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The Magic Highway

 

In December 1970, Christie were voted by UK listeners as the best singles band of the year. Here's an extract of how the leading music journal of the time, The Record Mirror, reported the event.


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Number 1"DON'T write us off as a group who have nothing to say musically, just because we've had success with pop records."
   So speak Christie, a group not even in existence nine months ago, but now emerging as the top British singles group for 1970 on the strength of Yellow River and San Bernadino.
   The trio has been well-managed by Brian Longley and have travelled the world since Jeff Christie's own — and often turned-down song — Yellow River zoomed up to number one.
   Christie say that while they make commercial hit records, they make more progressive music on stage.
   Will Christie make that chart hat-trick?
   If the first hit record is hard to find, then the follow-up is usually that much harder.
   Christie made it when San Bernadino trundled up the charts after Yellow River .. and now the three lads are worrying themselves grey over the third part of the hat-trick.
   It was Brian's faith that launched the debut disc.
   Jeff had toted his tapes, River included, round umpteen undiscerning publishers and recording executives. Eventually they got to Brian, then involved with Marmalade and the Tremeloes. Marmalade didn't rate Yellow River. The Trems did, but instead brought out Call Me No 1.
   Jeff returned to Leeds, where he watched football and made the occasional club appearance.
Jeff Christie   Then Brian called him down to London. Jeff arrived at 4am, talked until dawn, and it was agreed that he would record the song himself, along with a couple of other musicians.
   That was eight months ago. Now Christie are number one singles group in Britain. They've travelled the world, from South America to Sweden. Television in Italy brought an immediate offer of a 17-day tour there. 
   Yet, says Brian, there have been problems with people who dismiss the group as lightweight.
   "People write about the group as just a pop band who have nothing to say musically," he said.
   "They just haven't seen the group on stage — that's all I can say."
   And Jeff himself said: "I just don't want our records to carry our act. We've improved out of all recognition - and believe me, our act stands up on its own."

*Other groups placed in the UK Top 10 included Mungo Jerry, Herman's Hermits, Free, The Kinks, and The Tremeloes.