Music for Dementia: Tony Christie records Thank You Day Anthem
Tony Christie, who has partnered up with Music for Dementia, has discussed collaborating with Sting and other musicians in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.
The 80-year-old star, who revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with dementia, is calling on the nation to support carers on Thank You Day, which will see hundreds of thousands of people sing in honour of the unsung heroes this Sunday.
The Is This The Way To Amarillo singer spoke about lending his voice to a special recording of Andrew Gold’s Thank You for Being a Friend, which features a group of specially selected carers as well as some huge stars – including Sting as well as music legend Nile Rogers.
Asked about working with the stars in the recording studio, Tony admitted it was “so strange” to see them all together.
He recalled: “Sting – of course, it was a great pleasure for me to be singing with him. It was absolute magic.”
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Asked if he had an enjoyable time laying down the track with the Police star, Tony confirmed: “It was!”
He then went on to explain how the famous rock star has surprised him when they went to start recording.
“Actually – I can’t believe it – he said, ‘Oh I don’t know the song,’” Tony said dumbfoundedly.
“I said, ‘You’re joking! It’s a famous song.”
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“But then he sang it so well I thought, ‘Oh well!’” Tony confirmed happily, adding that the star “didn’t make any mistakes” despite being unfamiliar with the tune.
Also joining Tony in the studio was Chic legend Nile, Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling, musician Wix and many more stars – as well as Tony’s wife, children and grandchildren.
Like many who worked on the song, Sting has a personal connection to the message, as he saw the tragic effects of Alzheimer’s when he lost his mother-in-law to the disease.
Tony bravely opened up about his dementia battle earlier this year and told Express.co.uk about how it had been Sue who had first spotted something was wrong.
“She took me to the doctor and they did all the tests on me,” he recalled. “They’ve put me on tablets that have slowed it down,” he added, before issuing a powerful statement about the illness.
“I want to say I’m not ashamed of it,” he said. “Because that’s the thing, people have been ashamed of it in the past. I spoke about it, as well, so that people will go out and get tested for it.”
A mass sing-along courtesy of Music for Dementia will take place this Sunday at 12.55pm on the Michael Ball Show on BBC Radio 2, before ending with a pop-up performance by Tony, Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure and Our Dementia Choir in a secret London location.
Tony’s star-studded recording of Thank You for Being a Friend, which features the likes of Sting and Nile Rogers, is out now and available to listen to and download here.
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