Cilla Black started out making cups of tea for The Beatles at The Cavern Club and became one of the UK's most beloved entertainers
Cilla Black has died at the age of 72.
From cloakroom girl at the world’s most famous music venue to beloved TV presenter, Cilla’s 50-year career made her a household name across the generations.
Her passing has sparked an outpouring of grief from her numerous celebrity friends, including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Paul O’Grady.
“Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing,” wrote Beatle Paul on Twitter last night.
“She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit. From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at The Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around. She had a fine distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her.”
Cilla met Paul and fellow Beatle John Lennon at Liverpool’s iconic Cavern Club back in the early 60s where she worked as a cloakroom attendant, serving cups of tea while bands like The Beatles and Jerry and The Pacemakers played their early gigs – those were the days eh?
At the tender age of 20, Cilla’s signature set of pipes earned her a spot supporting The Beatles after Lennon persuaded manager Brian Epstein to give the Liverpudlian lass an audition.
Not only did Cilla rub shoulders with icons like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield, her unique voice saw her top the UK charts with Burt Bacharach penned classics like ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ and ‘Alfie’.
“She was the most remarkable woman, a true legend,” wrote Sheridan Smith, who starred in the hit ITV biopic ‘Cilla’ about the entertainer’s early life.
“She was so kind and helpful to me, it was a privilege to play her.”
Cilla’s first audition with Beatles manager Brian Epstein was ‘awful’ according to the songstress. Despite having The Fab Four as her backing band, mismatching keys led to a disastrousdisastrous first impression. Luckily, Epstein gave her another shot and a star was born.
Cilla was part of a swathe of British female singers that took over the charts in the 60s including Sandie Shaw and Petula Clark.
Cilla chilling with Beatle George Harrison and his first wife Pattie Boyd.
Cilla married longtime love Bobby Willis in 1969. The pair were married for 30 years, until Bobby’s death in 1999.
“I just heard the news Cilla Black has left us,” tweeted former Beatle Ringo Starr. “She was a good friend, we will all miss her.”
Casually hanging out with Ringo Starr, in the snow. As you do.
Cilla had not one but two wedding dresses – each more Swinging 60s than the last.
One time rival in the charts Lulu tweeted that she was “totally in shock” upon hearing of Cilla’s passing.
Cilla’s iconic voice was best known in Burt Bacharach penned hits like ‘Alfie’ but her first single ‘Love Of The Loved’ was written by Lennon and McCartney.
Younger generations (okay, we’re not that young any more) knew and loved Cilla as the unrivaled queen of Saturday night TV. Shows like ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Surprise Surprise’ became instant classics with everyone from your nan to the postman having their own version of Cilla’s beloved catchphrases. We did have a lorra, lorra laughs.