391. ‘You to Me Are Everything’, by The Real Thing

Kicking off the next thirty, and we’re back down the discotheque. Normal service has resumed.

You to Me Are Everything, by The Real Thing (their 1st and only #1)

3 weeks, from 20th June – 11th July 1976

This is a tune, and I mean that in the most literal sense. It is an ear-worm, that burrows its way into your head. But not in an irritating, ‘Birdie Song’ kind of way. It’s soulful, cool, funky… take your pick of mid-seventies adjectives. There are strings, and disco guitars. The glitter-ball is a-swirling. I would take the stars out of the sky for you… Stop the rain from falling if you asked me to…

If I were to write a book on the perfect pop song (despite being unable to read sheet music or play a single instrument…) I’d cite this record as an example in Chapter One. It’s as if it’s been custom designed in a lab. Stupid lovey-dovey lyrics- check. I can move a mountain when your hand is in my hand… One hell of a hook – check. Now you’ve got the best of me, Come on and take the rest of me… Key change – check. Backing vocals that come in at just the right moment – check.

I love the bridge: You give me just a taste of love, To build my hopes upon… (Except, it comes after what I think is the chorus, so… Can it still be called a bridge? I’m really proving here exactly why I shouldn’t author a book on the perfect pop song.) Whatever it is, it is a perfect pop moment.

And yet… Is it a little too perfect? Too polished? Probably, yes. Does it play it safe? Definitely. Are the lyrics trite? Oh yeah. Does the grammar in the title-line sound like something Yoda would say? You to me are everything… Yep. (Sorry, it’s the teacher in me.) But, as with all perfect pop, from The Monkees to ABBA, from Kylie to Gaga, we suspend our disbelief. We recognise its inherent silliness; but we dance regardless.

I can see why this was a huge hit. It was also on heavy rotation during Long Family Car Journeys as a kid. But, I can’t love it. Again speaking as a teacher: the perfect kids are never your favourites. So it is with songs…. Still, ‘You to Me Are Everything’ has lived on in cover versions by acts as diverse as Sonia, X-Factor contestant Andy Abraham (the bin-man), and Frankie Valli.

This was The Real Thing’s breakthrough hit, after several years of trying. They were a Liverpool band, and been around since 1970, but had never even charted before this one shot straight to the top. Formed in 1970, they had toured with David Essex, while one of their members – Eddie Amoo – had been on the scene since the Merseybeat days and had shared a stage with The Beatles. The follow-up to this made #2, but the hits dried up fairly quickly. Still, they weren’t averse to a remix, and ‘You to Me…’ made the Top 5 again in the mid-eighties. Their most recent Top 10 hit was in 2005, as a sample on single by House act Freeloaders.

9 thoughts on “391. ‘You to Me Are Everything’, by The Real Thing

  1. I love this record, and the band too. I liked them in the early days when DJ Alan “Fluff” Freeman played Vicious Circle, a track that didn’t break through and wasn;t at all catchy disco, more a funk workout (I bought it though). So I was very happy when they started their run of hits (best one Can You Feel The Force), and it was great when they got a remixed 80’s second-wind – not least because they appeared on the Radio One Roadshow in Bournemouth. And so did I!! I volunteered for Mike Read’s Pop Quiz on national radio (I swore I would never do that again after the event!) but I got to go backstage with The Real Thing and Mike Read, took some photos.

    Then I last saw them, now a trio, a few years back, not long before Eddie Amoo died, rockin’ it in a club in Bournemouth, along with other folk of a certain age. They were great, the audience less so. I’ve been to hundreds of gigs and that was the only one where a fight broke out on the dancefloor. 2 elderly men who should know better! Gosh, what can you do with the older generation!?

    • Haha, a couple of great stories. Is that the closest you’ve come to a chart-topping artist(s)? (Mine is Bradley from S Club 7… he was a nice guy) And I thought you might have been on Radio 2’s Popmaster quiz at least once…

      • oh I’m the anecdote king of pop music 🙂 I never saw S Club 7, but oddly I’ve been pretty close to loads of pop stars. Makes me sound like a stalker! Paul Young once walked right by me on his way to see Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium. I was listening outside cos I couldn’t get tickets. Neil Tennant squeezed past me in a crowded club in London. I’m sure there are others 🙂 I’ve avoided Popmaster as the lesson I learned in 1986 was my mind goes blank under pressure, hah! I recovered but it’s quite stressful 🙂

  2. I would have never guessed Liverpool.
    It’s hard to describe the perfect pop song. I’ve told people I thought “There She Goes” by the La’s was one also.
    Great song and write up.

    • Thanks! ‘There She Goes’ is a lovely song, I agree. It’s impossible, really, to name the perfect pop song. Especially because what is ‘pop’? Though the next but one #1 is probably a contender for perfection, from a certain Swedish four-piece…

      • Yep…Dancing Queen would probably be in the running!
        Did you see that post I made months ago? Some science center in Germany named…get this… Ob la di, Ob la da….the perfect pop song… even though I’m a huge Beatles fan…that is just wrong.

  3. Pingback: Recap: #391 – #420 – The UK Number Ones Blog

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