Tony Christie Interview

 A feature from the April 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life April 2017Click to view this issue »
Stephanie Mackentyre meets singer and consummate performer Tony Christie

Some younger readers might think Tony Christie appeared out of nowhere in 2005, gracing our TV screens to ask the way to Amarillo. Those of us who know better, and not only appreciate his vocals but his ability to really get inside a song to make it his own, would tell you differently. Over the last 50 years Tony Christie has recorded a string of great records. Throughout the course of his career, Tony Christie has released over forty albums, seventy singles and performed countless live performances – singing literally thousands of songs. His latest album ‘50 Golden Hits’ is not only a collection of 50 songs; it represents Tony’s musical autobiography. The album highlights Tony’s ability to reinterpret a song, not merely cover it. There’s a string of classic covers, including Jimmy Webb’s classic ‘Didn’t We’, George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’, Dobie Gray’s ‘Drift Away’ and Bacharach & David’s, ‘A House Is Not A Home’. There are also eight new tracks, including ‘Early Morning Memphis’, ‘When All Is Said And Done’ and ‘Damned’, all recently recorded in Nashville, with producer Graeme Pleeth (producer and friend of singer/songwriter Graham Gouldman), who pulled together the cream of Music Row’s session musicians to perform them with Tony. This latest album also includes five brand new tracks. Some of the songs were written by Pleeth and Gouldman (10CC). “Using the Nashville musicians it’s staggering the standard of musicianship. You are quite humbled being backed by people who you’ve actually got their albums.”

He was born Anthony Fitzgerald on the 25th April 1943 in Conisborough, Yorkshire. “When I was 17 or 18 I used to be in a double act with my mate Dave and we were imaginatively known as ‘Tony and Dave’. Dave left, as his girlfriend didn’t appreciate the attention we were getting from the girl fans. So I was asked to join ‘The Counterbeats’. Their lead singer had just had a hit with ‘Nobody’s Child’ and it went to number 1 and so she left the band. Their manager asked if I’d like to turn pro and join them.” The manager told Tony the band was desperate for another lead singer as they had bookings for the next two years. “He said, ‘I’ve heard you sing. You’d be perfect. What’s your name?’ So I told him ‘Tony Fitzgerald’ and he said ‘Oh dear that’s no good’. I said, ‘Well it didn’t to Ella any harm did it!’” He told Tony his name needed to be snappier, something more suited to a pop band i.e. ‘Tony ………… and the Counterbeats.’ “I went to see a picture called ‘Darling’ starring Julie Christie and I remember I was quite taken with her! I thought what a cracking looking girl, and I liked her name as well. So that’s how I became Tony Christie.”

Read the full article in the April 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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