About Us

THE REAL THING STORY PART 1 (background)

The name was given to the group by their mentor and Manager Tony Hall
The idea actually came to him while he was sitting at traffic lights at Piccadilly Circus in London
He badly needed a new name for the new group he had just signed because they were about to perform on the hugely popular Opportunity Knocks talent show with its presenter Huey green , He wasn't happy with The present one "vocal perfection"
Tony noticed a Coca Cola sign blinking and suddenly he had his name the group with lead singer Cris Amoo having potentially the best voice Tony had ever heard from a "uk" artiste were truly "The Real Thing".
Note opportunity Knocks was the X factor of the early 70s

The Real Thing are Chris & Eddy Amoo & Dave Smith And at the present time( 2010) the trio have been together for 36 years The group with its founder members Cris amoo and Dave smith began in the Liverpool inner city area of L8 Toxteth back in 1972 t though the Story really began back in 1962

1962
Eddy Amoo ( Chris's brother ) was a member of an "acapala" vocal group called "The Chants"
A chance meeting with Paul McCartney at a Little Richard / Beatles concert at the Tower Ballroom in Birkenhead, led to the "Chants" being invited to audition for the Beatles at Liverpool's "Caver" club
The Chants showed up at one of the clubs lunch time sessions {featuring the Beatles ) and "accapeller,d for them after the session The Beatles were so knocked out with the group that they invited them to appear with them that same night and even rehearsed 4 songs with them so they could provide the "backing".
Brian Epstein ( the Beatles Manager ) did try to prevent the lads appearing with his group ( he didn't like the Idea of beetles backing anyone ) but he was persuaded by John and the lads to let it happen , and so the "Chants" debut live performance in front of packed house full of "screaming" girls went on, and
"it was a resounding success and so started Eddies career Brian Epstein took the "chants" under his wing and it was all looking good, sadly though the group grew impatient waiting for Brian to formally sign them decided to accept one of the many offers coming their way , "big mistake" as they found to their cost because even though they were signed for Pie records by Legendary producer Tony Hatch, it simply wasn't the "right time for black groups in the UK" so the group were unable to achieve the success of their "Mersey beat" Peers! That said the chants toured for 13 years , and in that time Eddy would develop his song writing and musical skill

THE REAL THING BIOG PART 2

1972
Eddies younger brother Chris grew up watching the Chants In 1972 he formed his own group "The Sophisticated Soul Brothers"
The founding members were Cris Dave Smith Kenny Davis (who started as the groups ''Lead Singer'') the group began to develop a sound encouraged and helped by Eddy
As their development continued , Edward Ankra (younger brother of Edmund & Joe of the ''Chants'') And Ray Lake were Added to the Line up . The group now started to do small local gigs and were signed by their first manager Ted Lamb
Slowly things started to fall together for the band but their biggest and most important break came when they met Former Radio Luxemburg DJ Tony Hall ,

Tony Hal
Tony formally head of A&R at Decca was the man behind Procul Harems Massive hit ''Lighter shade of pale'' and the Mow town explosion in the UK
He was also involved with the ''Heavy '' Blue note Jazz Label and was also Tony had connections with Musical Heavyweights such as Phil Spector , in short he was '' connected and Savvy He also had an ear for a ''Hit'' The group now had what the ''Chants had lacked
A ''mentor who could guide them through the ''Labyrinth ''of the music business
Progress continued and the first pivotal moment in the bands career arrived
They were offered the chance to appear on the ''pop Idol X factor of the Time'' Opportunity knocks!!
The Real Thing were a massive success on Opportunity Knocks
Winning it out right, this established them on the club circuit and Things slowly began to happen
The groups first single ''vicious Circle'' a hard hitting street conscious song in the mode of the Temptations'' cloud 9 was written by Eddy
Eddie had written the song and put it on the ''Backburner because there wasn't much chance of performing that type of song with the ''Chants who were now on the ''cabaret circuit'' Chris got hold of Eddies cassette Demo and played it to Tony , Tony was Knocked out with the song and rang an astonished Eddy and told him so also stating that it would be the groups debut single and and asked if he had any other tunes stashed away
Tony also invited Eddy to take part in the groups ''recording session''
As promised Vicious Circle '' became the ''Real Things debut single released by EMI. , it didn't chart but received moderate air play and feedback on the band was good
Thus began a run of Eddies songs released by the group , the follow up to ''Vicious Circle '' '' Plastic man'' earned the group their first appearance on T O T pops , it was spoiled somewhat when the shows presenter ''Jimmy Seville '' mistakenly announced the group as the ''plastic Men'' singing ''Real Thing'' the record was a '' glorious failure
But the groups reputation and following was slowly growing

THE REAL THING BIOG PART 3

The Amoo Brothers now formed a song writing partnership And Tony realising that ultimate success lay with the band being able to come up with their own hits greatly encouraged them and suggested Positive Ideas as to the direction they should take with their songs. Along with their many "Pop" inspired ideas The brothers came up with a trilogy of songs dealing with life in Toxteth , the songs included ''Children of the ghetto'' which years down the line would become an iconic song covered by Artiste's such as Earth Wind &Fires Philip Bailey , on the Phil Collins produced ''Chinese Wall ''album , Courtney Pines ''Journey To the Urge Within'' and '' Mary J Bligh'' on her '' Live in LA and '' live in the house of blues'' DVDs

In keeping with the trend in Vocal groups at that time the group became a trio, a good tight band was essential and the group had assembled a formidable band of musicians which featured Vic Lynton guitar/ Nigel Martinez/ drums/ Pete Nelson keyboards/ bass Earl Lee Robinson also on bass Jon Plotel brother of dave Plotel who also featured for the band on lead guitar , the Plotel brothers were twins and sometimes the band didn't know which one of them was on stage The Real thing wanted to establish themselves as ''unit '' in the mode of Parliament Funkadellic earth wind and Fire who were setting the Soul funk world alight
Because of this five vocalist's was really top heavy
Edward Ankrah & Kenny Davis left the group in 1974

THE REAL THING PART 4

The Amoo brothers were developing a strong musical partnership Chris was playing base and eddy guitar & keyboards , as eddy was becoming more and more involved with the real Thing , Chris invited him to join the band , Eddy relishing a fresh challenge joined in 1975
The breaks began to filter through , Pye Records signed the Real Thing in '75, and Tony Hall realising that if the group was to progress they needed a hit even if it meant a "digression from their present path. He persuaded the hot team of Ron Roker and Gerry Shury to write a song for them.
They came up with a tune called 'Stone Cold Love Affair' and asked if they could produce it?' They did, and got a turntable success, a lot of radio plays. "Stone Cold Love Affair" was a European and UK/US club hit and went on to impress a lot of people
This included producer Jeff Wayne, who called up Tony Hall to get Chris to do a commercial. Wayne was knocked out with the Real Thing, introducing them to his red-hot act David Essex. Essex also loved the Real Thing, and not only asked them to work with him in the studio, but also be a support act on his shows. They worked well together, despite the different styles of music,"
And because the group had managed to breakaway from the accepted " vocal group image of the day " the dance routines and smart suits mow town thing" " they were ready for the audience that working with Essex exposed them , this period was crucial to the bands career
The group sang on 'Me And My Girl (Nightclubbing)' and quite a few of his hits One of the highlights of their association with David Essex was accompanying him on his American "Lamplight" tour, and themselves headlining at the famous Bottom Line club in New York's Greenwich Village. Were they ended up with three of the hottest black players in New York the bassist John Lee Reggie Lucas guitar and Jerry brown drums
Back in London, The Real Thing were now enjoying healthy respect from the media who were impressed with the Lyrical and "riffy grooves of their show But although things were on the "up" for the group they still needed to come up with that "hit " song because the record company were literally screaming for a return on their " investment" these were dangerous times for the group Should they be faithfull to the direction they had set themselves or do what they had been warned against by their fans in the media and run for the safety of the "charts" Then came the cruciall turning point in the groups career Songwriter Ken Gold, and his co writer Mickey Denne, contacted Tony Hall, they knew Tony was a big soul fan. their songs had been cut in the States by Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson and Eugene Record, but they were looking for success in the UK. Their publishers were ignoring their latest song and Gold had spent a frustrating year plugging it himself - to no avail. The song was called "you to me are everything "
In desperation they took the song to Tony Hall who immediately spotted its potential and invited ken to produce the track
A studio was quickly booked as were the musicions and Lynton Naif was brought in to do the arrangements, no one realised it then but a very succsessfull hit producing team Ken gold producer Lynton Naif arranger the Real thing and their musicions and Tony hall asute direction had just been born It wasn't easy at first , The real thing had been used to laying the basic track and then allowing Cris to " jam "over it as he felt , but Ken wanted things completely different, because he knew in his own mind how he wanted the finished track to sound,
There was a bit of friction at first but the Real thing accepted that as the writer his vision of the song had to be respected
The record was cut at the Roundhouse Studios in Camden Town. " In a classic "rags to riches" tale. "You To Me Are Everything" got picked up immediately by Radio One and during that scorching summer of '76 became a monster Number One smash in the UK and only narrowly missed achieving a top 30 hit in the USA, they had to beat off three cover version which destroyed the momentum of the American release. In the UK though At its peak it was shifting more than 30,000 copies a day. And has now become a pop standard, ( the 69th most played record of all time in the uk ( PPL).
The follow-up, the irresistible "Can't Get by without you another Gold Denne song was almost as huge, hitting the Number 2 slot.
This record has also become a pop standard , in fact it sits along with You to me are everything In the millennium Top !00

REAL THING PART 5

The one blot on the groups horizon was their removal from Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds Album which was destined to become a huge success , the group did a lot of the original vocals on the Album Cris did the original lead on " forever Autum" which became a huge hit for Justin Heywood the ex moody blues member Jeff took the group aside after one of the "Essex" sessions and told them that his negotiations with Pie records had broken down and their vocals would not be used , in the euphoria of having their first hit the Real thing failed to grasp the importance of losing their slot on this great Album Also at the same session Dave Essex told the lads that he was overjoyed for their success but cautioned them that they might find it very hard to capture an audience who would accept there serious songs such as " children of the ghetto" His words would prove to be very "prophetic"

The group now released their first Album "Real Thing" produced by American Base player Jerome Rimson who had his own band " Atomic Man " this album contained the the 2 hits with the rest of the songs self penned by the Amoo brothers The Album was moderately sucsessfull specially taking into account the diversity of the C& E Amoo songs ( alongside ) The 2 Gold& Denne songs It was decided to go with the E& C Amoo song 'You'll Never Know What You're Missing as the follow up to "cant get by" This was a huge gamble on the bands part but everybody thought it was a nesescary one if they were to be recognised as a serious band They decided to go in with " Paul buckmaster " and do a remix , Paul came up with a fantastic new string arrangement and new vocals were added , the new mix really "cooked " it sailed into the 20. peaking at 16 giving eddy & Chris their first self penned hit , they were now truly on their way More success followed as the group won the Daily Mirror 'Best New Group' Award, The "Awards gig was held at Bingly hall and was headlined by Paul McCartney Who Eddy had not seen from that embronyc Chants period back in 1962,

The next single. Though , 'Love's Such A Wonderful Thing' brought the first downturn for the band it peaked at 33 despite selling 90,000 copies in one of the Quirks of the "Biz" the groups faith in the song was justified because. In 2003 french house dj team "Daft punk" sampled the track and issued a white-label bootleg promo titled "So Much Love To Give" it became a massive hit on the Ibiza scene. It was. resampled in England Two years later by the Freeloaders and became a hit peaking at no 9 Back in 1978 though the group's downturn in fortunes continued
They released their 2nd Album 4 from Eight with a big marketing campaign featuring their L8 Trilogy "Liverpool 8/ "Children of the ghetto "and "Stanhope street " The marketing campaign was excellent featuring huge posters with the Legend "To get close to the Real Thing get 4 from eight "splattered all over the country But now "Essex prophetic words rang true , the first single from the album 'Lightning Strikes "Failed completely, despite massive airplay this of course gave "4 from 8 little chance of making an impact, the message from their fans was plain , they were not willing to accept a huge change of direction from the group at this time The group turned once again to ken & Mickey who came up with a mid tempo pop soul track called 'Whenever You Want My Love' Once again the "chemistry " worked and the group leapt back into the 20 and their career was back on track

It was now time for the Third Album "Step in our World"
The title track step into my World was penned by the Amoo Brothers the brothers still regard this as one of their finest songs but they also Realised it was far from the sound they were known for and lessons had been learned
The album was produced by Ken gold and along with Lynton Naif,s amazing sting brass arrangements he produced a classic ,
The first single released was "Raining' Through My Sunshine" - and mysteriously though it had massive airplay an appearance of the group on top of the pops it failed to reach the top forty despite selling 80,000 copies in one week it should have been a massive hit, there were some funny things happening with the charts The group were nonplussed could it be that The" Amoo Brothers" songs were to sophisticated for the Real Thing fans !!

'Can you feel the force? The next release answered all questions and brought the group back with a "smash " penned by the Amoo brothers it literally flew into the top 5 . The Real Thing were now really pumping, and felt at last they were being taken seriously The Album step into our world was now repackaged and released as "The Force "
And by the end of the 70s they had become the U K ,s biggest Selling black band

REAL THING BIOG PART 6

The early 80s brought turbulent times to the Real Thing
The album "saints & sinners produced by Frenchman JP ILLIESCO ( who produced the huge Euro band Space ) failed to produce a hit , Boogie Down get funky now / Give me your love// and Saints and sinners all failing to make impact
The band were then signed by an American company whe paired them with American producers Intumi& Lucas but once again the project fell short
The single released "groovy freaks once again failing to chart

Then in 1985 things began to look up, Philip Bailey of Earth wind & fire did a cover version of The Amoo brothers "Children of the Ghetto" for his Chinese wall Album Produced by Phil Collins

Then in 1986 A D/J called"Froggy did a remix of U to Me which crashed straight into the Top 5, this was now followed by the Ken gold Remix of cant get by which also went top 5 , the band then scored again with the remix of can you feel the force , they now had a complete new audience from a new decade Also in that year came another great adaption of "Ghetto" this time by Jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine

The band were now signed to Zomba and the first single straight to the heart produced by Jon Astrop looked set to be a winner , radio reaction was great (page one ) radio 1 .
But things had moved on a bit hip hop and rap was now making its mark and Zomba,s strategy of trying to hold on to the real thing u to me audience instead of hitting the dance market failed

The Real thing now had a huge live gig market which has sustained them and allowed them to advance creatively and musically
In 2005 they came up with an amazing and original new version of the Beatles Eleanor Rigby for the Liverpool No ones Album
Also in that year they entered the charts again with the Freeloaders sample of their 1977 song "loves such a wonderful thing" this time released as " so much love to give"
The same song was also sampled by French band" Daft Punk"

In 2006 came yet another great adaption of "ghetto" this time by soul Diva Mary J Bligh
The Real thing continue to be in great demand, and their Theatre shows featuring "an evening with the Real Thing are very successful
The new recording programs such as logic and cue base mean the band can continue to explore new ideas and allow them to record all their new songs watch this space for the next Album

Last edited September 2010