Friday Jukebox: It’s For You

by Steve

About ten years ago I remember listening to the radio, many miles from home. This song came on, It’s For You. I hadn’t ever knowingly heard it. I thought it was astonishing, dramatic, unusual. I wondered if I had happened upon a great lost song, a great lost artist.

The DJ then said it was from Cilla Black. I knew Cilla, not just as the woman off the telly, but the singer too. But I’d never been a huge fan. I wondered if my blinkered self would have loved the song as much on first listen if I knew who it was from. I saw her in a new light.

It was written by Lennon and McCartney. I think it all falls into place then. But it really sounds like they wrote it for Cilla, and she sang it for them. It works perfectly. I like that sort of collaboration, and that sort of unselfishness. Artists covering others. Artists writing for others. Obviously it doesn’t always work, but I think it is a sign of something special in a writer (and performer) when it does.

Cilla Black died recently, as I’m sure most of you know. Her famous friends paid tribute, obviously, but it was clear she was a divisive figure. There are swathes of the internet chronicling her behaviour, particularly her rudeness to airline crew. She was portrayed as Liverpool’s daughter, but the city itself had mixed views. She had left once she had made her money for richer pastures, and that wasn’t forgotten.

Artists, performers and the like don’t have to be likeable, although that makes for a comfortable and tidy narrative. I suspect more famous figures are difficult than not. It goes with the territory, if you are that ambitious, driven, single-minded. I think that is why I don’t want to meet my heroes. But I think it is what makes public figures like Cilla so fascinating. The public persona. The private person. The someone in-between. Adored by some, not by others, a different figure to us all.

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