– a pat on the back of Brdr. Olsen by Cliff
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A pat on the back given by a mega star and pop singer that we have looked up to since we were very young, singing along with him on his greatest pop hits of the day, such as “Lucky Lips”, “Livin’ Doll” - not to forget ”The Young Ones”…
This is how Brdr. Olsen – or Jørgen and Noller as Danish fans call them – look upon the fact that Sir Cliff Richard, one of the top pop stars of the latest five or six decades, lent his voice to “Look Up Look Down” – one of as many as 14 new tunes on their latest CD “Respect”.
And what was more: Cliff even did it on his own initiative.
The background is that Cliff and Brdr. Olsen got together – assisted by a Danish newspaper as middleman - in connection with a series of concerts that Cliff gave in Denmark sometime in 2003.
On this occasion, Jørgen and Noller succeeded in persuading one of their greatest idols to accept a couple of their latest CDs at the time ”Fly On the Wings of Love” and ”Walk Right Back”.
And later, the listeners on one of the biggest British radio stations could hear Sir Cliff praising their music as being some of the best he had heard for a long time – in fact, their CD had barely left his CD-player during the last 6 months!
Cliff played ”Look Up Look Down" as an example of Brdr. Olsen’s music, and then during the British radio interview, he said - in so many words - that if Brdr. Olsen ever needed a third singer, they could simply pick up the phone! An invitation the two brothers’ manager took to his heart immediately and grabbed the phone.
After some talk back and forth, Cliff, Jørgen and Noller got together in Portugal at the pop idol’s vineyard.
And their admiration for Sir Cliff’s performance did not diminish in those few, hectic, but extremely giving days in the studio.
First and foremost, they were utterly impressed with Cliff Richard’s extremely professional approach to his music – three times his voice had to be recorded in order to be dubbed, and every single recording was a perfect one-take, despite a very demanding passage at the end where Cliff had to make sure that his three-part singing not only sounded perfect but that it also rang out simultaneously.
At the same time, the two brothers had their opinion of Cliff Richard’s voice confirmed as being something quite out of the ordinary – a little hoarse, light, but with tremendous depth. On the whole: one of the strongest and most characteristic voices in today’s pop music.
- As a person, he is as friendly and relaxed as you can imagine. The whole atmosphere and tone of the place – also among the people who were around him – was extremely pleasant, which made working in the studio an utterly positive experience, continue Jørgen and Noller, who also got away with a little project on “Respect”, as they got Cliff to sing along with them at the end of their interpretation of ”Livin’ Doll”.
And he never ceased to impress the two brothers here – not least when he thought up and recorded a couple of extra lines for the old hit: ”I know I’ll never be lonely, I got the one and only”…
Whether the recordings together with Cliff will lead to more – for example that the two Brdr. Olsen will sit down and write new songs to their old pop idol – is hard to tell (the popularity of the two tunes with Cliff will probably determine that question).
At all events, their visit to Cliff has been a dramatic inspiration for new songs: ”Look Up Look Down”, for example, in Jørgen Olsen’s opinion, has been seriously updated in relation to the first edition on their CD – a fact that will make further recordings of songs with Cliff quite probable.
Their enthusiasm with Cliff has lasted for decades if you ask Brdr. Olsen: in fact, the first record that Jørgen Olsen ever bought for his own money was ”The Young Ones”, and for the first many years of Jørgen’s and Noller’s close collaboration on the stage - before making their breakthrough in the early 1970s - their repertoire consisted mainly of old Cliff hits.
- And that is why it was a unique experience to be standing next to him in the recording studio. We were genuinely touched. If anyone had told us when we were little that we were going to publish anything with him, we would have asked this person to sit down and relax, says Jørgen Olsen, who agrees with his little brother Noller in that ”an artist having sold over 250 million records deserves deep respect”.
In the two brothers’ opinion, the new version of ”Look Up Look Down” has become the joint song of three old friends who tell the young people of today, “Hey, be cool. Look up, look down, there is love all around …!”
Not just Cliff, but British pop music as such, has always been very popular with the two brothers, who come from a home who believed that anything British was alright considering that the country had been one of the victors of World War II.
And another very important reason for their love of things British was no doubt the fact that their father had been working daily with British automobiles - of the makes Austin and Jaguar.
Today, a couple of decades later, Jørgen and Noller have not in any way lost their love of the music of the 60s.
On the contrary, this music constitutes a main thread throughout ”Respect” which includes a series of the tunes and lyrics they used to love most, not least a couple from The Beatles’ repertoire, e.g. ”Obladi Oblada” and ”Strawberry Field Forever”, as well as Scott Mackenzie’s ”If You Are Going to San Francisco”.
The latter in particular belongs to the very best – if not the best – as it distinctly captures the atmosphere of those days, and, on the whole, the message of love and peace of the 1960s cannot be communicated too often. Not least in our day and time, where egocentricity rides the high horse and where Number One is the order of the day, as Jørgen Olsen explains.
And Noller seconds his older brother when he informs us that “I have started writing “peace and love” again when I’m autographing”…
So, the two Brdr. Olsen are basically a couple of old-timers from 68. And they feel very good about that. For apart from the very relaxed and laid-back attitude to drugs of the time – which certainly sealed a lot of unhappy fates – the time and the atmosphere greatly helped creating a hope for the future, as the two brothers see it and sparked a very strong common feeling of solidarity – something the two are missing today.
Today, if you ask Brdr. Olsen, nothing is missing in terms of solidarity among the audience at their concerts.
In 2008, eight years after they won the Eurovision Song Contest with their ”Fly On the Wings of Love”, the two brothers certainly cannot complain of the enthusiasm shown by their audiences.
Five or six times a month, they are performing on stages around Denmark and their international shows are even more frequent in Germany and Sweden.
- It’s no secret it was a little difficult for us to come back after ”Fly On the Wings of Love”, for the audiences automatically expected more of the same kind, explains Jørgen Olsen, who feels quite comfortable as that tune in particular has found a place in the hearts of not only Cliff Richard, but also of the ”ABBA Boys”, the composers Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.
When the two latter were asked whether there had been anything comparable to their own 1973 mega hit ”Waterloo” in the Eurovision Song Contest, they immediately answered that ”Fly On th