Cliff Richard explains Elton John’s nickname for him sparked by weekly calls to his office

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Sir Cliff Richard appeared on the BBC Radio 2 Zoe Ball Breakfast Show yesterday morning and told a funny story about how he earned the nickname Sylvia. The legendary singer, who turns 80 next month, was given the moniker by fellow pop star Sir Elton John, because of a question he regularly asked.

In the early 1970s, Cliff, who has released a song in every decade since the 1950s, was signed to Elton’s music label The Rocket Record Company.

During their chat, he told Zoe about his first meeting with the singer.

Cliff began: “It started off when we first went to visit him, he had a chauffeur, he said, ‘I’ll get my driver,’ so I said, ‘What’s his name?’ he said, ‘We call Betty.’

The Young Ones star went on to add: “Betty Driver, who used to be in Coronation Street, the actress you know, so he had names for all his male friends, he’d think of female names.”

Cliff went on to explain why he was then called Sylvia by the Rocket Man hitmaker.

He continued: “I said [to Elton], ‘Why are you calling me Sylvia?’ he said, ‘Because my office told me you have been calling them every week and asking one question: Has my record gone silver yet?’

“So I got called Sylvia Disc,” Cliff revealed.

“Such a good story,” a giggling Zoe replied.

Cliff also let slip the nickname for one of the other acts on the label.

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He told the Strictly star: “Neil Sedaka also had a record out with Elton’s label and he was called ‘Golden,’ cause he phoned up saying, ‘Has my song had gone gold yet?'”

The American pop star had three of his biggest hits while signed to the label in the mid-1970s.

Sir Cliff also spoke to the host about his big birthday plans for next month.

He celebrates his milestone 80th birthday in two weeks time, on October 14.

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