Cilla Black has undoubtedly proven in what is fast approaching her 40th year in showbiz [due 2003] to be an extremely versatile & successful artiste, in 1997 being awarded Queen Elizabeth II's OBE. Although Cilla is now more recognised in the UK for her prime time TV shows (eg. Blind Date, Surprise Surprise etc) she ultimately still wishes to be remembered for her music. This is understandable when you look back on an impressive singing career which has spanned four decades, produced over 250 epic studio recordings plus hundreds of sell-out international appearances.
Born in Liverpool on the 27th of May 1943, Priscilla Maria Veronica White grew up surrounded by the buzz of the local Mersey music scene. As a young woman shed combine her sideline job of hanging up coats at trendy night spots with singing.
It was a gig at the Iron Door organised for The Beatles which became one of Cillas earliest spotlights on stage. This raised her profile and gained her respect and the nickname of Swinging Cilla. Soon after [unknown to her] a performance at the Blue Angel was to be the unofficial audition which convinced Brian Epstein (The Beatles' Manager) to sign her as his only female vocalist. Cilla was then quickly whisked away to the legendary Abbey Road studios where in July 63 producer George Martin signed her to the EMI Group (Parlophone).
Cillas strong connection with The Beatles would continue to influence and develop throughout the early part of her career. Not only did John Lennon heavily support her from day one but Cilla recorded many of the classic Lennon & McCartney songs - often having first pick of them before anyone else. Her debut single in Sept 63 was a cover of their song "Love of the loved" which she had heard The Beatles sing many times at The Cavern. The duo later penned in 1968 "Step inside love" for her first BBC TV variety show ("Cilla") which incidentally often featured Ringo Starr as a special guest. Then notably in 72, Cilla collaborated with the fourth and final band member - George Harrison. Harrison wrote her "When every song is sung" which was an eagerly awaited single of the time that disappeared into obscurity.
Throughout Cillas years signed to the EMI group (1963-78) her musical career rocketed world-wide with 20 smash singles which included hits like "Youre my world", "Alfie", "Surround yourself with Sorrow" and "Something tells me".
On leaving EMI other critically acclaimed albums included "Especially for you" (1980) produced by Bruce Welch and "Through the years" (1993) featuring duets with Dusty Springfield and Cliff Richard. It is however Cillas recording from 1964 of her #1 seller "Anyone Who Had A Heart" which still to this day remains as the most successful single for any British female painting the picture of an unforgettable pop songstress.
Watch out for Cilla's planned return to singing in 2003 with a NEW studio album and book both rumoured to be in the making!