Since the success of Living Doll , Cliff Richard’s band, The Drifters, had run into trouble. Unlike most backing bands at the time, they had signed a separate contract to Cliff, meaning they could release material on their own. Their first single, Feelin’ Fine, had to be withdrawn in the US when the manager of the famous soul group with the same name threatened legal action.
The second single, Jet Black, was credited to The Four Jets, but manager Norrie Paramor suggested they needed to find a name and stick to it. That July while in a pub in Ruslip, bassist Jet Harris suggested to guitarist Hank Marvin they should be called The Shadows, and thus the name of one of the most famous bands of the next few years was finally settled. Bobby Vee’s backing group were also called The Shadows, but Marvin and co didn’t know this, so tough.
Travellin’ Light, written by Sid Tepper & Roy C Bennett, became their first single with their new name. Tepper and Bennett became two of Richards’ most frequent collaborators, and they also wrote many songs for Elvis Presley, particularly for his films.
Travellin’ Light is pretty much a rewrite of Living Doll, as close as you can get to following up a number 1 with a repeat of the same formula. It’s also quite similar to Roger Miller’s 1965 number 1, King of the Road – had he been listening to this? The production is also similar to before, but this time Cliff’s voice has been treated with a strong echo effect, and there’s some welcome twangy guitar flourishes from Marvin, that could have done to be louder in the mix. Cliff is on his way to see his girl, and he’s so excited he’s taken nothing with him. He can’t even be bothered with a comb or toothbrush, the dirty beggar. It’s an average country tune that would be better remembered if they’d at least tried to make it sound different to what had come before, but five weeks at number 1 suggests their fans were happy with more of the same.
Written by: Sid Tepper & Roy C Bennett
Producer: Norrie Paramor
Weeks at number 1: 5 (30 October-3 December)
Actor Peter Mullan – 2 November
Actor Paul McGann – 14 November
Footballer Jimmy Quinn – 18 November
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy – 25 November
Presenter Lorraine Kelly – 30 November
Actress Gwyneth Strong – 2 December
Pianist Albert Ketèlbey – 26 November
30 October: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club opened in Soho, London. One of the most renowned venues of its kind, some of the artists who later played there include Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Prince and Jimi Hendrix, in his final public performance.
1 November: The first section of the M1 opened, between Watford and Rugby.
17 November: Prestwick and Renfrew become the first UK airports to feature duty free shops.