Feel the Force as soul legends put on the Ritz

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It was the long, hot summer of 1976, flares, platform soles and afros were all the rage - and British soul band The Real Thing broke new ground when they reached the top of the charts with You To Me Are Everything.

The Liverpool band suddenly found themselves on the cover of teen magazines as they became the first black British outfit to reach a mainstream audience. A 10-year run of hits that began in 1976 saw the band sell three million singles and in 1986 they became the third biggest selling band in the UK with remixed versions of two of their best-known numbers.

But it had been a 13-year climb to success for band founder Eddy Amoo whose first band was called The Chants before he teamed up with younger brother Chris in the mid-70s in The Real Thing.

With their soulful, laidback, R n’ B influenced sounds, The Real Thing were catapulted to success on the TV programme Opportunity Knocks and were soon in the charts with a string of hits including Can’t Get By Without You, You To Me Are Everything, Can You Feel the Force? and You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing.

In addition their hard-hitting song Children of the Ghetto has been covered by soul diva Mary J Blige, Earth, Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey and jazz musician Courtney Pine. Their 1977 hit Love’s Such a Wonderful Thing was sampled by French dance outfit Daft Punk.

Now Eddy, Chris and original member Dave Smith are back and on tour with all the hits. But for Eddy it will be a trip down memory lane as he last played at the Ritz with The Chants in the early 1970s.

“I’m sure we were the support act for Long John Baldry,” said Eddy. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw that the Ritz was included on this year’s tour schedule. It really took me back! I’m looking forward to having a look around Brighouse again.”

Eddy loves touring and is delighted by the response The Real Thing gets to its classic hits.

“We get people of all ages up and dancing and enjoying a good boogie. There’s no feeling like it. The reaction of the audience definitely helps us lift our performance ”

On Saturday July 13 they stop off at the Ritz Ballroom, Brighouse. The doors open at 7.45pm. Tel: 01484 720058.