Toxteth-born singer 'a legend in British music'

Eddy Amoo, singer and performer from Liverpool 8 chart toppers The Real Thing has died.

His band, regarded as Britain’s most successful black group of all time, announced the news this afternoon.

The 74-year-old, along with fellow band members brother Chris and friend Dave Smith, had been responsible for a string of hits in the 1970s. They included You To Me Are Everything,  Feel the Force,  Can't Get By Without You and Children of the Ghetto

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our brother and inspiration, Eddy Amoo, who passed away on 23rd February, age 74. Eddy was a showman, a songwriter, and a legend in British music…” read a statement.

“Eddy leaves behind a large and loving family, a community he adored in Toxteth, Liverpool, and his beloved music and band, The Real Thing. 

“Eddy will long be remembered as a tour de force in British music and he will be sorely missed.'

Born to Ghanaian parents, Edmund Amoo’s musical career began in the early 1960s with Toxteth vocal group The Chants, Britain’s first black acapella quintet who were championed by the Beatles.

A chance meeting between Chants member Joe Ankrah and Paul McCartney, at a Little Richard concert at New Brighton’s Tower Ballroom, led to the ensemble being invited to audition for The Beatles at the Cavern Club. 

Bill Harrry later recalled in Merseybeat: “In fact, when they turned up at the Cavern for an audition but didn’t have a backing group, the Beatles offered to provide backing for them, but Brian Epstein objected. John Lennon overruled him and the Chants made their Cavern debut on Wednesday 21 November 1962, with the Beatles providing their backing.”

For a time, Epstein represented them and they were signed Pye Records by Tony Hatch. But despite touring for 13 years they were unable to achieve the same level of success as their ‘Merseybeat’ peers.

The Real Thing at the height of their fame in 1977
The trio in 2015
The trio in 2015

Fast forward to the late 1970s and in a changed world The Real Thing found themselves being dubbed “The Black Beatles”, by the national press: four working class boys from Liverpool who wrote and performed their own songs. They first came to public prominence after winning TV’s Opportunity Knocks, the first black group ever to appear on a TV Talent Show.

Touring as a three-piece for many years and with a large fanbase across the UK, Europe and Australia, the band recently recorded a highly acclaimed, show, Live at the Liverpool Philharmonic.

Despite his success, Amoo never strayed far from his Liverpool 8 roots, investing his earnings from music in renovating properties around the area.

A feature-length documentary about the group will be released later this year.