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Sir Van Morrison and Sir Cliff Richard have sung songs which many of us hold dearly. Their careers have spanned decades and they have even sung a famous duet together. They both share a faith, as made clear in their song – but are they friends?
It is hard to say whether Sir Van Morrison and Sir Cliff Richard are friends, given they have rarely performed together.
However, there is one song on which they performed a duet, which caused a sensation after it was performed on Top of the Pops in 1989.
This song is Whenever God Shines His Light, which was from Sir Van’s 1989 album Avalon Sunset.
The album was released in June 1989, however the song became an ideal Christmas number and was released as a single in November that year.
It was a hit for both of them, landing a spot in the Top Five in the Irish Singles Chart, while it also charted in the Top 20 in the UK.
While Sir Cliff’s commitment to the Christian faith is well documented, critics at the time thought this was a clear example of Sir Van’s faith.
Patrick Humphries, who wrote a biography of Sir Van in 1997, called the song “the most manifest example of Morrison’s Christian commitment.”
As well as this, it became a sensation when it was performed at Top of the Pops, and broadcast to fans all over the country.
A recent review of that performance in The Guardian reads: “All right, maybe it’s not quite up there with Brown-Eyed Girl, Moondance, Jackie Wilson Said … but to be honest, it’s actually a joy to hear this meeting of voices from two ends of the pop music spectrum.
“Whenever God Shines His Light is an insistent evocation of peace, unity and harmony – quite an impressive advert for the power of the Lord.”
This would have been an ideal song for the Yuletide market, and Sir Cliff is known for his love of the holidays.
In 2003, Sir Cliff released Cliff at Christmas, which was a new album of festive favourites.
One of these was his own Mistletoe and Wine, which has become a regular anthem for fans at Christmas.
That song was originally written as part of a musical called The Little Match Girl, which opened in 1987 for the Christmas season.
It was then released as a single by Sir Cliff the following year and became a huge hit.
Unlike the original, Sir Cliff made the lyrics based in a more religious belief system, as the title was originally meant to play on the irony of it being sung by a prostitute, played by Twiggy.
As well as becoming a Christmas classic, Mistletoe and Wine was used as a public information song to tell the tales of woe around drink-driving at Christmas.
Of course, Van ‘The Man’ is also a major fan of the holiday season, and has produced countless Christmas tunes.
One of these is on his iconic album Moondance, called Glad Tidings, which also points towards his faith, though in later years he has distanced himself from religion.
Sir Cliff Richard will appear on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories on October 25 at 9pm on ITV
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