›‹Anthony Fitzgerald (better known by his stage name Tony Christie) was born 25 April 1943 in Conisborough, South Yorkshire.
Christie was a self taught guitarist who became a professional singer in 1964, recording singles with groups including the ‘Counterbeats’, Tony Christie and The Trackers, and Tony Christie and the Pen Men.
The success of the both groups led to him being talent spotted performing in a club in Wales. In 1966 he recoded his first single “Life’s too Good to Waste” and in 1968 “Turn Around”, a Les Read composition, followed by “My Prayer” which had been a show stopping part of his show.
By the time he signed a solo recording contact with MCA Records in 1969, he had acquired vocal mannerisms similar to those of Tom Jones, and this attracted the interest of songwriters Mitch Murray and Peter Callander, who provided Christie with his first UK Top 30 entry in later 1970 with the song “Las Vegas”.
Next came the title track to “I Did What I Did For Maria”, a UK # 2 hit that cleared the way for the million-selling ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’ (written by Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka), which topped charts throughout the world achieving sales in excess of 4 million. Touring Australasia and South Africa for much of 1972, Christie’s chart placings were on the decline until a minor hit with ‘Avenues And Alleyways’ (from the television series The Protectors) sparked off robust sales. To a lesser degree, he did it again in 1976 with ‘Drive Safely Darlin’’, a collaboration with songwriter Geoff Stevens, but the subsequent ‘best of’ album temporarily rounded off his career as a serious chart contender in the UK.
In 1976, Christie was approached by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to sing the part of Migaldi in their original concept album of “Evita”. It was a project Christie enjoyed immensely, but due to his heavy work schedule and prior commitments for the next 2 years , he was unable to be part of the West End Production.
In 1979, he collaborated with writer/producer Graham Sacher, which penned the massive continental hit titled “Sweet September”, triggering a demand of TV and concert appearances, keeping Christie busy throughout the 80’s.
In 1990, he met producer Jack White who had been responsible for the huge success of David Hasselhoff and Engelbert Humperdinck. Together they recorded “Kiss In The Night” and the album which would follow went Platinum within a matter of weeks. More tours and television appearances continued throughout the 90’s.
1999 he was once again in the top ten of the British charts with the song “Walk Like A Panther”, written especially for him by Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker. Tony was back on Top Of The Pops for the first time in 25 years.
It was the use of “Is This The Way To Amarillo” in Peter Kay’s “Phoenix Nights” which brought Tony to a new audience of young fans and brought him cult status.
In 2005, Christie made a guest appearance on the Yorkshire based TV soap opera, Emmerdale.
To coincide with the 2006 World Cup, a new version of “Amarillo” was released on the novelty single “(Is This The Way To) The World Cup?” on 29 May 2006, reaching Number 8 in the UK. That same year he released the album “Simply in Love” and in 2008, he released “Made in Sheffield”.
Christie made his West End début in the musical Dreamboats and Petticoats in London’s Playhouse Theatre playing the roles of ‘Older Bobby’ and ‘Phil’. On 22 December 2010, Christie appeared on television in a celebrity version of “Come Dine with Me” . Christie came joint second, with actress Susie Amy, behind winner Janet Ellis, but ahead of the musician and actor Goldie. With a sizable amount £1,000 going to the winners nominated charity, it was a cooking show Christie couldn’t pass up.
In 2011, Christie released his 19th studio album “Now its Time”. To coincide with 50 years in the music industry, Christie embarked on a 50-date national tour promoting the new album.
On 23 October 2011, Christie released a charity single, a special arrangement of “Steal The Sun” in aid of the Help for Heroes Charity, supporting all of the British Forces fighting on the frontline in Afghanistan.
Christie’s talents aren’t just pigeon holed as a singer/songwriter, entertainer, he has also dabbled in acting.
From December 2011 Christie appeared in pantomime at The Theatre Royal, Windsor as the King.
His discography of albums include:-
- Tony Christie
- With Loving Feeling
- It’s Good To Be Me
- From America with Love
- I’m Not In Love
- Island in the Sun
- Live at the Festival “The Golden Orpheus ’72” – Bulgaria (1972)
- Ladies Man
- Time And Tears
- As Long As I Have You
- Welcome To My Music (1991)
- Welcome To My Music 2 (1992)
- In Love Again (1993)
- Calypso And Rum (1994)
- This Is Your Day (1996)
- Time For Love (1998)
- The Greatest Hollywood Movie Songs (1999)
- Weihnachten mit Tony Christie (2001)
- Worldhits & Love-Songs (2002)
- Christmas With Christie (2005)
- Definative Collection (2005)
- Simply in love (2006)
- Made in Sheffield (2008)
- Now’s the Time! (2011)
- Best Of – Die größten Hits aus 50 Jahren (2012)
Christie has of late revealed a concern that he might be developing dementia after noticing his memory has been getting worse over the past few years. Christie also revealed he has had to write down his bandmates’ names as to ensure he doesn’t introduce them wrongly on stage. Despite performing the same songs for the last 50 or so years, he now needs the lyrics on an autocue.
With lockdown, Christie is spending most of his time just enjoying quality family time, but it wont be long before he is back to doing what he does best, and that is entertaining the crowds.