Is This the Way to Amarillo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Is This The Way To Amarillo"
Single by Tony Christie
B-side "Love Is A Friend Of Mine"
Released November 1971
Recorded 1971
Genre Pop
Length 3:10
Label MCA Records (UK and Europe); Kapp Records (US)
Writer(s) Sedaka/Greenfield
Producer(s) Tony Christie

"Is This the Way to Amarillo" is a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, referring to Amarillo, Texas. It is about a man traveling to Amarillo to find his girlfriend. The reason that Amarillo was chosen for the song was because it was the only place name that Sedaka could think of that rhymed with "willow" and "pillow". The song was originally to be titled, "Is This the Way to Pensacola" referring to Pensacola, Florida, but Sedaka felt that Amarillo worked better than Pensacola.[1]

Written by two Americans about a United States city, the song was first released in Europe, where it has become much more famous than it has ever been in the composers' native country.

The song was recorded by Tony Christie and released in the UK in November 1971, initially reaching number 18 in the UK Singles Chart. However, it was a substantially bigger hit at that time across Continental Europe, notably in Germany and Spain, where it made number one. In Germany, the song retains unbroken popularity as one of the standard schlager repertoire, and is widely adapted as a chant by football and hockey fans. Following its re-issue in 2005 – when it reached number one in the UK, thanks in part to Peter Kay's star-studded lip-synch video – the song gained even greater popularity. In 2006 it was played at the World Cup Final in Berlin and was also played by The Central Band of the Royal British Legion on Centre Court at Wimbledon before the start of the Men's Singles final.

Neil Sedaka version[edit]

"Is This The Way To Amarillo"
Single by Neil Sedaka
from the album "A Song"
B-side "The Leaving Game"
Released 1977
Recorded 1977
Genre Pop
Label Elektra Records (US); Polydor Records (Europe)
Writer(s) Sedaka/Greenfield

In the United States, a version by the writer of the song Neil Sedaka got to number 44 in the Billboard charts in 1977, and the title was shortened to "Amarillo".

Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay version[edit]

"Is This the Way to Amarillo"
Single by Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay
from the album Is This the Way to Amarillo
Released March 14, 2005
Format Digital download, CD single, DVD single
Genre Pop
Length 3:40
Writer(s) Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield
Producer(s) Tony Christie
Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay singles chronology
- "Is This the Way to Amarillo"
(2005)
"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
(2007)

In 2002, Tony Christie's version was used in the British comedy series Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. The song was then re-released on March 14, 2005 to raise money for Comic Relief.

Music video[edit]

In the accompanying video, Peter Kay mimed the song accompanied by various celebrities including Brian May, Roger Taylor, Shakin' Stevens, Shaun Ryder, Bez, Paddy McGuinness, Michael Parkinson, Heather Mills, Danny Baker, Ronnie Corbett, Mr Blobby, Jim Bowen, look-alikes of Cliff Richard - the same lookalike is used in the Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights spin off, Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, Mahatma Gandhi, William Roache, Anne Kirkbride, Jimmy Savile, Sally Lindsay, Bernie Clifton, Keith Harris and Orville the Duck, Sooty, Sweep, Geoffrey Hayes and Bungle, as well as Tony Christie himself.

Within the first few cameos, Max and Paddy from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights and its spin-off appear together, arguing and eventually fighting in the Granada studios corridor. This is one of many appearances of characters from Kay's TV series, including Paddy's tennis playing cell mate Cliff from Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, and both a midget football team and Brian Potter from Phoenix Nights. The video consists almost entirely of Kay walking towards the camera flanked by different pairings of the celebrities, in front of increasingly bizarre and unlikely backgrounds.

Chart performance[edit]

This time around, the song peaked at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and remained there for seven weeks,[2] becoming the UK's best-selling single of 2005. It had sold over 1.31 million copies as of November 2012.[3] During its success, the song was credited in chart rundowns and other media appearances to "Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay". However, Kay does not appear on the record, since it is a re-issue of the original version and not a re-recording.

Spoofs[edit]

BBC One's This Week used a parody of Kay's video, starring presenter Andrew Neil, for its opening titles in the run-up to the 2005 election.[4] On May 13, 2005, another spoof video of the song made by the Royal Dragoon Guards stationed in Iraq was emailed so frequently it crashed a server at the Ministry of Defence. The spoof was entitled "Is This The Way To Armadillo" .[5] On August 6, 2006, Riverton Rover Crew also did an award winning spoof of the Tony Christie video.[6] On 2 July 2005, Peter Kay, joined by the crowd, sang an excerpt of this song a cappella, before introducing The Who at Live 8's London concert. Before this, on May 4, 2005, Kay performed at a concert by Queen + Paul Rodgers at the Manchester Evening News Arena, Kay and his regular co-star Paddy McGuinness led the crowd in an impromptu rendition while they introduced the band's encore.

Tracklisting[edit]

  • CD single
  1. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" - 3:40
  2. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (All Around the World Mix) - 3:45
  3. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (music video) - 3:49
  4. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (making of the video) - 5:14
  • DVD single
  1. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (music video) - 3:49
  2. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (Club Mix) - 6:14
  3. "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (Instrumental w/Photo Gallery) - 3:40

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
"All About You/You've Got a Friend" by McFly
UK number one single
20 March 2005 – 7 May 2005
Succeeded by
"Lonely" by Akon
Preceded by
"All About You/You've Got a Friend" by McFly
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
31 March 2005 – 28 April 2005
Succeeded by
"Lonely" by Akon

Other cover versions, re-issues etc.[edit]

The Dutch singer Albert West covered the song in 1988. After the successful re-release of the song in the UK, Tony Christie re-recorded it with the Hermes House Band; this version charted in Germany in 2005. There is also a version by The Les Humphries Singers and a version in German by Roberto Blanco. There was also a 1971 version on the MGM label (K 14360) by a band called English House. It was produced by Terry Slater. The A-side was "Music Is The Voice Of Love" composed by Terry Slater and Phil Everly.

The song has also been covered in Czech as "Kvitek Mandragory" by Helena Vondráčková. [7]


Football
  • In the early 1970s, following their run to the final in the Texaco Cup, Airdrieonians FC sung to the tune of "Amarillo", changing the last line to "Airdrie for the Texaco Cup". This song was revived by Airdrie fans following the release of Peter Kay's version.
  • Since the late 1990s, Falkirk have played Amarillo after a goal scored by the club at home. This precedes the re-release by Christie and Peter Kay and was highlighted when Tony Christie was added to the line-up of performers at the Big In Falkirk music concert to perform the song with the Falkirk playing staff and manager after the club won promotion to the SPL in the summer of 2005.
  • The English Football team, Bolton Wanderers (Peter Kay's hometown club) have had Amarillo as their 'Goal' song since the 2004/05 Premier League season (although I Feel Good is still used on occasion). The song is also frequently used by Christie's local side, Doncaster Rovers.
  • Birmingham City's version was "Is This The Way To Hammer Villa" after beating them 5-0 over two games in their first season back in the top flight.
Rugby League
Boxing
  • Bolton boxer Amir Khan used the song when he was walking to the ring in his last amateur fight against Mario Kindelan which took place in his home town.
Darts
Others


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Is This the way to Pensacola? Record columnist Tam Cowan finds it could all have been so different when he meets his lifelong idol Neil Sedaka at his New York apartment". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 710–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "UK Politics | Election 2005 | Amarillo becomes poll soundtrack". BBC News. 2005-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  5. ^ "Is This the Way to Amarillo?". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Kvitek Mandragory on Helena Vondráčková's webiste". Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  8. ^ "Welkom op de website van Albert West". Albertwest.nl. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 

External links[edit]