Itʼs time for the battle of the bands once again, as two more legendary acts take the stage at the O2 Arena in London. Crooner Sir Cliff Richards is gracing the O2 Arena on 25 and 26 October to perform songs from his new album Soulicious, as well as all his classics, while Chris Martin and Coldplay are playing for one night only on Friday 9 December.
Who has the edge? Read on as two of Britainʼs biggest musical exports duke it out here in our stat clash.
On paper, this one seems a no brainer. Sir Cliff has managed to sell more than 250 millions records – about five percent of the worldʼs population, in vinyl and discs. Fourteen of his more than 130 singles have reached the UK number one spot. By contrast, Coldplay have sold a “mere” fifty million, and just one single has hit the top of the charts, Viva La Vida in 2008.
But look a little closer, and things arenʼt quite what they seem. Either with the Shadows or on his own, Sir Cliff has been active as a recording artist for more than half a century, while Coldplay have been around for little over a decade. Averaged out, that puts them on level pegging. Hereʼs to Coldplay staying active for so long.
Pop culture pedigree
Few artists can hold a candle to the iconic Cliff, or get a whole arena of rained out tennis fans on their feet dancing. The man was and is the the original pop musician, and a link to a time before even the Beatles were about. Itʼs testament to his legend that so many acts (Freda Payne, Billy Davis Jnr and Jaki Graham to name but a few) are willing to accompany him on his latest tour just to peform individual duets with him.
If thereʼs one band that can beat Cliff however, itʼs Coldplay. Ever since their anthemic debut single “Yellow”, theyʼve never left the media. Their songs are the background for adverts, TV shows and movies, and Martin himself is married to a Hollywood actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. Earlier this year, Coldplay headlined Glastonbury, and tickets for their latest tour sold out within minutes.
Despite their shorter recording history (Four albums and one out later this month, Mylo Xyloto, compared to Sir Cliffʼs 42) Coldplay have a mantelpiece spilling over with awards. That includes no fewer than four MTV Music Video Awards gongs, six Brit Awards compared to Sir Cliffʼs three and seven Grammys, where the latter surprisingly has none. But Sir Cliff does have Coldplay beat when it comes to the prestigious Ivor Novello award: he has two, where Coldplay has one.
Thereʼs no contest here. Only one of these acts has been knighted by the Queen, though we canʼt imagine some form of commemoration is far off for Chris Martin. Sir Cliff was actually the first ever pop musician to be knighted, and few other venerable singers have been since.
Winner: Sir Cliff Richard
Itʼs a tie – despite their very different genres of music, both have come to define British pop. One just happened to be there at the very beginning.