooling in St. Thomas' Church School, Howrah, which still exists.
In 1948, following Indian independence the family embarked on a three-week sea voyage to Tilbury, Essex, England aboard the SS Ranchi.