Devil Woman by Cliff Richard (Rocket, 1976)

He’s known as the Elvis of England, but Cliff Richard could not catch a break here in the US until 1976. That year he released Devil Woman and it hit the Top 10. Although if Cliff had it his way he would have never recorded the song in the first place.

Thematically written in the same vein as Cher’s Dark Lady, Devil Woman is the story of a guy who goes to a gypsy to break his curse of bad luck only to find out it’s the gypsy who caused it in the first place. Confusing, yes? But Cliff gives a compelling vocal performance surrounded by a stark pop rock arrangement. Cliff didn’t want to record it because it dealt with the occult and he was a born again Christian. Nevertheless he relented, it broke him in the US selling a million copies and is a staple of every yearly Halloween playlist.

But maybe Cliff had a point about these lyrics. On the surface it seems to be about witchcraft, but it could also be interpreted as a metaphor for a failed relationship and the Devil Woman is just some bitch he can’t stand. I mean he talks a lot about evil-eyed cats hanging around, a potion that makes him pass out and her ‘feminine ways’. And ‘she’s gonna get you from behind’?? Doesn’t sound very Christian-like, Cliff – sounds pretty nasty. I think you got Rufied, dude.