British balladeer Tony Christie proved the continued commercial viability of traditional pop in a post-psychedelic world, scoring a series of easy listening hits that spanned the 1970s. Born Anthony Fitzgerald in South Yorkshire, England, on April 25, 1943, at 18 he joined the popular local group the Counterbeats, later fronting his own combo, Tony Christie & the Trackers. After mounting a solo career, he cut his debut single, "Life's Too Good to Waste," in 1966, followed a year later by "Turn Around." Upon signing to MCA in 1969, Christie teamed with the songwriting and production tandem of Mitch Murray and Peter Callender. Although their first collaboration, "God Is on My Side," went nowhere, the 1971 LP Las Vegas proved the singer's breakthrough, generating the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield-penned smash "Is This the Way to Amarillo?" (a number one hit in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain), "I Did What I Did for Maria," and "Don't Go Down to Reno." Christie remained a constant of the European charts for much of the decade via subsequent hits including "Avenues and Alleyways" (the theme to the television series The Protectors) and "The Queen of Mardi Gras," selling more than ten million records during the Me Decade. He also hosted his own BBC variety series, and in 1976 played the role of Magaldi during recording sessions for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita.