Tony Christie brings latest songs on tour

Tony Christie at the White Rock in October 2015
Tony Christie at the White Rock in October 2015

Born Anthony Fitzgerald in South Yorkshire, at 18 he joined the Counterbeats, later fronting his own combo, Tony Christie & the Trackers.

He went solo and on signing to MCA in 1969, Christie teamed with the songwriting and production tandem of Mitch Murray and Peter Callender. The 1971 LP Las Vegas was a breakthrough, generating the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield-penned smash Is This the Way to Amarillo?, I Did What I Did for Maria, and Don’t Go Down to Reno.

Christie remained a constant in the charts for much of the decade via hits including Avenues and Alleyways (the theme to the television series The Protectors) and The Queen of Mardi Gras, selling more than ten million records. He also hosted his own BBC variety series, and in 1976 played the role of Magaldi during recording sessions for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita.

In 1979, Christie paired with producer Graham Sacher for the blockbuster Sweet September, but his poularity waned. He nevertheless maintained a demanding tour schedule, and a regular presence on television. Upon teaming with producer Jack White, who previously masterminded hits for Engelbert Humperdinck and Baywatch heartthrob David Hasselhoff, Christie scored a massive comeback hit with 1990’s Kiss in the Night.

However, he again spent a number of years on the cabaret circuit before enjoying a new wave of popularity and credibility via the 1999 single Walk Like a Panther, written for him by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. The single earned Christie his first appearance on Top of the Pops in a quarter century, and his newfound hipster cachet was further solidified when the smash comedy series Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights employed Is This the Way to Amarillo? as its theme song.

In the spring of 2005, the single was re-released to raise funds for the charity Comic Relief, and spent seven weeks atop the U.K. pop charts. This year sees him release a collaborative Irish Folk album, with folk crossover band Ranagri, titled The Great Irish Song Book and takes Tony back to his Irish roots. He has dedicated this album, which is available from September 18, to Paddy Fitzgerald, his father who passed on ten years ago.

He will perform at the White Rock Theatre on Friday October 23 - for tickets call box office on 01424 462288.