domingo, 12 de abril de 2009

Dia G 12.04.09 (2) - Cliford T Ward - Gaye And Other Stories (1992 UK)

"Gaye And Other Stories "

Clifford Thomas Ward (10 February 1944, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire — 18 December 2001), was a popular English singer/songwriter, best known for his career as a solo artist

Ward was one of five children, having one sister and three brothers. He was educated at Stourport Secondary Modern School, and there he met his wife, Pat, when she was 13 years old, and he 14. At school he spent some time as a choir boy. Ward and Pat married when he was 17 and she 16, after Pat became pregnant with the first of their four children: Debbie, Martin, Sam and Polly.

In 1962, shortly after leaving school, Ward formed a beat band called Cliff Ward and The Cruisers. The band was popular in Birmingham and also in demand at American Army bases in France. It was during this time abroad that Ward wrote Home Thoughts From Abroad (a song that would later appear on his second solo album and also as the B-side of Gaye). In the mid 1960s and after several member changes, the group was re-named Martin Raynor and The Secrets with Ward in the role of the elusive Raynor. The fictitious name was soon dropped and the band continued on, simply known as The Secrets and went on to do some extensive touring around Britain and France, achieving moderate success. Along the way, six singles were recorded by the group (ten of the songs penned by Ward himself), though these made little impact.
In 1968, following the demise of The Secrets, Ward decided he needed to get a 'real job', and so spent the following three years at a teacher training college, ultimately finding employment at nearby North Bromsgrove High School, teaching English and drama. One of his pupils was the future wife of Sting, Trudie Styler. The children heard singing on Ward's early albums were from North Bromsgrove High School. In his spare time, he continued songwriting and recorded his first solo album Singer Songwriter.

His first album, Singer Songwriter, was released in 1972 on Dandelion Records (a label formed by the late disc jockey John Peel) just before it went into liquidation. As a result, the album received little media coverage and went largely unnoticed. Signing a new contract with Charisma Records, Ward went on to have a hit with the haunting single Gaye. It sold over a million copies worldwide and reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1973.

In July 1973, following the success of Gaye, Ward's second album Home Thoughts achieved healthy sales and reached number 40 in the UK Albums Chart. At this point, wanting to concentrate on music full time, he gave up the teaching profession. He made a rare public appearance in August, performing Gaye on Top of the Pops. In January 1974 Ward entered the singles chart again at number 37 with Scullery, a track from his third album Mantle Pieces.
Subsequent singles, notably No More Rock'n'Roll, Jigsaw Girl, Ocean of Love, and I Got Lost Tonight (written by US singer-songwriter Tim Moore, one of the very rare occasions when he recorded outside material) were much loved by BBC radio presenters and programmers but Ward never made it into the UK charts again. It was said that he would have had more commercial success were it not for his dislike of touring, public appearances, interviews and photo shoots. The Best Is Yet To Come, from the album Both of Us, enjoyed success when covered by Justin Hayward, and his songs were also recorded by Cliff Richard, Jack Jones, Art Garfunkel, and Judy Collins. He was compared to Paul McCartney by reviewers and his songs have strong melodies and concise, original lyrics.

In 1984 Ward was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. He continued to record and write songs while living at home, cared for by his wife Pat.

In 1994, Ward was interviewed by local paper, the Wolverhampton Express & Star. He told reporter Aidan Goldstraw: "I have not and will not come to terms with this illness. There are times - usually quite late at night - when I'm almost normal again. But unless they find a cure for this dreadful MS, then I don't see a future."
Also then, he recorded his eleventh and what would be his last new album, Julia And Other New Stories, crawling on all fours into his home-based recording studio to finish it. At around the same time, a stage musical, Shattered World, was produced as a tribute to him, based on his life and his battle against MS. Half of the songs were Ward's own and half were numbers written by others about him.

In the winter of 2001, he fell ill from pneumonia and entered a hospital. He died there a few weeks later, at 9 a.m. on Tuesday December 18.


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