The Magic Highway


The January 1971 issue of Fabulous 208 made up a Christie calendar, charting six months of the group's past and looking at six months into the future.

Year of Christie

July 1970
Christie's Yellow River makes the number one spot. Originally written by Jeff Christie for the Tremeloes, he was persuaded to form a group and record the song himself.

Christie spent three days in Poland as guest artists at a big international festival televised for 250 million viewers behind the Iron Curtain.
   "We were staying in a big hotel and there were crowds of people around all the time who were just waiting to see us," Jeff said. "The trip was one of the highlights of our summer."

Drummer Mike Blakley left the line-up to pursue his own things and he was replaced by Paul Fenton, so the current line-up is originals Jeff and Vic Elmes and newcomer Paul, who has already influenced the group sound quite a bit. He and Jeff are big friends and share a Kensington pad.
   Christie also collected a British gold disc for Yellow River and completed a record-breaking Scandinavian tour.

The month started with the release of Christie's first album, Christie.

Christie were in South America wowing the natives. The schedule included Rio, Sau Paulo, and Buenos Aires.
   "We played at Santos football stadium, which is where Pele plays his football, and did a great big festival at Luna Park in Buenos Aires," Jeff said. "The people were so warm and so nice. Everywhere we went we were followed and if you stopped to look in a shop, a crowd gathered and they kept taking snaps of us. And when we were working we had a military escort everywhere, soldiers with guns to guard us!"

Christie's second release San Bernadino is well up in the charts.
   The band also took a well-earned Christmas rest after an Italian tour and recording the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops to cover the year's big hits — including of course Yellow River. Jeff also insisted they play a sentimental date, a gig at Leeds Grammar School, where he was once a pupil.

January 1971
Christie see in the New Year with a gig at Stockholm. Apart from a two-week tour of Germany, the rest of the month is spent in the studio recording for a single and LP.
   "This single will be the most difficult one to choose so far," says Jeff. "After I wrote Yellow River, it was easy to write a follow-up. San Bernadino is a very similar sound but it's not very representative of the sound we are making on stage now. I want to write something that's heavier but still instantly recognisable as a Christie sound."

The single should be released.
   "We've been very well-treated by the fans," says Jeff, "and we're grateful to them because after all they're the ones who put us in the charts. I really hope they like the new single and the sound Christie are making now."

Jeff hopes it's back to South America month.
   "I love that place so much. The girls are so beautiful for one thing, it's worth going back just for them! Everything is chaotic. They don't seem to be able to cope with technical things like electricity and we spent half our last trip getting shocks off the mikes and the equipment. They're the worst drivers in the world with their hands on the horn all the time and it's generally crazy! But I can't wait to get back."

A trip the to USA is being negotiated. Yellow River has been in the US charts for five months already, the longest any record has been there for a year.

"We hope to go to New Zealand and Australia," Jeff said. "I'm really looking forward to that, because apart from seing the down-under scene, I've got quite a few relatives there who I'd love to look up."

That completes the Christie calendar. A quick trip to Japan is also scheduled.
   "That's the one thing that's so marvellous about the pop business," Jeff said. "If you have an ordinary job and you save hard, maybe you can go to Spain or France or Sweden, but trips to South America and the States and Japan — they're something really special, something to look forward to and be very grateful for that you're so lucky.