Tony Christie Vows To Continue Singing Despite Dementia Diagnosis

In his first detailed interview since revealing his plight two weeks ago, he said his concert and recording schedule will continue as usual.

The 79-year-old, famous for early 1970s hits Las Vegas, I Did What I Did For Maria and Is This The Way to Amarillo, is about to head to Nashville to record new music and tour across the UK in the spring. .

He said: “I was a bit depressed but I thought, ‘I can still work, it’s not affecting my singing, my voice, my show.’ As long as I can get on that stage and do what I was born to do.

“I’m used to working, it’s discouraging when I don’t work. And I love music, it’s good for what I have, it’s medication. Whatever it is, we’ll take care of it.”

But it is clearly difficult for this energetic man to consider the long term. There may be a time when he can no longer act or remember his loving wife of 55 years, Sue, 74, or his three children and seven grandchildren.

He said: “That’s the only concern, but I trust Sue. That’s one of the things that keeps me going and keeps me from worrying.”

Plus, if you forget all your lyrics, there’s a song you’ll always get help with. “I don’t have to sing Yellow, the crowd sings it anyway!” The river.

Yorkshire boy Tony, who now lives in Lichfield, Staffordshire, explains that the first sign of his dementia was realizing that his usually sharp memory had faded. Who recorded that? – I knew everything.

“Suddenly I was thinking ‘I used to know this, I used to know that.’ Sue she had to remind me of the name of someone she had known for 60 years. And my hobby was doing cryptic crossword puzzles, I did them for 50 years. Now I can’t answer them all.”

Two years ago, he and Sue decided to go to the doctor, and within a few weeks, tests revealed a small buildup of “plaque” in Tony’s brain.

But the singer believes that higher powers are supporting him. He says: “I always ask the angels to help me, it helps me.

“Every time I go on stage I spend ten minutes just talking to the angels, ‘thank you for everything, please help me through this show.’ And works. All I ask is that they let me do what I’m here to do, that they let me go on stage.”

The first drugs doctors prescribed to slow the development of dementia made Tony fatigued.

But the second drug has worked brilliantly, improving Tony’s condition. The couple is hopeful of new medications. Tony’s only concession to the disease is playing the lyrics on an autocue, but he says he doesn’t need them regularly.

He urges anyone with symptoms to get checked. He said: “I’m glad it all came out. If you help other people with the same problem and get them looking for tablets that help, that’s what we hope will happen.”

Fortunately, his long-term memory is still clear and he can remember his long career. After his three biggest hits and a spot on his friend Des O’Connor’s TV show, Las Vegas came to his destination. Tom Jones’s manager had turned him down, much to Tom’s horror when Tony told him.

But the fame did not linger in the UK, though it persisted in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

However, Tony never had a big ego. The memories of him touch great stars who did not know him. John Lennon once rudely asked her to move his car from outside a Los Angeles studio.

And The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, borrowed £20 at a Park Lane club, never to be seen again. Tony recalled: “He says ‘they won’t let me have an account.’ He didn’t know who I was.” But the public does. The singer reached a new audience when Peter Kay coddled Amarillo for Comic Relief in 2005, taking it to number one, where it stayed for seven weeks.

The queen confided to him that members of royalty often play it at family parties.

She added: “I was walking through town the other day and all these kids from school were walking up behind me singing it,” she laughs. I joined.

When she turns 80 in April, she plans to do a concert on her birthday. The show must and will go on.

  • Dementia UK is a specialist nursing charity and offers support to anyone affected by dementia, offering a free helpline and Admiral Nurses specialist clinics. Tony supports his ‘I live with dementia’ campaign. Visit dementiauk.org.

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