Clifford T. Ward

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Clifford T. Ward
Clifford T. Ward portrait.jpg
Background information
Birth nameClifford Thomas Ward
Born(1944-02-10)10 February 1944
Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England
Died18 December 2001(2001-12-18) (aged 57)
Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, England
Genres Folk rock, baroque pop
Years active1962–2001
Website Home Thoughts (official website)

Clifford Thomas Ward (10 February 1944 – 18 December 2001) [1] was an English singer-songwriter, best known for his career as a solo artist. [2]


Ward's 1973 album Home Thoughts remains his best known recording, and he had hit singles with songs such as "Gaye" and "Scullery". His reluctance to tour in support of recorded work may have affected his chances of more substantial mainstream success. [3]

Early life

Born in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, Ward was the fifth child of Kathleen and Frank Ward, a carpet factory worker whose grandparents had been Irish music-hall artistes. [2] Ward had one older sister and three older brothers, and as children, he and his siblings picked fruit on a local farm to supplement the family income. [2] He was educated at Stourport secondary modern school and King Charles grammar school at Kidderminster. He met his future wife, Pat, at school when she was 13 years old, and he 14. At school he spent some time as a choir boy. They married when he was 17 and she 16, after Pat became pregnant with the first of their four children: Debbie, Martin, Sam and Polly.[ citation needed ]

They initially lived in Castle Road, then Stourbridge Road in Kidderminster, for several years and both were active in raising funds for cerebral palsy, a condition their daughter Debbie had from birth.[ citation needed ] He was also an English teacher for about a year and a half at North Bromsgrove High School.

Early career

In 1962, shortly after leaving school and supporting himself with a series of clerical jobs, Ward formed a beat band Cliff Ward and the Cruisers, which won the 1963 Midland Band of the Year contest in Birmingham. [2] The band was popular in Birmingham and also in demand at American Army bases in France. It was during this time abroad that Ward wrote "Home Thoughts from Abroad" (a song that would later appear on his second solo album and also as the B-side of "Gaye"). In the mid 1960s and after several member changes, the group was renamed Martin Raynor and The Secrets, with Ward in the role of the elusive Raynor. The fictitious name was soon dropped and the band continued on as Raynor's Secrets and as Simon's Secrets, and went on to tour around Britain and France, achieving moderate success. Along the way, six singles were recorded by the group (ten of the songs penned by Ward himself), though these made little impact. [4]

Solo career

In 1967, following the demise of The Secrets, Ward decided he needed to get "a real job". He enrolled at Worcester Teacher Training College and subsequently taught at North Bromsgrove High School teaching English and Drama. [4] One of his pupils was the future wife of Sting, Trudie Styler, and another was Underworld singer Karl Hyde. [2] The children heard singing on Ward's early albums were from North Bromsgrove High School.

In his spare time, he continued songwriting and recorded his first solo album Singer Songwriter, released in 1972 on Dandelion Records (a label formed by the disc jockey John Peel) just before it went into liquidation. [4] As a result, the album received little media coverage and went largely unnoticed. Signing a new recording contract with Charisma Records, Ward went on to have a hit with the single "Gaye". [4] It sold over a million copies worldwide and reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1973. [1]

In July 1973, following the success of "Gaye", Ward's second album Home Thoughts achieved healthy sales and reached number 40 in the UK Albums Chart. [1] At this point, wanting to concentrate on music full-time, he gave up the teaching profession. He made a rare public appearance in July, performing "Gaye" on Top of the Pops . [5] In January 1974 Ward entered the singles chart again at number 37 with "Scullery", [1] a track from his third album Mantle Pieces. [6]

Subsequent singles, notably "No More Rock 'n' Roll", "Jigsaw Girl", "Ocean of Love" and "I Got Lost Tonight" (written by the US singer-songwriter Tim Moore, one of the very rare occasions when he recorded outside material) were loved by BBC Radio presenters and programmers but Ward never made it into the UK chart again. It was said that he would have had more commercial success were it not for his dislike of touring, public appearances, interviews and photo shoots. [4] "The Best is Yet to Come", from the album Both of Us, enjoyed success when covered by Justin Hayward, and his songs have been recorded by: Cliff Richard, Jack Jones, Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins and more recently by Brian Kennedy and Rumer. [4]

Limited touring

Ward's manager in the early 1970s, Clive Selwood commented on Ward's lack of touring as contributing to his lack of success: "Clifford should have been a major, major star - he had hits, but he simply wouldn't perform publicly." [3]


In 1987, Ward was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). [4] He continued to record and write songs while living at home, cared for by his wife, Pat. In 1994, Ward was interviewed by a local newspaper, the Wolverhampton Express & Star . He told reporter Aidan Goldstraw: "I have not and will not come to terms with this illness. There are times — usually quite late at night — when I'm almost normal again. But unless they find a cure for this dreadful MS, then I don't see a future".[ citation needed ]

Ward recorded his eleventh and what would be his last new album, Julia and Other New Stories, crawling on all fours into his home-based recording studio to finish it. [7] At around the same time, a stage musical, Shattered World, was produced as a tribute to him, based on his life and his battle against MS. Half of the songs were Ward's own, and half were numbers written by others about him.


In November 2001, Ward contracted pneumonia and died in Tenbury Community Hospital a few weeks later on 18 December 2001. [8]



TitleLabelOriginal release date
Singer-Songwriter Dandelion Records September 1972
Home Thoughts Charisma Records June 1973
Mantle PiecesCharisma RecordsDecember 1973
EscalatorCharisma RecordsApril 1975
No More Rock 'n' RollPhilipsDecember 1975
WavesPhilipsNovember 1976
New England DaysMercuryOctober 1977
Both of UsPhilipsMarch 1984
Sometime Next YearTembo RecordsJuly 1986
Gaye and Other Stories Virgin Records October 1990
Laugh It OffAmeless RecordsFebruary 1992
Julia and Other New Stories (demos and out-takes)Graduate RecordsFebruary 1995
Hidden TreasuresRP MediaAugust 1998
BittersweetRP MediaMay 1999
The Ways of LoveRP MediaMay 2000
Anthology Cherry Red Records June 2002
This Was Our LoveCherry Red RecordsMay 2003
Work in ProgressThe Friends of Clifford T. WardOctober 2003
Secrets & SidetracksThe Friends of Clifford T. Ward2004
Studio Sessions (limited edition)Cherry Red RecordsSeptember 2005
Change of HeartCherry Red RecordsSeptember 2009
The Kinver Sessions 1968-1972Beaujangle2009
Path Through the Forest - The Secret World of Clifford T. WardWooden Hill2009
The Best Is Yet to Come: The CollectionPress Play/Cherry Red Records2013
Infatuation: Singles and Demos 1966-68 - The Secrets ft. Clifford T. WardGrapefruit Records2015

TV appearances

Top of the Pops BBC1"Gaye"13 July 1973
Top of the PopsBBC1"Gaye"27 July 1973
Russel Harty PlusLWT12 August 1973
Hits a Go GoSRG (Switzerland)"Gaye"6 October 1973
The Old Grey Whistle Test BBC2"Scullery", "All Modern Conveniences"20 November 1973
Top of the PopsBBC1"Scullery"20 December 1973
Rock On with 45Granada"Jayne" (from Andromeda Spiral)3 October 1974
Songs of SearchingBBC2"Home Thoughts from Abroad", "Escalator", "For Debbie & Her Friends", "Ocean of Love" [9] 17 October 1976
Get It TogetherGranada"Someone I Know" [10] 14 February 1978
Pebble Mill at One BBC1"Contrary"1981
The Castlebar Song ContestRTE"Gaye", "Up in the World", "Home Thoughts from Abroad" [11] 1982
The Late Late Show RTE"Watchin' the T.V News"1983
Live at 3 RTE"The Best is Yet to Come & Gaye"1982



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  5. "TV Pop Diaries Home". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
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  7. "'Home Thoughts From Abroad'". BBC Radio 2.
  8. "Songwriter Clifford T Ward dies". BBC News. 19 December 2001. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
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