182. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t – Cliff Richard
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T (1982)
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.