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The night Cilla Black changed her tune just for me

Cilla with her late husband Bobby
Cilla with her late husband Bobby
Cilla Black with Gloria Hunniford at the TV Quick Awards
Cilla with her baby son Robert John Willis in 1970
Cilla Black has passed away
Cilla with Bruce Forsyth

By Eddie McIlwaine

Never mind her No. 1 hits with Anyone Who Had a Heart and You're My World, there was another song I always enjoyed Cilla Black performing.

Once upon a time at a Press conference before her show in Belfast's old ABC Cinema, the lady with the Liverpool accent she never lost, confessed to me that You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling wasn't on her programme at that night's concert.

Cilla, the friendliest of girl artistes and cherished everywhere as young and unspoiled that early autumn of 1967, saw the disappointment on my face.

"Does it have a special meaning for you?" she asked.

I explained that the tune and the words always appealed to my romantic self and she turned to her musical director.

Within a minute You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling was no longer lost and was about to make a comeback at the ABC.

Cilla, who had just been telling me that her real surname was White, gave me the impression that she liked the lyrics of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling almost as much as I did, and still do.

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It had been threatened with being deleted that night in Belfast for some obscure technical reason, which was Greek to me, but there it was on the list again.

Anyone who grew up in the '60s when pop music had its golden era will remember Cilla as an icon of the working class rags-to-riches fairytale success story. She was from working class Liverpool and proud of it.

Anyone Who had a Heart and You're My World (both 1964) were her only No. 1s, but she had 19 others songs in the Top 20, says her fan Ivan Martin, U105 broadcaster.

"That ginger hair and those long legs had all the young men of Northern Ireland agog," says Ivan, who was 12 when Cilla had her first hit.

He still plays her records on air - including my favourite You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. Every time I hear that melody my thoughts go back to her at the ABC.

Cilla was a pal of the Beatles and Paul McCartney wrote Step Inside Love just for her in 1968.

I also enjoyed the older Cilla Black, as the host of Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. She's another of those great showbiz performers who has gone too soon.

Belfast Telegraph


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