|A Belgian issue of Cliff's On The Beach|
Wonderful Life was Cliff's follow up to his 1963 box office smash Summer Holiday. However despite been set in the Bahamas and featuring much of the key cast that made both The Young Ones and Summer Holiday successful, Wonderful Life wasn't received as warmly at the time. Instead 1964 would be the year The Beatles found film success with A Hard Days Night (but that's another Mono Monday) and Wonderful Life would have to settle with a moderately successful soundtrack album and a singular top 10 hit in the form of On The Beach (a Shadows single Theme For Young Lovers include on the soundtrack also charted).
On The Beach cremains one of Cliff's most memorable hits from the 1960s featuring tight backing from The Shadows (including a guitar solo from Hank Marvin giving a cheeky nod to The Beatles Twist and Shout riff). Pure pop with a bouncy rhythm On The Beach is clearly about been young and having fun while the Wonderful Life scene depicting it reflects beach scenes featured in American teen movies of the time. I can't always help feel a little envious every time I see Cliff do the twist in this scene with the lovely Susan Hampshire!
The hit was covered with a ballad from Wonderful Life entitled A Matter Of Moments and always remained a favourite of mine until one day at school a copy of that very single shot passed my ear Frisbee style in the music room as some idiotic classmate leafed through a pile of 45s unsold from the previous days Autumn Fayre.
"There's no Elvis Costello records in this pile" he shouted sarcastically at me referring to my apparent likeness of the Oliver's Army star. I picked the Cliff single up -"No" I thought but this features Hank Marvin and he's pretty cool!"