The Orkney Theatre, Orkney.
Over the course of Tony Christie’s 50-year career, which includes over forty albums, seventy singles and countless live performances, he has sung thousands of songs. In 2005 he won a whole new generation of fans with the re-release of his worldwide 1971 hit, (Is This The Way to) Amarillo.
Tony passion for great songwriting and big performaces is no surprise. As a young man working in the accounts office of a Yorkshire steel company, Tony’ musical heroes were Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
Having learned his craft in the school of hard knocks – the working men’s club circuit - Tony was offered a job as the singer with a band on the club circuit. That band became known as Tony Christie and the Trackers recording in 1966 Barbara Ruskin’s ‘Life’s Too Good To Waste’ for CBS. Tony co-wrote the song with Jimmy Page, who would later co-found Led Zeppelin, on guitar. Tony was hooked on performing and within a year recorded his first single for MGM.
Tony’s chart breakthrough came in 1971, when ‘Las Vegas’ became a UK hit. A few months later Tony was hitting the charts again with ‘I Did What I Did for Maria’ that steadily climbed the charts until it made No.2 on the UK charts and No,1 on the New Musical Express chart.
Later that same year Tony’s single ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’, written by American, Neil Sedaka and was hit all over the world and hit No.1 in continental European countries. Tony continued to hit the charts throughout the 70s with tracks such as ‘Drive Safely Darling’ and sang the role of Magaldi on the original 1976 album recording of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita.
In the noughties, the reissue of Tony’s 1972 classic, ‘Avenues and Alleyways’, the theme to The Protectors, a TV show, hit the Top 40 for a second time. The massively successful re-release of ‘Amarillo’ which soared Tony to the top of the UK charts and to date has sole over 1.5 million copies
Despite the UK musical landscape changing with the onset of punk in the 80s, Tony’s popularity with concert-goers continued. His popularity in Europe continued and even in the 90s, Tony was securing Top 10 albums in countries such as Germany – an album that went triple platinum. recorded four albums with German producer Jack White, including, Welcome to My Music that made No.7 on the German charts in 1991 and went triple Platinum.
In 1999 Tony returned to the UK Top 10 with ‘Walk Like A Panther’ a song written for him by Jarvis Cocker to perform with, The All Seeing I and went on to record the critically acclaimed album ‘Made In Sheffield’. The album, produced by Richard Hawley, Cocker’s former bandmate in Pulp, includes, ‘All I Ever Care About Is You’, ‘Every Word She Said’ and ‘Louise’, a song originally recorded by Sheffield band, The Human League. It is one of the most beautiful albums of Tony’s career.
Following this Tony went on to record in Nashville and the cream of Nashville musicians delivering stunning tracks, and new favourites, such as ‘Early Morning Memphis’, ‘Damned’, ‘Just Like Yesterday’, ‘When All Is Said And Done’ and ‘I Surrender’.
A singer who always delivers his best, Tony is renowned as being one of the loveliest people in the business – he is the very epitome of his voice. In 2017 Tony will be releasing a fun and audacious Christmas song that will feature people from the world of sport, television, comedy and music such as broadcaster Jonathan Ross, comedian Harry Hill, former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley, Olympic Gold winner Tessa Sanderson and even the ‘I’m too sexy’ duo Right Said Fred – themselves recently credited on Taylor Swift’s smash world No.1 ‘Look What You Made Me Do’.
2018 will provide no let up for Tony as he goes into the studio in January to record yet another album to add to his collection of over 40 career spanning albums recording tracks by great young writers such as the Grammy Award winning Amy Wadge, who’s credits include hits like ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran, Paddy Byrne (Paloma Faith), Jimmy Hogarth (Sia, Amy Winehouse etc) and many more.
Despite a huge career you get the impression from Tony that he is only just getting started, as he plans to tour the world performing again in countries he hasn’t performed in for many years.
There are some, albeit misguided souls that think Tony Christie appeared out of nowhere in 2005 to grace our TV screens and ask the way to Amarillo. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those of us who know better, who appreciate his wonderful voice and his ability to get inside a song, can tell you that over the last 50 years he has recorded a string of great records. Over the course of his career, one that includes over forty albums, seventy singles and countless live performances Tony has sung thousands of songs including his breakthrough hit Las Vegas, I Did What I Did for Maria and the UK #1 (Is This The Way To) Amarillo.