Mitch Murray

Tony Christie to play Glastonbury

tony-christieTONY CHRISTIE has been added to this year’s Glastonbury line-up.  The crooner will play the main Pyramid Stage on the Sunday afternoon of the three-day festival.  Christie, who said he was “in awe” of the event, follows in the footsteps of Neil Diamond, Dame Shirley Bassey, Brian Wilson and James Brown, who have all played Sunday slots over the past few years. Fans can expect to hear him perform his number one hit (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, which spent seven weeks at the top 2005 after it was re-released for Comic Relief. Christie said he was “excited” about performing at the event and told BBC News: “I’m going to do some of the new album tracks and I’ve got to do my old stuff as well. “I did the V Festival three years ago but I think Glastonbury is the big one, so it’s a great honour.” Neil Young, Blur and Bruce Springsteen have already been confirmed as headliners at the festival, with Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen and Fleet Foxes among the other acts performing. The full line-up will be announced nearer the event, which takes place in Somerset from 27-29 June.

 British balladeer Tony Christie proved the continued commercial viability of traditional pop in a post-psychedelic world, scoring a series of easy listening hits that spanned the 1970s. Born Anthony Fitzgerald in South Yorkshire, England, on April 25, 1943, at 18 he joined the popular local group the Counterbeats, later fronting his own combo, Tony Christie & the Trackers. After mounting a solo career, he cut his debut single, “Life’s Too Good to Waste,” in 1966, followed a year later by “Turn Around.” Upon signing to MCA in 1969, Christie teamed with the songwriting and production tandem of Mitch Murray and Peter Callender. Although their first collaboration, “God Is on My Side,” went nowhere, the 1971 LP Las Vegas proved the singer’s breakthrough, generating the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield-penned smash “Is This the Way to Amarillo?” (a number one hit in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain), “I Did What I Did for Maria,” and “Don’t Go Down to Reno.” Christie remained a constant of the European charts for much of the decade via subsequent 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 during the Me Decade. 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 stardom waned during the decade to follow. He nevertheless maintained a demanding international tour schedule, and remained a regular presence on television as well. 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. After cutting the theme for Kay’s spinoff series Max and Paddy, Christie closed out the year with a tongue-in-cheek big-band cover of Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody,” which fell shy of the British Top 40

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