Andy Howells pays tribute to Eddy Amoo of The Real Thing who has died at the age of 73 by recalling an interview with the soul star from 2014.
The Real Thing were the most successful black rock and soul act in the 1970s with several hit singles including You To Me Are Everything, Can You Feel The Force? and Can’t Get By Without You.
After a revival in popularity and chart success in the late 1980s, the band continued to be a popular draw on the live circuit.
In June 2014, I had the pleasure of chatting with Eddy Amoo prior to The Real Thing’s appearance at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. I began by asking Eddy if the band still enjoyed touring.
“We work eternally,” Eddy told me, “We’re a touring band but every so often we look at places where we haven’t worked. We’ve played Cardiff once in the last ten years. We did a gig in Cardiff last year and had such a great time, we thought why we don’t have a go at St. David’s?”
Eddy was originally a member of a Capella group, The Chants who had played alongside The Beatles in The Cavern club during the early 60s.
Eddy Recalled, “With The Chants we used the American Doo Wop model and we met up with Paul McCartney around Liverpool in a venue called the Tower Ballroom. “
“The Beatles had just taken off and Paul was fascinated by the fact that we were a Capella group and so invited us down to The Cavern when they were playing there which we did, and it was so successful they invited us to work with them the same night.”
In later years, Eddy’s Beatles connection went full circle, as The Real Thing recorded a cover of Lennon & McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby which featured on the album ‘Liverpool, The Number Ones’.
Despite The Chants popularity, they didn’t get signed and it was another 13 years before Eddy would find mainstream success when he joined his brother’s band, The Real Thing.
“I’d developed into a writer, a musician and the next, most natural phase was to join my brother, Chris,” recalled Eddy.
“The Real Thing were the first black group to be taken seriously as songwriters and as musicians.”
“We were doing stuff like Children of The Ghetto, which was covered by Earth Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey and we got a lot of media attention.”
Teaming up with producer Ken Gold and songwriter Michael Denne, The Real Thing scored a number one hit in 1976.
“You to Me Are Everything came quite out of the blue. That was the door opener for us to have a hit record that got us an audience,” said Eddy.
The Real Thing were regulars in the UK charts over the next five years, and even after their hits stopped in 1981 they would go on to successfully made a chart comeback in 1986.
“That was lucky, mainly because we had such a strong live following which is what we begun with, so when we stopped having hits we didn’t fade away.. In ‘86 we got the breaks again and we’ve been rocking on ever since.”
Eddy Summarised The Real Thing’s continued success at live concerts.
“You make sure the tracks reach out to everybody and not just the people who were there at the time that’s basically the secret to our longevity “