Songstories
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Songstories

CLIFF RICHARD’S, “CONSTANTLY”

Constantly

In my heart

Photo of Raine Lore with Dee on their wedding day
A soundtrack for a wedding day — photo property of author, with permission
Constantly remastered — Spotify

Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is an English singer who holds both British and Barbadian citizenship. He has sold more than 250 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has total sales of over 21.5 million singles in the United Kingdom and is the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

Richard was originally marketed as a rebellious rock and roll singer in the style of Presley and Little Richard. With his backing group, The Shadows, he dominated the British popular music scene in the pre-Beatles period of the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Wikipedia Text made available under Creative Commons 3.0

When I first heard the song, “Constantly”, by Cliff Richard, I was a young teenager, living in small-town New Zealand.

I loved rock n roll and I loved ballads. I had grown up with light operatic music, and songs that belonged to the age of the classic “crooners”, which might have influenced my music preferences.

I heard Cliff Richard’s music quite sometime before the Beatles stormed the music scene, and I enjoyed most of what he released.

When Cliff released “Constantly” in 1964, I almost swooned.

Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t normally the swooning type, but the orchestral intro of the song played my heartstrings, and I would sit and listen to Cliff through the ancient radio which was perched on top of our old fridge.

When “Constantly” played, I would daydream of the possibility of romance in my future. The song seemed to hold meaning for me that I couldn’t fathom, but it stayed in my heart and represented all things romantic.

When I got my first real boyfriend, I was overjoyed to see that he owned a copy of, “Constantly”.

It was a sign!

He let me play it — once. I declared, in my silly romantic way, that it was our song and I would always think of it that way. I tried to get him to dance with me to Cliff’s sultry tones.

Boyfriend’s reaction was to avoid dancing to the tune, although he was a dancer, allowing me to play it just the one time, and then subsequently lost it somewhere in his vast record collection of six 45s.

I was extremely saddened by his inability to see how important his owning of the record was. His disregard should have been a warning, rather than a disappointment, but I was young and foolish, continuing the relationship, much to my very long future detriment.

Later, I figured that he had owned the record because his previous serious girlfriend had been a fan, and well, you get it!

Over the years, “Constantly” continued to bring tears to my eyes and joy to my heart whenever it played, although I never again associated the glories of its sound with my old boyfriend, who subsequently became my husband.

He had unforgivingly snubbed my appreciation of the song, so the music became all mine!

Cliff Richard with The Shadows Attribution Harry Pot / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fast forward twenty years

I was fare-welling a tortuous marriage and had formed a band, and a firm friendship, with a guitarist named, Dee.

Within a couple of months, it became obvious that he lived to play lead guitar to the music of a band called, The Shadows.

Whenever he could, Dee would teach me the rhythm guitar backing to one of his beloved Shadows tunes, and encourage me to give the bass a rest at least once during every gig.

Eventually, the penny dropped and I asked him my burning question, “Do you like Cliff Richard’s songs?”

Dee laughingly told me he did, very much, especially, “Constantly.”

I get tingles even now when I think of that revelation. Sappy, I know, but it is what it is!

A few nights later, at our permanent residency, we were getting ready to pack up the gear when I saw Dee walk to the back of the stage and fiddle around with a turntable that was not normally part of our outfit.

Within a few seconds, the orchestral intro of my favourite song rang out through the speakers. Dee gripped my elbow from behind and guided me off the stage to the dance floor.

We had our very first up close, and personal dance, in an empty restaurant, to Cliff and his beautiful music, “Constantly”.

Later, the lady owner of the establishment approached us and stated, “We all wondered when you two were going to wake up to yourselves. Looks like tonight was the night!”

Even Craig, my fifteen-year-old son and drummer in our band, was grinning foolishly as he packed up his kit.

I did not have to declare that “Constantly” was our song!

It was a mutual understanding from that day on.

Fast forward another year

The day had begun badly. We had awoken to a torrential downpour which had caused Dee and his brothers much panic. Without my knowledge, they had rushed about re positioning marquees and furniture to allow for the best protection from the weather for our wedding guests.

But, by the time I jumped into my pretty wedding car with my sister, the sun was warming the ground and smiling on my wedding day.

I walked excitedly toward the gate at the back of Dee’s family home — a cattle farm. The intro strains of “Constantly” drifted out to the driveway.

Dee’s brother-in-law, Rob, was hanging over the fence to watch for my arrival. It was his job to signal my almost brother-in-law, Lance, to begin playing the wedding song.

“It’s not too late, Dee,” boomed Rob over his shoulder. “We still have time to lock the gate!”

The guests roared with laughter, and I stepped through the now open gate to walk down the “aisle” to our favourite song.

It didn’t however, quite go as planned. The music swelled as I walked regally along the garden path.

My groom and small wedding party were in place, grinning broadly — all except the celebrant who, unbeknown to us, was running late for his next wedding booking.

Impatiently, he waved his hand to get Lance’s attention, then drew a cut-throat motion across his own throat.

Lance, trying to comply with instructions, jerked the arm of the record player, which ended Cliff’s serenade halfway through a sentence, punctuated by the amplified grating sound of a needle being dragged across vinyl.

Dee’s face registered a moment of annoyance (he hates people damaging anything, let alone one of his precious vinyls).

Remembering where he was, the look of happy anticipation quickly returned to Dee’s face and the proceedings — well — proceeded.

Fast forward another two years

Dee and I regularly attended concerts at the Twin Towns Services Club on the Gold Coast where many international guests played in the auditorium.

On this night, we were there to see, The Shadows.

Dee was beside himself with excitement, chattering in my ear about amplifiers, guitars, and other items of great musical importance. When The Shadows began their set, I thought my husband would pass out from excitement. He was enthralled.

At the end of the concert, we found our way to the main club where we normally finished our evening with a small flutter at the pokies, followed by coffee and cake at the restaurant.

As we walked past the entryway to one of the establishment’s bars, Dee happened to spot The Shadows leaning on a bar, enjoying a few after-gig drinks.

“Oh, good,” he declared, matter-of-factly, “I need to ask Bruce something about that amp of his. Are you coming?”

I was flabbergasted. Dee is a very quiet, anti-social person at the best of times — I am constantly amazed that he had played on stages, and in bands since he was seventeen. I could never put the shy, socially awkward person in a scenario where he said, “I want to stand up in front of a whole bunch of people and play my guitar.”

I firmly declined his invitation, and watched as Dee strode across to the floor and approached The Shadows as if they were his oldest and dearest friends.

I waited in trepidation, fearing what a snub would do to Dee’s ego. It never came. The Shadows welcomed him, shook his hand, and had a quick but detailed conversation about the musical gear they had used during their gig.

Buoyed by his encounter, Dee returned to me, (still lurking behind the pillar), and announced that he had enjoyed learning about The Shadows’ gear.

“Who stole my husband?” I whispered, still in awe at the brazen approach to his idols.

“Silly,” Dee remarked, shaking his head. “You should have come with me. I could have taken your picture with them.”

I shuddered at the very idea, even though I did have my camera with me.

Now, of course, I see what an opportunity I had missed.

Fast forward thirty-two years

We celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary at home during a hard (Covid) lockdown.

I made a beautiful iced cake. We dressed in our good clothes for photos taken by my camera using its remote control. The closeups were gorgeous

We danced by ourselves to, “Constantly”.

Dee serenaded me with a couple of Shadows tunes that I particularly like, played on his Hank Marvin Special — a Burns guitar signed by The Shadows.

It was the best anniversary ever!

Fast Forward to the end of this story

Recently, my son, Craig (ex-drummer), threw a lovely party for his wife’s birthday. He hired a small venue with a DJ, disco lights, finger food, everything!

The younger folks were dancing their modern dances that involved no touching — boof, boof, boofing to the music when I leaned into Dee and asked him if he would dance with me if the DJ played, “Constantly”.

I should mention here, that Dee hates public dancing and rarely agrees.

Sure that he would not have to comply, he replied, “Okay,” thinking the DJ would not have the song on hand.

I grinned and then asked Craig to approach the DJ with a request. I was surprised that Craig, although he remembered the song vaguely, thought it would be a bit of a weird song to ask for, but he did as Mother instructed.

Craig returned with the information that the DJ would play it next. My son appeared to be a bit scornful but kept his counsel.

Suddenly, the orchestral sounds of Constantly filled the venue. The room was darkened and the disco lights twirled gently.

I looked to Dee who shrugged his shoulders in pretend defeat and guided me to the dance floor.

I heard Craig whisper, “We gotta humour the Olds.”

Dee and I drifted onto the floor, arms around each other, oblivious as we swayed. My eyes were welling with emotional tears. I suspected my husband’s eyes were, too.

Halfway through the song, I stopped gazing at Dee’s face, to take stock of the room.

To my great surprise, every single chair and table was empty. We were surrounded by cuddling couples, romantically dancing.

As Craig and his beautiful wife drifted by in a close embrace, I nudged him and winked.

“Guess us Olds know something about romance, after all!”

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Raine Lore

Raine Lore

Independent author on Amazon, reader, graphic artist and photographer. Dabbling in illustration and animation.