Cilla Black's "Anyone Who Had Heart" (1964) is best selling UK record of all time by a female artist
While the average American may only know of Cilla Black, who died today at age 72, as a 1960's British pop star who was associated with the Beatles, in her native Britain she was a national treasure whose career as popular singer and TV personality spanned five full decades. Upon the announcement of her death today, British prime minister David Cameron joined countless others in paying tribute to the OBE recipient for her "significant contribution to public life." Just last year the beloved public figure, known for her easy going ways, constant smile, and natural manner, was the subject of a popular UK TV drama mini series entitled Cilla that focused on her early years as a singer. Those years were when the Liverpool native, born Priscilla White, started out working as a coat check attendant at her famous hometown Cavern Club that is closely associated with fellow Merseyside musicians The Beatles who she was close to.
In fact, it was John Lennon who introduced her to Brian Epstein and convinced the Beatles' manager to audition the young singer. That audition, nicely detailed in the ITV drama series in which the singer was played to perfection by Sheridan Smith, went horribly wrong but did not stop the determined young singer from her goals. The Beatles connection continued with Lennon/McCartney penning her first single "Love Of The Loved" in 1963, which was produced by George Martin. The track did well, entering the top 40, but it would be her next single, 1964's cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (a hit in the US for Dionne Warwick), that became a number one hit single and the biggest selling record for a UK female artist of all time. The single would be the first of many Top 10 hits for Cilla Black that included "It's For You," "Alfie" (from the movie Alfie and recorded at Abbey Road Studios), and her cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" that went to number 2 on the UK pop charts in 1965.