Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday (1963)
Originally released in summer 1963, Summer Holiday was the most successful movie and soundtrack that Cliff Richard ever put his name to, an almost absurdly feel-good flick accompanied by some of the best (and best-loved) songs in his entire catalog. Even today, no Richard hits compilation would be complete without the title track, "Bachelor Boy," "The Next Time," and "Dancing Shoes," while songs that were essentially regarded as soundtrack filler have likewise taken on a life of their own. The first serious attempt to mine the Summer Holiday archive arrived in 1996, when EMI's Cliff Richard at the Movies compilation included the radically altered movie versions of "Bachelor Boy" and "Summer Holiday" among its bonus tracks. Both reappear here, alongside fellow cinema-only takes of "The Next Time," "Big News," and the Shadows' solo "Big News"; also featured are rehearsal takes of "The Next Time" and "Bachelor Boy," plus both sides of an advertising EP distributed to movie theaters on the eve of the film's release. It's a solid gathering, with the movie versions at least the equal of the LP and single cuts. Of course it is difficult, after all these years, to fully reappraise Summer Holiday in the light of these new excavations -- the original album itself remains such a classic that any deviation from the familiar arrangements seems somehow wrong. But still, the 40th anniversary of one of British cinema's greatest successes needed celebrating and, in the absence of a fully remastered and bonus-packed DVD reissue, this set fulfilled that need very well.