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Q&A Tony Christie on ol' Blue Eyes, Amarillo and being very much alive!

TONY Christie has had an illustrious career spanning 40 years. He has sold over 10 million records including the hits I Did What I Did For Maria, (Is This the Way to) Amarillo and Avenues and Alleyways. His recent chart successes include Sweet September, the Jarvis Cocker song Walk Like a Panther and the Comic Relief version of Amarillo which became the biggest selling number one single of 2005.

He's in Liverpool to play the Philharmonic this month, so I caught up with him for this week's ECHO music Q&A...

Are you looking forward to playing Liverpool? I always look forward to playing Liverpool. I have a great rapport with the people of Liverpool and have done since I used to play there with an unknown group called The Trackers in the early 1960s.

Which song is stuck in your head today? Come Back To Me by Sammy Davis and the Buddy Rich Band. I sang it last night at the London Palladium with some of the original members of the band at a 25th Anniversary Buddy Rich Memorial concert.

What's on your iPod/stereo today? I''m listening to loads of demos that have been sent to me to sift through for my forthcoming album. We begin recording very soon.

What was the first album you bought? It was definitely a Frank Sinatra album, but not sure which one. Which musician do you most admire, and why? The clarinetist, Artie Shaw. He quit while at the top of his game, because he felt he had no more to give. He never picked it up again.

What are your three favourite albums of all time? Erroll Garner - Concert By The Sea, Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swinging Lovers, Sammy Davis with The Buddy Rich Orchestra -Sounds Of 66 (Live at the Sands Las Vegas) Tell us about a great band we might not have heard of...

Cytota. My 17-year-old grandson Joby is the singer of this very talented up and coming young rock band.

Have you ever been told you look like anyone famous? I was once on a flight to New Zealand and two young stewardesses were really fussing over me, offering me more and more Champagne. After a while an older stewardess came over and whispered in my ear, Those two think you''re Al Pacino! If we ended up in a karaoke club, what would you sing? It would have to be a Sinatra song, but I would be lynched If I tried to leave without singing Amarillo!! What song would you like played at your funeral? Someone To Watch Over Me by Ella Fitzgerald What was your most embarrassing moment? Once while appearing in a theatre in Scarborough, I was watching a football match on the TV in my dressing room when suddenly I heard my band start playing my intro music. I wasn''t even dressed. In those days I was wearing those all in one cat suits that were all the rage and I dashed on stage and sang my first song all out of breath and flustered. When I finished, my bass player walked up to me and zipped me up, much to the amusement of the band and the audience!

What is your most treasured possession? My Irish Grandfather''s squeeze-box. He used to be in a ceilidh band. What's the funniest thing you've ever heard said or written about you? A DJ on Radio Piccadilly in Manchester once played one of my songs and said That was Tony Christie with I Did What I Did For Maria... I wonder what happened to him? Somebody called in and said that I was dead - which was news to me...

Coffee or tea? Tea - nice and strong builders', no sugar.

Facebook or Twitter? These days both have become a vital part of letting my fans know what I''m up to. It''s taken me a while to accept it, but I''m now more comfortable with this form of communication. Paul or John? It would have to be Paul. Unfortunately John blotted his copy book when he came into the vocal booth during a take and asked me to move my car while recording at the same recording studio in Los Angeles in the early 70s. Liverpool or Everton? I recently did myWest End debut in Bill Kenwright''s production of Dreamboats And Petticoats. Bill really impressed me with his knowledge of football and when I told him about my dad taking me to see Doncaster Rovers as a kid in the 50s, he even managed to name some of the players. Therefore I have to say Everton.

Close your eyes. If I was your fairy godmother, what would your three wishes be? Health and happiness for me and my family, for my voice to hold out for as long as possible so I can carry on touring around the world, and another big hit song to come along like Amarillo would be nice!

? Tony Christie plays the Philharmonic Hall on Friday April 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets pounds 22.50, pounds 25, pounds 31 from www.liverpoolphil.com or 0151 709 3789.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Apr 13, 2012
Words:852
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