Sir Cliff and Ripley incident


Reference your article in the Ripley and Heanor News dated Thursday 3rd November 2011 by Paul Lynch concerning Cliff Richard, I must correct you on one point.

Before he died in March 2003 I had corresponded and spoken with Ian “Sammy” Samwell who was lead guitarist with the “Drifters” and wrote Cliff,s first big hit “Move It”.

One evening he phoned me from his home in Sacremento, California, and we had a very lengthy conversation.

In the course of that conversation he told me how the change from Harry Webb to Cliff Richard came about.

Harry Greatorex had gone to London looking for groups to appear at the Regal and in due course arrived at the famous “2 I,s “ coffee bar.Harry spoke to John Foster who was then managing the Drifters at the time,saying he would prefer a singer/backing group instead of just a group.

John Foster immediately convened a meeting of the group in the “Swiss Pub” just a few doors down Old Compton Street not the Rose & Crown in Ripley as stated in the article.Having thrown various names around John Foster came up with Cliff Richards,Sammy Samwell suggested leaving off the “S” and hence Cliff Richard was born.

John Foster then returned to the “2 I,s” coffee bar and informed Harry Greatorex that it would be “Cliff Richard and the Drifters“ who would be appearing at the Regal Ballroom.

John W Chambers