The Magic Highway


Extracts from an article in Melody Maker, 1971.


By David Skan

JeffSIX months ago, I met an upcoming young composer named Jeff Christie.
  He was as happy as a sandboy because he'd just recorded a song he KNEW was going to be a hit.
  Since then Yellow River has sold almost three million discs around the world.
  And today Jeff and his hastily formed group Christie are set for another stint at the top with San Bernadino.
  But is he enjoying this runaway success?
  Listen to his opening words when we met recently:
  "The other night things got so bad that I went home and broke down, I just cried and cried and cried.
  "That sounds like I'm emotional, doesn't it? But I'm not."
  So what happened?
  "Since we last met I've been under pressure I never even realised existed. I've had no time to unwind.
  "I've been halfway round the world so quickly I hardly saw it.
  "I've been stuck in a plane over Rio when the undercarriage wouldn't come down, and I must have sung the same song a thousand times.
  "I tell you I'm exhausted."
  The pressure cooker they call pop music does strange things to people.
  It sucks them up, hurls them round and spits them put and then it leaves them to stand shakily on their own two feet.
  "In the old days I never even allowed myself to think of the possibility of defeat. If I had, I would never have driven myself so hard," Jeff said.
  But that is only one of the factors wich have contributed to the turmoil in his mind.
  Jeff admits he has become a lot more cynical by his success.
  "Unfortunately, you see people in a different way once you are successful. It is a very sad thing to have to admit, but that's the way it is.
  "I am the sort of person who gets hurt very easily and to avoid this you have to put up barriers around yourself.
  "Once you are successful so many more people seem to be out to get you. It is a very trying situation."
  Despite his success, he said he feels his life is still incomplete.
  "I suppose I need a woman. But my attitude to sex has changed. Now it's like having a drink of water when you're thirsty or scratching when you itch," he said.
  "I'm really amazed that I can say things like that. But I really mean them, I think. Not that I've lost my sensitivity, only some of it."
  Along with the rest of the group, Jeff is taking a long rest over Christmas.
  He'll spend it his parents' home in Leeds after playing Leeds Grammar School, where he was educated, on December 19.
  "Do you know that's a date I've been really looking forward to for ages ... much more than going abroad."