When one thinks Liverpool, The Beatles are, of course, the first entity to pop into mind. But the legendary Cilla Black, championed by The Beatles as a fellow dweller of their town, is one of the true standouts of the famous British milieu. Her rise to fame in England in 1963 saw a shift in the public expectation for pomp and circumstance when it came to music. She was gimmick-free, delivering earnest, lush vocals that always resonated with her audience.
Her most successful singles, “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and “You’re My World” (both covers), launched Black to stratospheric heights quite quickly mere months after she was signed by The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, that illustrious neurotic of a man.
Black’s air of innocence and unique look (red hair and non-revealing clothing–not usually one for wearing mini skirts) helped sustain her charm and appeal among the cabal of female British singers of the time, including Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw. Although she remained in the country’s public eye for many decades afterward, it was her visual and musical style of the 1960s that she was most noted for.
Black’s death on August 1 in her Marbella, Spain residence marked the end of a true talent (and also provided a somewhat additional eerie connection to The Beatles in that John Lennon’s ex-wife, Cynthia, was also found deceased in Spain, albeit Majorca). But she will always be cherished as one of Liverpool’s most substantial singers.