The Real Thing (British band)

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The Real Thing
The Real Thing (1972)
The Real Thing (1972)
Background information
OriginLiverpool, England
Years active1970 (1970)–present
LabelsPye, Calibre, Jive
MembersChris Amoo
Dave Smith
Past membersEddie Amoo (deceased)
Ray Lake (deceased)
Kenny Davis (deceased)

The Real Thing are a British soul group formed in the 1970s. The band charted internationally with their song "You to Me Are Everything", which reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. They also had successes a string of British hits such as "Can't Get By Without You" and "Can You Feel the Force?". They returned to mainstream success in 1986 with the Decade Remix of "You to Me Are Everything". 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]


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. 29 on Billboard's "R&B Singles" and No. 66 on Billboard's "Hot 100".[5] The song was certified silver for 250,000 in sales. 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.[6]

In 1976, they released their first album, Real Thing, which included both of their hit singles as well as a third UK hit, "You'll Never Know What You're Missing",[5] which peaked at No. 16.[7] They continued recording prolifically, releasing a steady stream of subsequent albums: 1977's Four from Eight (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) 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.[7] 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.[7][8] 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 No. 58 on the UK Disco chart published in Record Mirror[9][10] and radio playlisted[11][12] with a single specially written for them by Lynsey De Paul and Terry Britten, called "We Got Love" produced by Nick Martinelli in 1984.[13] The song received positive reviews[14] and was included on a greatest hits of 1984 compilation released by Team Records in Indonesia as well as on the album Black Magic.[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.[7] "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.

On 28 January 2022, the duo released their first album in over 40 years.

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[22] (said to be the only group ever to be backed by the Beatles),[23][24][25] through Chris' group's SSB (the Sophisticated Soul Brothers) and Vocal Perfection.[26] 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. Sheridan's lengthy interview with Amoo was shown in full on BBC Four in August 2020.

Group members[edit]

  • 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
  • Eddie Amoo (born Edward Robert Amoo, 5 May 1944, Liverpool;[27] died 23 February 2018, Melbourne, Australia)[28] – vocals, guitars
  • Ray Lake (born Raymond Brian Lake, 11 February 1946, Liverpool; died 9 March 2000, Bristol)[29]falsetto backing vocals
  • Kenny Davis – vocals
  • Steve Dixon - drums


The Real Thing discography
Studio albums5
Live albums1
Compilation albums4


Studio albums
Year Title Chart Positions Certifications
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?
2022 A Brand New Day
"–" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.
Live albums
Year Title Chart Positions
1998 The Real Thing Live
Compilation albums
Year Title Chart Positions Certifications
1980 20 Greatest Hits 56
1982 100 Minutes
1986 The Best of the Real Thing 24
2020 Best of the Real Thing 58


Year Title Album Chart Positions Certifications
US Pop
1972 "Vicious Circle" Non-album singles
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 66 28
"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" 51[A]
1978 "Whenever You Want My Love" Step into Our World /
Can You Feel the Force
"Let's Go Disco" Non-album single 39
"Rainin' Through My Sunshine" Step into Our World /
Can You Feel the Force
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" Non-album singles 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
"–" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".


  1. ^ "The Chants – Bill Harry – Mersey Beat". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  2. ^ "34. Biddu". The 50 Greatest Producers Ever. NME. 2012. Archived from the original on 22 April 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 d Hamilton, Andrew. "The Real Thing - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Children of the Ghetto; the Story of the Real Thing". North West Labour History Journal. 2002. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Hanson, Amy. "The Real Thing - Greatest Hits: Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  9. ^ Record Mirror, 20 October 1984.
  10. ^ "October 20, 1984: Champaign, Angela Bofill, Teena Marie, Force MD's, Laura Pallas". 20 October 1984. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  11. ^ Eurotipsheet, 22 October 1984, p. 4
  12. ^ "Dance 80 - Euro Hits 80'". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  13. ^ "The Real Thing – We Got Love / Street Scene – RCA – UK – RCA 445". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  14. ^ Smith, Jerry. Music Week. 20 October 1984, p. 26
  15. ^ "Various - Black Magic". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  16. ^ "THOMAS BANGALTER/DJ FALCON | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d "REAL THING | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  18. ^ "FREELOADERS FEAT. THE REAL THING | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Everything - The Real Thing Story". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  20. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (7 August 2020). "Everything: The Real Thing Story review – the searing saga of Britain's soul pioneers". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Everything - The Real Thing Story". BBC. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  22. ^ "How to be a Musician: Eddy Amoo". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Chants, The". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Sixties City - Bill Harry's Sixties - articles from the creator of iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Mersey Beat - The Chants". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  26. ^ Reporters, Telegraph (24 February 2018). "The Real Thing singer Eddy Amoo dies at 74". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  27. ^ "Soul Walking: The Real Thing". Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Eddy Amoo: The Real Thing singer dies at 73". BBC News. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  29. ^ "The Real Thing: Where are they now?". Smooth Radio. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "Real Thing - Real Thing". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  32. ^ "Real Thing - The Best of the Real Thing". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  33. ^ a b "The Real Thing - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  34. ^ "British certifications – You to Me Are Everything". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  35. ^ "Real Thing - Can't Get By Without You". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  36. ^ "Real Thing - Can You Feel the Force". Retrieved 15 January 2022.

External links[edit]