Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 182. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t – Cliff Richard

182. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t – Cliff Richard


Cliff Richard

I do believe the only artist on this list to be officially “knighted” is Cliff Richard. Not bad for a pop star and teen heart throb from the 1950’s and 60’s. Then again John Lennon was a fan and he is said to be the first real “rock star” from Great Britain. Sir Cliff Richard has also been a devoted Christian and has recorded several Gospel themed albums. The one in question here is the very best as it is simply a pop album with Gospel themes rather than a Gospel album that tries to sound pop.

The album is also unique in that it also generated a comeback of sort for the artist in his native land after several years of unsuccessful pop albums. NYSMNYD went Gold in England and had several radio hits on both side of the Atlantic.

Released in 1982 Christian music was constantly gravitating toward “pop stars” who professed a Christian belief (Bob Dylan, Joe English), but this album never saw Christian distribution and many missed this great album. Thief in the Night is much heavier song musically than the normal Richard bubble gum and is the center piece to the whole project. It rocks and like the rest of the albums sounds like it was influenced by Mark Williamson and Chris Eaton.

The album has a bit of an Ambrosia feel with silky, pop driven rockers and big ballads meant for radio consumption. But the rockers stand out like the previously mentioned Thief in the Night and the bombastic Son of Thunder. “Little Town” Chris Eaton arranged version of O Little Town of Bethlehem would also be recorded by Amy Grant and Michael W Smith.  Richard’s version would be the best.

One last song of note is the song Christian radio gravitated to;  Water is Wide is a stunningly beautiful remake of the traditional tune. Simply, if not a bit over-produced, the song would chart on CCM radio and be Richards only real CCM hit. He would later do a duet with Van Morrison that would also hit CCM radio.

  1. Rick Giovanetto
    February 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    English group Nutshell wrote and originally recorded “Thief in the Night” an equally amazing recording although much more acoustic. Why “Little Town” by Richards is played every Christmas on every station defies explanation.

  2. Brian
    February 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Agreed on the synopsis on all accounts

  3. Don
    April 8, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Great album

  4. Greenchili
    December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Agreed on the synopsis.. however you scared me away from his other stuff with the word “bubble gum”.. lol. So did he have any other releases even worthy of checking out?

  5. Ecron Muss
    January 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    You’re not right about this being a comeback. He had hosted a UK television pop show in the late ’70s, then there were the hits Wired For Sound, Xanadu, Devil Woman, We Don’t Talk Anymore… not a comeback album at all!

    Trivia: The Only Way Out was a minor mainstream hit from this album, a song referring to Christ, but not by name.

    Trivia: his previous Gospel-oriented album was Small Corners in 1977. On it he covered Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman and others, including LN’s at-the-time unreleased Up In Canada, from one of the “censored” versions of LN’s So Long Ago the Garden. (Funny how record companies constantly direct their artists to change, remix or record new material for albums prior to release, but when it happened to Larry, it was censorship!)

  6. K-Y Su
    April 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Bubblegum might not be comprehensively accurate re his post-60s output; pure pop (apologies to Nick Lowe) might be more accurate on average. Even on his bubblegum, his strength is he’s a very skilled and nuanced vocalist and interpreter. This did get mainstream distribution in the US and of course Europe, and that’s the real achievement here, an appropriate level of Christian themes that was accepted by the general public and held up critically on strength of its music; in that sense it’s a pop parallel to the 77s #1 “black album” or Amy’s Unguarded, and I’d concur it’s an underrated top 200 LP. I heard a few cuts on my Christian station here, picked up tape at Tower/etc and the LP in Hong Kong (probably should’ve left it for someone that needed the message). I’d cite the closing track, “Discovering”, as noteworthy musically (fretless bass) and thematically; “The Water is Wide” segues into it to form a clever/profound point-counterpoint mini-suite; begs for a modern-dance interpretation.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: