Comic paved the way for crooner’s come­back

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - MUSIC SCENE - By Sean Wal­lace

FROM near-for­got­ten crooner to an artist in de­mand, Tony Christie has com­pleted a re­mark­able re­nais­sance. And stars like Jarvis Cocker, Richard Haw­ley and Arc­tic Mon­keys’ front man Alex Turner are lin­ing up to work with the 68-year-old. And Tony will un­veil the fruits of those col­lab­o­ra­tions at Aberdeen’s Mu­sic Hall on Sun­day when he pro­motes new al­bum Now’s The Time. He said: “Work­ing with peo­ple like Alex Turner and Jarvis Cocker was ex­cit­ing – and odd. “Ob­vi­ously there is the age gap be­cause when they were kids it was their par­ents play­ing my records. “Alex told me his mum was a big fan of mine. The fact I had recorded one of his songs made her in­cred­i­bly proud. “Alex has so many ideas he re­quires plenty of out­lets for his creativ­ity. Thank­fully I was one of them.” Christie’s res­ur­rec­tion was un­ex­pected as he was en­joy­ing semi-re­tire­ment in Spain. How­ever co­me­dian Peter Kay sparked a resur­gence in his pop­u­lar­ity by us­ing Is This The Way To Amar­illo? on his hit com­edy show Phoenix Nights. In March 2005 the song was re­leased to raise money for Comic Re­lief, backed by a video fea­tur­ing Kay and a host of stars. It stormed to num­ber one and Tony’s come­back was com­plete. “Amar­illo is a fan­tas­tic, iconic pop song,” he said. “Peter did me a favour as he gave me the im­pe­tus to get back to Bri­tain and carry on my ca­reer here. “I had fan­tas­tic suc­cess ev­ery­where else, but I couldn’t get a hit in Bri­tain. “Ap­par­ently they were go­ing to use ei­ther Amar­illo or Green Door by Shakin’ Stevens in Phoenix Nights. “But Paddy McGuin­ness couldn’t re­mem­ber the words to Green Door. So they went with Amar­illo, be­cause it’s eas­ier.” Born in Sh­effield, Tony rose to promi­nence in the early 1970s with a string of hits. He was part of a tra­di­tion of croon­ers that stretched back to Frank Si­na­tra. “Many peo­ple these days tend to dis­miss croon­ers as cheesy,” he said. “Be­ing a crooner in the 1950s used to be cool. “They used to call Si­na­tra and Dean Martin croon­ers, so it’s not that bad to be classed as that.”

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