Happy 55th: Cilla Black, CILLA
55 years ago today, Cilla Black released her debut studio album, an LP which kicked off a career that would carry on for multiple decades.
Produced by George Martin, CILLA had an instant mark of quality, as did anything in the 1960s which was connected even tangentially to the Beatles, but unlike many of the Martin-produced efforts of that era, it didn’t feature any previously-unreleased Lennon/McCartney compositions. It did, however, offer a number of instantly familiar tunes performed by Black, among them Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Baby It’s You” and “This Empty Place,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Ol’ Man River,” and Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.”
By the way, we were kind of fudging things when we made that remark about how CILLA didn’t feature any previously-unreleased Lennon/McCartney compositions. It doesn’t, mind you, but prior to the album’s release, Black had released and found major success with her recordings of “Love of the Loved” and “It’s For You,” both written by her pals John and Paul.
CILLA was a smash success, hitting #5 on the UK Albums chart, but Black’s success in the US never came anywhere close to matching the iconic status she earned in her native land. While it might have been disappointing for Black on some level, it’s much easier to accept a situation like that when you’re viewed as one of the UK’s definitive female singers of the ‘60s.
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