The Real Thing (UK band)

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The Real Thing
The Real Thing (1972)
The Real Thing (1972)
Background information
OriginLiverpool, England
Genres
Years active1970 (1970)–present
LabelsPye, Calibre, Jive
Associated actsDavid Essex
The Chants[1]
Biddu[2]
MembersChris Amoo
Dave Smith
Past membersEddie Amoo
Ray Lake
Kenny Davis

The Real Thing are a British soul group formed in the 1970s. In addition to a string of British hits, the band charted internationally with their song "You to Me Are Everything", which reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 28 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart and No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100, The Decade Remix by DJ Froggy, Simon Harris and KC returned the group to mainstream success in 1986 and achieved silver status (250,000 sales). By number of sales, they were the most successful black rock/soul act in England during the 1970s.[3] The journalist, author and founder of Mojo magazine Paul Du Noyer credits them alongside Deaf School with restoring "Liverpool's musical reputation in the 1970s" with their success.[4]

History[edit]

Founded in 1970 by Chris Amoo, Dave Smith, Kenny Davis and Ray Lake, The Real Thing's live, progressive soul-influenced covers of American hits attracted enough attention for them to secure a recording deal with EMI.[5] The singles they released through EMI in 1972 and 1973 such as "Vicious Circle" were, despite their high quality, not successful sellers (and have not so far been included on any of the band's compilation albums). But the band persisted, even after the departure of Kenny Davis. They did appear on Opportunity Knocks (the TV talent show). The turn-around for their career began with their collaboration with David Essex and Pye Records. They toured internationally with Essex, recording with him a number of popular songs, though none were big charters. After Chris Amoo's brother Eddie joined the band, The Real Thing finally found chart success with the pop-soul single "You to Me Are Everything", which reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 28 on Billboard's "R&B Singles" and No. 64 on Billboard's "Hot 100".[5][6] Their follow-up, "Can't Get By Without You", did not chart in the US but was still a success in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 2.

In 1976, they released their first album, Real Thing,[7] which included both of their hit singles as well as a third UK hit, "You'll Never Know What You're Missing",[8] which peaked at No. 16.[9] They continued recording prolifically, releasing a steady stream of subsequent albums: 1977's Four from Eight[10] (originally to have been called Liverpool 8 in honour of the racially mixed, economically depressed neighbourhood in which they grew up, before Pye rejected the title), 1978's Step Into Our World, (reissued in 1979 as Can You Feel the Force)[11] and 1982's compilation 100 Minutes.[5] During the time period, they accumulated eight more British hits. "Love's Such a Wonderful Thing" peaked at No. 33 in 1977.[9] 1978 saw "Whenever You Want My Love" at No. 18, "Let's Go Disco" at No. 39 and "Rainin' Through My Sunshine" at No. 40. "Can You Feel the Force?" climbed to No. 5 in 1979, the same year that "Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)" hit No. 33. 1980's "She's a Groovy Freak" capped a successful run, at No. 52, coming just a few months too late to be included in the band's first compilation, a K-tel collection of their Greatest Hits released in May 1980.[9][12] In 1982 they returned to working with David Essex, performing as backing vocalists on his tour and they also performed as backing vocalists on Essex's 1982 top 20 hit "Me And my Girl (Nightclubbing)" appearing with him on Top of the Pops. They scored a dance-floor hit, reaching #58 on the UK Disco chart published in Record Mirror[13][14] with a single specially written for them by Lynsey De Paul and Terry Britten, called "We Got Love" produced by Nick Martinelli in 1984.[15]

In 1986, the band enjoyed a chart resurgence with the remixing of several of their hits. "You to Me Are Everything (The Decade Remix)" by DJ Froggy, Simon Harris and KC charted twice in the UK, peaking at No. 5 during a 12-week run in spring and returning in June for an additional week at No. 72.[9] "Can't Get By Without You (the Second Decade Remix)" rose almost as high to No. 6, remaining for a consecutive 13 weeks. "Can You Feel the Force" ('86 Remix) climbed to No. 24, but the band's final UK charter for the year, "Straight to the Heart", peaked at No. 71, remaining for only two weeks.

In 2002 Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter teamed up with DJ Falcon to release a single under the name of Together, which sampled The Real Thing's 1977 song "Love's Such a Wonderful Thing". The song was entitled "So Much Love to Give" and became a big club hit (though the single only peaked at No. 71[16] in the UK charts for Bangalter & Falcon), so much so that a number of other dance records used the same sample over the following years. One of these releases was by N-Trance's Kevin O'Toole and Dale Longworth, who covered "So Much Love to Give" under the name of Freeloaders and released it as a single crediting The Real Thing's vocal contribution unlike the earlier French duo's release[17][18]. The single, released by AATW in 2005, peaked at No. 9 in the UK charts, giving The Real Thing their sixth Top Ten hit (including remixes) and last hit single.

Everything - The Real Thing Story[edit]

In 2019, the band were featured in a documentary called Everything - The Real Thing Story,[19][20][21] which charted the history of the band from Eddie's days in Merseybeat doo-wop act The Chants (said to be the only group ever to be backed by The Beatles),[22][23][24] through Chris' group's SSB (the Sophisticated Soul Brothers) and Vocal Perfection.[25] The latter act went on to be renamed The Real Thing by manager Tony Hall, after seeing the Coca-Cola advert on a large billboard in Piccadilly Circus. The documentary featured interviews with David Essex, Billy Ocean, Five Star's Denise Pearson, Kim Wilde and Leee John from Imagination; as well as all surviving members of The Chants and The Real Thing. As Eddie Amoo died during the production of the film, the documentary ended up being released two years after his death, though filmmaker Simon Sheridan managed to get a lengthy interview with Eddie Amoo for this film, which was shown in full on BBC Four in August 2020.

Group members[edit]

Current members
  • Chris Amoo (born Christopher Charles Amoo, 14 October 1952, Liverpool) – vocals
  • Dave Smith (born David Smith, 6 July 1952) – vocals
Real Thing Band
  • John Chapman – saxophone
  • Sam Edwards – keyboards
  • Stuart Ansell – guitar
  • Jon Bower – bass
  • Danny Rose – drums
Former members
  • Eddie Amoo (born Edward Robert Amoo, 5 May 1944, Liverpool;[26] died 23 February 2018, Australia[27]) – vocals, guitars
  • Ray Lake (born Raymond Lake, 11 February 1946, Liverpool; died 2000)[28]falsetto backing vocals
  • Kenny Davis – vocals

Discography[edit]

The Real Thing discography
Studio albums4
Live albums1
Compilation albums3
Singles24

Albums[edit]

Studio albums
Year Title Chart Positions
UK AUS
[29]
1976 The Real Thing 34 70
1977 4 from 8 -
1978 Step into Our World/Can You Feel the Force 73 -
1980 ....Saints Or Sinners? -
Live albums
Year Title Chart Positions
UK
1998 The Real Thing Live
Compilation albums
Year Title Chart Positions
UK
1980 20 Greatest Hits 56
1982 100 Minutes
1986 The Best of The Real Thing 24

Singles[edit]

Year Title Album Chart Positions
UK[9] AUS
[29]
IRL NZ
1972 "Vicious Circle"
1973 "Plastic Man"
"Listen, Joe Mcgintoo"
"Humpty Dumpty"
1974 "Daddy Dear"
1975 "Watch Out Carolina"
"Stone Cold Love Affair"
1976 "You to Me Are Everything" Real Thing 1 22 3 10
"Can't Get By Without You" 2
1977 "You'll Never Know What You're Missing" 16
"Love's Such a Wonderful Thing" 4 From 8 33
"Lightning Strikes Again"
1978 "Whenever You Want My Love" Step into Our World /
Can You Feel the Force
18
"Let's Go Disco" 39
"Rainin' Through My Sunshine" Step into Our World /
Can You Feel the Force
40
1979 "Can You Feel the Force?" 5 23 24
"Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)" ....Saints Or Sinners? 33 46
1980 "Give Me Your Love"
"Saint or Sinner?"
"She's a Groovy Freak" 52
1981 "I Believe in You"
"Foot Tappin'"
1982 "Love Takes Tears"
"Seen to Smile"
1984 "We Got Love"
"Street Scene"
1986 "You to Me Are Everything (The Decade Remix 76–86)" 5 6 2
"Can't Get by Without You" (The Decade Remix II) 6 8
"Can You Feel the Force?" ('86 Remix) 24 17
"Straight to the Heart" 71
1987 "Hard Times" 90
"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)"
1989 "The Crime of Love"
2005 "So Much Love to Give" (with Freeloaders) Freshly Squeezed
(Freeloaders album)
9 30

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Chants – Bill Harry – Mersey Beat". Triumphpc.com. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  2. ^ "34. Biddu". The 50 Greatest Producers Ever. NME. 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  3. ^ Cohen, Sara (2007). Decline, renewal and the city in popular music culture: beyond the Beatles. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-7546-3243-6. Retrieved 24 June 2010. Earlier on The Real Thing, Britain's biggest selling black rock/soul act of the 1970s....
  4. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (1 September 2007). "Subversive dreamers: Liverpool songwriting from the Beatles to the Zutons". In Michael Murphy; Deryn Rees-Jones (eds.). Writing Liverpool: Essays and Interviews. Liverpool University Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-84631-073-7. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "The Real Thing Biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  6. ^ "The Real Thing Billboard Singles". allmusic.com. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  7. ^ Real Thing: Real Thing at Discogs (list of releases)
  8. ^ "The Real Thing". allmusic.com. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2002). Guinness World Records British Hit Singles (15th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 392. ISBN 0-85112-187-X.
  10. ^ Real Thing: 4 from 8 at Discogs (list of releases)
  11. ^ Real Thing: Step Into Our World/Can You Feel the Force at Discogs (list of releases)
  12. ^ "Greatest Hits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  13. ^ 20th October, Record Mirror
  14. ^ A, Author Mike (20 October 1984). "October 20, 1984: Champaign, Angela Bofill, Teena Marie, Force MD's, Laura Pallas". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  15. ^ "The Real Thing – We Got Love / Street Scene – RCA – UK – RCA 445". 45cat.com. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  16. ^ "THOMAS BANGALTER/DJ FALCON | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  17. ^ "REAL THING | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  18. ^ "FREELOADERS FEAT. THE REAL THING | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Everything - The Real Thing Story". IMDb.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  20. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (7 August 2020). "Everything: The Real Thing Story review – the searing saga of Britain's soul pioneers". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Everything - The Real Thing Story". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  22. ^ "Chants, The". Nostalgiacentral.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Sixties City - Bill Harry's Sixties - articles from the creator of iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat". Sixtiescity.net. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Mersey Beat - The Chants". Thefootballvoice.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  25. ^ Reporters, Telegraph (24 February 2018). "The Real Thing singer Eddy Amoo dies at 74". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  26. ^ "Soul Walking: The Real Thing". Soulwalking.com. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Eddy Amoo: The Real Thing singer dies at 73". BBC News. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Ray Lake". Discogs. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  29. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 247. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External links[edit]