Cliff Richard ‎– Wired for Sound (1981)

Wired for Sound is a 1981 studio album by Cliff Richard, produced by Alan Tarney for EMI Records.

The Songs

A1. “Wired for Sound” (3:38) | Writers: Alan Tarney, B. A. Robertson | Style: synthpop (uptempo)

“Wired for Sound” is an uptempo pop-rocker about a young man’s love for hi-fidelity. The song’s arrangement consists of smooth bass, muted/matted guitar, faint pastel keyboard tones, present drumming (somewhat booming, often rubbery), and full vocals, often overdubbed and harmonized.

In terms of mood, “Wired for Sound” is characterized by a soft, warm tone and a bouncy, carefree feel. Once the rhythm tightens (near the chorus), the song assumes a breezy, energetic vibe. Mood-wise, it filters the innocence of late ’50s/early ’60s pop (Cliff’s origins) through the neon-powered technology of the early 1980s.

A. Intro:

  • Martial drum intro (1.5 bar).
  • Four-note guitar ritornello (C#-D-E-A).
  • Major scale, key of A.

B. Verse (pt 1):

  • Open-cadence gallop, emphasis on the 3rd beat (eight bars).
  • Key of A. Descending vocal melody from the 5th note to the root (E-D-C#-B-A).
  • Elongated vowels: “I like smaaall speeea-kerrrs.”
  • Soft, sensual enunciation: “If they’ve muuu-sic they’ve wiii-rrred for souuund.” Harmonized “wired” (Tarney?)

C. Verse (pt 2):

  • Closed cadence 4/4 rhythm, emphasis on 2nd and 4th beats (20 bars).
  • Key of A. Variation of the introductory ritonello (C#-D-E-F#-E-D-E-E-E-D-C#) forms the vocal melody.
  • Two couplets divided by “woh oh woh oh wowowoh” refrain.
  • Cliff sings about strutting around with his walkman and driving to work with his radio playing: “Traffic flows into the breakfast show.”
  • Two-bar chordal pivot (C#m’-Bm’-A”’)

D. Chorus:

  • Tense rhythm, downbeats on every note. Mixed meters: two bars 3/4, two bars 4/4 (x2).
    • 3/4 bars: jumping monosyllables (“Pow. Er. From. The.”). Key of A (vocal melody: A-C#-E-A-A-F#-E-F#-E-F#).
    • 4/4 bars: airy, flowing vowels (“nee-dle to the plastic”). Key of D; first key change in the song.
  • Chorus line: “Now… it’s music I’ve found… and I’m wired for sound.” Harmonized title (airy). Matted chordal downstrokes (C#-D-C#-D-A).

B→ C→ D (repeat).

  • Cliff conjures teenage innocence on second verse:

“I met a girl and she told me she loved me
I said you love me then love means you must like what I like
My music is dynamite”

(The word “dynamite” references a namesake song from early in his career that he rerecorded with Tarney in a modern synthpop arrangement as the b-side of his 1980 single “Dreaming.”)

E. Middle eight: (2:14–2:28)

  • Mixed meter: two 3/4, one 2/4, two 3/4 (x2); two 4/4, one 2/4.
  • Key of A7, drops to E on second pair of 3/4
  • Martial drum pattern (from intro).
  • Sinewy guitar lead w/ faint buzz (G-F#-E-D-C#-B-C#-D-B-F#).
  • Crests on sustained F# note during final 10 beats as the underlying chord rises from low E to a B/D polychord (D with an imposed 6th root note).

D (repeat)

B (repeat):

  • Same three lines from first verse, repeated three times.
  • Airy, echoey harmonic counterpoint. Cliff pauses between each utterance of “I like small speakers” as Tarney cuts in from afar seconding “I like small.” Each repetition of the chorus line is harmonized (Cliff+Tarney+Cliff overdubbed?)

F. Coda: (3:25–3:38)

  • Key of E.
  • Martial drum pattern (from intro).
  • Mixed meter (from middle eight).
  • Cliff ad libs the first three lines (airy tone), concluding with “most of all I like loouuud speakers.”
  • Fades out on B/D polychord (final six seconds).


  • Cliff Richard – vocals, backing vocals
  • Alan Tarney – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Graham Jarvis – drums

A2. “Once in a While” (4:40) | Writer: Tarney


A3. “Better Than I Know Myself” (3:43) | Writer: Dave Cooke, Judy MacKenzie


A4. “Oh No, Don’t Let Go” (3:28) | Writer: Tarney


A5. “‘Cos I Love That Rock ‘n’ Roll” (4:12) | Writer: Tarney


B1. “Broken Doll” (4:18) | Writer: Eric Goulden, Walter Hacon


B2. “Lost in a Lonely World” (4:03) | Writer: Chris Eaton


B3. “Summer Rain” (4:18) | Writer: Eaton


B4. “Young Love” (4:04) | Writer: Tarney


B5. “Say You Don’t Mind” (3:58) | Writer: Tarney


B6. “Daddy’s Home” (3:00) | Writer: James Sheppard, William Miller



B. “Hold On” (:) | Writer:


A1. Wired for Sound* (3:38)
A2. Once in a While (4:40)
A3. Better Than I Know Myself (3:43)
A4. Oh No, Don’t Let Go (3:28)
A5. ‘Cos I Love That Rock ‘n’ Roll (4:12)
B1. Broken Doll (4:18)
B2. Lost in a Lonely World (4:03)
B3. Summer Rain (4:18)
B4. Young Love (4:04)
B5. Daddy’s Home (3:00)

*b-side: Hold On

Cliff Richard – vocals and backing vocals
John Clark – guitar on “Lost in a Lonely World”
Nick Glennie-Smith – piano on “Young Love”, engineer
Graham Jarvis – drums on all tracks except “Once in a While”, “Summer Rain” and “Young Love”
Trevor Spencer – drums on “Once in a While”, “Summer Rain” and “Young Love”
Alan Tarney – all instruments except those listed in credits, backing vocals, arrangements, production

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