The choirboy who took the world by lightning
It was my lucky night when I was able to meet the chart-topping Golden Oldie Lou Christie of stratospheric falsetto fame.
Former Toronto Police Association member Don Court introduced me to Christie at a Zentel concert taking place at the Hershey Center, Mississauga, Ontario, where the Golden Oldie legends often appear.
The cheering from the crowd was deafening when Christie started his number one multi-millions, success signature song, "Lightning Strikes".
Everybody in the audience was transported back to a simpler, gentler time, and here was the real thing in the flesh doing the transporting!
"It's always like this," Christie told me. "People are so happy to see me they cry, and sometimes I do, too. Entertainers like me are the luckiest on earth. There's nothing more loyal and enthusiastic than the Golden Oldie fans."
Like many of the recording artists from the '50s and '60s, Christie maintains his striking good looks. His falsetto during the celebrated "Lightning Strikes" is the same as it always was.
With humility to spare, the unassuming Lou Christie, is a genuinely nice guy.
People in his hometown of Glenwillard, Pennsylvania feel the same way about him now as they did when he went from local choirboy, Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco, to the Golden Oldies giant who went on to capture the hearts of the world.
There was always a bit of the romantic poet in the choirboy who dreamed of a career as a songwriter on the family front porch.
"The Gypsy Cried", his first major hit just had to have been influenced by a sweet-faced Italian aunt or granny.
Once he got started, the lovable Lou never looked back. Over the decade of the 1960s, one success was followed by another. By the time "Two Faces Have I" was being heard on the radio, the lights came on behind the name Lou Christie and shine to this very day.
Christie's "Rhapsody In the Rain" was the first song ever banned on the radio due to what critics of the day called, "suggestive lyrics". All the critics ever did was to drive teenagers to the local record store.
Not just a singer, Christie was one of the '60s first singer-songwriters.
His endearing altar boy personality and dedication to music brought him fans and supporters from all age groups. With no formal musical training, Christie hooked up with who his website describes as his "eccentric collaborator", Twyla Herbert.
Nearly 30 years Lou's senior, Twyla was a classically trained musician. It was a perfect match in music heaven on earth.
"Highlights from Lou's performing career include appearances on "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars", sharing 72 consecutive one-nighters with Diana Ross and the Supremes, and a command performance for Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family." (www.lou-christie.com). "Lou has shared the stage with many of the greats of Rock 'n' Roll, including The Rolling Stones, The Who, Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard."
And there wasn't one of them who weren't taken in by Lou's super talent and personal charm.
It's not only cheering audiences who follow Lou the world over, he has an acknowledged influence upon many music legends. Elton John, John Lennon and Madonna top the list.
Elton John played piano for Lou during Lou's 'London Period' in the early 1970s, and recorded Lou's song, "She Sold Me Magic".
John Lennon repeatedly pointed out in his interviews that "Lou Christie was one of my influences". And Madonna thanked Lou in the liner notes of her ten million-selling Immaculate Collection LP.
Lou Christie is special to the legions of fans who follow the Golden Oldies tour because over the past decade, it was Lou who led the resurgence of Rock 'n' Roll heroes performing throughout the world.
Many films honour Lou by featuring his songs. Lou's movie songs include Barry Levinson's "Rainman", Whit Stillman's "Barcelona" and "The Last Days of Disco", Tony Bill's "A Home of our Own", Richard Linklatter's "Before Sunrise", John Hughes' "Dutch", Michael de Avila's "Burnzy's Last Call" and Oliver Stone's TV mini series, "Wild Palms".
Throughout all the accolades, he's as comfortable talking with a farmer at one of his concerts as he is sharing the limelight with legends of the stage.
Lou is also a major contributor to the Rhino Records release, "Grease Is The Word", a newly recorded version of the soundtrack from the motion picture "Grease".
Among all the heroes of Rock 'n' Roll, the Pennsylvania choirboy who hit the world with lightning is one of the most beloved.