The name Tony Christie conjures up images of a bygone era in popular music particularly the 1970s when he had hits with songs such as “Is this the way to Amarillo” and “Avenues and Alleyways.” His career slowly declined and he ended up living in Spain, just occasionally appearing on the cabaret circuit.
It wasn’t until Peter Kay the comedian did a version of “Amarillo” that some interest was shown in Christies career, and as a result of the comedy records success he went back on the road. He also proved enduringly popular with a brace of modern musicians, each eager to pay him vocal respect. Christies son Sean hit on the idea of a collaborative project, and in 2008, Tony released Made in Sheffield, which featured contributions from Jarvis Cocker, Arctic Monkeys and Richard Hawley. “That was a nice thing to do,” Tony says, “because it gave me a chance to show what I was capable of. I think for too long I was thought of as a rather cheesy 60s popstar, but Made in Sheffield allowed me to prove otherwise
Made In Sheffield is a concoction of homegrown talent, bringing together an array of songwriters, musicians and lyricists. The album was recorded and produced in Sheffield, utilising the highly talented musicians born and bred in the city: Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Phil Oakley, Alex Turner and Roisin Murphy are some of the collaborators on this remarkable album.
No matter what material he sings, the one thing that is impossible to deny is that Tony Christie has one of the best voices in popular music. I urge you to put aside your prejudices and listen to this wonderful album, and in particular “Louise” (with some wonderful trumpet playing by Guy Barker) to the ecstatic “Born to Cry” featuring a sumptuous arrangement and stunning guitar work by Richard Hawley (yes, that Richard Hawley).
Watch the lovely video I have posted of Tony singing Born to Cry featuring images of him and the band and the city of Sheffield.