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22. Everything - The Real Thing Story; movie review

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Title : 22. Everything - The Real Thing Story; movie review
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Cert 15
94 mins
BBFC advice: Contains images of drug preparation

The long hot summer of 1976. My next-door neighbour and I were 13, discovered girls and our soundtrack was Elton John & Kiki Dee, Candi Staton and... The Real Thing.
The latter's song, You To Me Are Everything, was being played on Radio One all the time - indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if it had been on Noel Edmonds' playlist at the roadshow we saw in Weston-Super-Mare.
I digress.
At that in my life, I had only met three black people - two lads and a girl who were in our year at junior school.
There were Asian-heritage students at my senior school but none from the African-Caribbean community.
Therefore, our experience of England was radically different from that of the band members of the Real Thing who grew up in the tough streets of Toxteth in Liverpool.
Simon Sheridan's inspiration Everything - The Real Thing Story shows how they fought against racism and social turmoil to become the first black band to hit number one in the UK charts when the charts really meant something.
Chris Adoo, his brother Eddy (who sadly died last year), and Dave Smith tell of how the band was formed in a city which had become known for The Beatles and the many white acts which had been sparked by their success.
They tell how, thanks to a great manager, a superb song and David Essex, they made it big.
And they describe honestly their fall, rise again and the tragedy which saw the early death of one of the quartet, Ray Lake.
The documentary is narrated by Jacob Anderson and includes interviews with Billy Ocean, David Essex, Trevor Nelson, Kim Wilde, Paul Barber and Louis Emerick.
It includes some fabulous contemporary footage and, inevitably, some of the best of British soul.
But, while it is a tad self-promotional, this isn't a soft-soap movie. The band members and Lake's ex-wife open up about the bad times as well as the good and are honest about mistakes made.
Most importantly, it shed light on to a band I thought I knew but I clearly didn't.
I respect them much more now that I have seen it.

Reasons to watch: Fighting racism and great music
Reasons to avoid: A tad self-promotional

Laughs: One
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Did you know? You To Me Are Everything has been covered by Frankie ValliSoniaTiny TimPublic EnemySean Maguire and Andy Abraham. A Finnish version entitled "Ei enempää voi pyytää" ("He can ask no more") was recorded in 1978 by Petri Pettersson. In 1997, songwriter Marina Rei successfully recorded an Italian-language version, "Primavera" ("Spring").

The final word. Chris Amoo: "He (Eddy) was my right arm. And we never ever pictured ourselves without each other. It was a hard decision to carry on. We felt there was no way we were going to try and replace him. For me and Dave he was irreplaceable." Write Wyatt UK

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