Amarillo singer Tony Christie talks about living with dementia

  • Published
Tony ChristieImage source, BBC Breakfast
Image caption,
Tony Christie said he had chosen to speak about his diagnosis to reassure others

Singer Tony Christie has spoken of his positive approach to life following his dementia diagnosis.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Christie, whose real name is Anthony Fitzgerald, said he was determined to carry on making music and touring.

"If you start worrying about it, you're finished. Ignore it, carry on and do what you do," he said.

The 79-year-old, born in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, is best known for his 1971 hit (Is This The Way To) Amarillo.

Christie, whose other hits include I Did What I Did For Maria and Avenues And Alleyways, said he realised something was wrong when he found it difficult to complete a crossword.

"I've always been, for 50 years, a fanatic at doing crosswords and things, and suddenly I started finding it very hard," he said.

After his wife suggested he get checked out, Christie said he was told "you've got the oncoming of dementia".

"I ignored it. I just said carry on - and I just did carry on, and worked," he said.

"The main thing was, and why I've come out about it, is a lot of people I've met and who have got it, they're worried about it.

"And I'm not worried about it. I went to specialists and they gave me tablets and they've gradually worked."

Image caption,
The singer is best known for his 1971 hit (Is This The Way To) Amarillo

According to the NHS. dementia is most commonly associated with memory loss, but can also affect the way people speak, think, feel and behave.

Christie, who was diagnosed with dementia about two years ago, said he was hopeful a cure was not too far away.

"I've got a feeling that, within a few years, there will be tablets that will cure it. So I just carry on working."

In November, the entertainer released his latest album, Essential Tony Christie, and is also set to perform a special show in celebration of his 80th birthday.

"I'm starting a big, big tour this year. It's going to be very busy but I'm looking forward to it.

"And music, actually, I found out is part of a cure for dementia, so every time I go on stage and work it's helping me," he said.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

On performing with dementia, Christie said he now had his song lyrics displayed on a monitor.

"Most of the time it's there like insurance, but I manage to get through my shows, it's great," he said.

"But, don't forget, I've been singing for 60 years or whatever, and I've got an album out. It's 70 songs... going back to 1967 - a lot of songs."

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to [email protected].

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Related Topics