#TwoForTuesday: Cilla Black

You’re my World


Every time I read about the British Invasion, Cilla Black’s name comes up, even though she enjoyed limited popularity in the US. It might be because she knew The Beatles, having worked at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Fab Four played a lot of their early shows and were discovered by Brian Epstein. John Lennon asked Brian to audition her, but the audition didn’t go well. However, subsequently he heard her at the Cavern and signed her to a contract.

In addition to being a singer, Cilla has worked in television, beginning with her own variety show in the 1960’s, arranged by Epstein prior to his death. She’s been in a few sitcoms, including Surprise! Surprise!, and hosted a couple of game shows, including Blind Date, a show based on The Dating Game.

The two songs I selected are ones also associated with Dionne Warwick; the two worked extensively with Burt Bacharach and Hal David and recorded many of the same songs. The first is “You’re My World,” from 1964. It rose to #26 on the Hot 100 while going to #1 in the UK. The second is her interpretation of the theme from the movie “Alfie,” from 1965. Her recording only made it to #95 in the US, but reached #9 in the UK. There’s a lively debate on YouTube about whether Cilla’s or Dionne’s is the better version, meaning you could see it as a future Battle of the Bands.

Much more information about Cilla is available on her website, and by all means check out her other songs on YouTube.

Cilla Black, your Two for Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

13 thoughts on “#TwoForTuesday: Cilla Black

  1. Hi, John! Thanks for this post about Cilla. She appeared in one of my own posts a while back. I read a number of YouTube comments about Cilla’s singing style and she is not without her critics. Some people simply don’t like the way she belts out a song. I happen to enjoy her performances. The vid of Cilla recording “Alfie” in the studio with Bacharach conducting the orchestra gives me goose bumps.

    Thanks, John!


    1. I’ve heard her compared to Kate Smith, both favorably and unfavorably. I like her voice; it’s a little rawer than Dionne Warwick’s, who’s done a lot of the same songs. I happen to prefer Cilla’s version of “Alfie” to Dionne’s.


  2. P.S. My battle is Mary Chapin Carpenter and Patty Smyth, doing “Downtown Train.” http.cringe53.blogspot.com


  3. I heard fo Cilla Black through her connections with the Bee Gees. I think she’s always been underrated, At times she reminds me of Ethel Merman, the way she belts out those notes. Nice, John.


    1. It’s a shame she never got much play here in the US, but it’s like I said in the post, she and Dionne Warwick covered a lot of the same material, and Dionne’s got more airplay. But I’d say she did all right…


  4. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Cilla Black. However, I’ve heard You’re My World, and her version sounds like the one I’ve heard (I checked some other people singing it, and it didn’t sound as familiar). I’ve found I recognize a lot of old songs without knowing who sang them. I really, really like You’re My World. Alfie…not so much.


    1. I find that all the time. The other day, the song “You Showed Me” came to mind, and it drove me bonkers trying to figure out who did it (The Turtles, for the record). A while back, I picked up a Best-Of collection on the Little River Band, because I knew “Reminiscing” and wanted to see what else they had done. Turns out I knew every song on the album, just not who had done them.


  5. Boy, do you ever go back in time. Dusty Springfield the other day, Cilla Black today. She used to be one of my favourites.


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