Is This The Way to Amarillo? – Tony Christie – 1971

Is This the Way to Amarillo - tony-christie - 1971Tony Christie’s song Is This The Way to Amarillo was a UK hit single, not once, but twice; first in 1971 before becoming the top selling UK single of 2005.

come dine with tony

Okay, so I didn’t hear this on the radio—but it was on the tele! The girls were watching a UK cooking show called “Celebrity Come Dine With Me.” The first three celeb’s were introduced and, I gotta admit, to call them celebrities was stretching it a little. One had been a member of the cast of a children’s television programme back in the 1970s; another was a drum and bass DJ well-known in his home town of around 300 people, but little known elsewhere; the third was the wife of a well-known footballer, but contractual reasons meant that they couldn’t actually divulge his name; and the final member of the quartet of would-be chefs was, 70s music star, Tony Christie.

And, for the record, the episode was won by the lady from the children’s programme, but Tony came a close second.

a two hit wonder

Tony has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and, in 1971, had two top 20 UK singles. The first, I Did What I Did For Maria, peaked at #2, while the second, Is This the Way to Amarillo reached only # 18, but somehow managed to sell more copies.

What’s more, the song was rereleased in 2005 to raise money for the Comic Relief charity. In the accompanying video, comedian Peter Kay lip-synced the song accompanied by various celebrities including Brian May, Roger Taylor, Shakin’ Stevens, and a number of UK singers and actors.

The song reached #1 on the UK chart and remained there for seven weeks selling over a million copies and becoming the UK’s bestselling single of 2005.

is this the way to amarillo? fax

  • Is This the Way to Amarillo? was recorded by Tony Christie and released in November 1971.
  • Is This the Way to Amarillo? was written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield and refers to Amarillo, Texas. The reason the town Amarillo was used in the song is because it was the only place name that Neil could find of that rhymed with “willow” and “pillow”.
  • The original title of Is This the Way to Amarillo? was Is This the Way to Pensacola?
  • Is This the Way to Amarillo? peaked at #18 on the UK Singles Chart, but hit #1 in Germany and Spain where Tony is a huge star. The chorus is widely adapted as a chant by football and hockey fans even today.
  • Is This the Way to Amarillo? was rereleased in 2005 and reached #1. In 2006 it was played at the Football World Cup Final in Berlin and by The Central Band of the Royal British Legion on Centre Court at Wimbledon before the start of the Men’s Singles final.
  • In 1977, Neil Sedaka released a version of the song in the US. The title was shortened to Amarillo and it peaked at #44.
  • Is This The Way to Amarillo? lyrics.

is this the way to amarillo? – tony christie – 1971 – video

is this the way to amarillo? – tony christie featuring Peter Kay – 2005 – video

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5 Responses to Is This The Way to Amarillo? – Tony Christie – 1971

  1. MIKI says:

    All great sing-along-on-your-own-in-the-car stuff I reckon!

  2. MIKI says:

    Do you mean ”take a letter Maria . . . “? I heard he died this year. don’t know the other one

    • Greg.K. says:

      You’re right! I was getting mixed up. It came to me in the middle of the night. Gotta See Jane was by R. Dean Taylor. He also had a hit with Indiana Wants Me. I remember them because my “little” brother bought the singles.

  3. MIKI says:

    Ah ok, I do remember that second one and they are similar! Usually when the light goes on in the middle of the night (figuratively speaking) it is something of great import – it’s nice to think you have nothing more worrisome than who sang which song . . . hope you are not OCDing about your blog, although I do realise you take it seriously, and rightly so! You are a veritable mine of info, thanks!

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