Begun in 1970 by Chris Amoo, Dave Smith, Kenny Davis and Ray Lake, The Real Thing's live, progressive soul-influenced covers of American hits attracted enough attention for them to secure a recording deal with EMI. The singles they released through EMI in 1972 and 1973 such as "Vicious Circle" were, despite their high quality, not successful sellers (and have not so far been included on any of band's compilation albums). But the band persisted, even after the departure of Kenny Davis. They did appear on Opportuniy Knocks (the TV talent show). The turn-around for their career began with their collaboration with David Essex and Pye Records. They toured internationally with Essex, recording with him a number of popular songs, though none were big charters. After Chris Amoo's brother Eddie joined the band, The Real Thing finally found chart success with the catchy pop soul single "You to Me Are Everything", which reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 28 on Billboard's "R&B Singles" and No. 64 on Billboard's "Hot 100". Their follow-up, "Can't Get By Without You", did not chart in the US but was still a success in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 2.
In 1976, they released their first album, Real Thing, which included both of their hit singles as well as a third UK hit, "You'll Never Know What You're Missing", which peaked at No. 16. They continued recording prolifically, releasing a steady stream of subsequent albums: 1977's Four from Eight (originally to have been called Liverpool 8 in honour of the racially mixed, economically depressed neighbourhood in which they grew up, before Pye rejected the title), 1978's Step Into our World, (reissued in 1979 as Can You Feel the Force) and 1982's compilation 100 Minutes. During the time period, they accumulated eight more British hits. "Love's Such a Wonderful Thing" peaked at #33 in 1977. 1978 saw "Whenever You Want My Love" at #18, "Let's Go Disco" at #39 and "Rainin' Through My Sunshine" at #40. "Can You Feel the Force?" climbed to #5 in 1979, the same year that "Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)" hit #33. 1980's "She's a Groovy Freak" capped a successful run, at #52, coming just a few months too late to be included in the band's first compilation, a K-tel collection of their Greatest Hits released in May 1980. In 1982 they returned to working with David Essex, performing as backing vocalists on his tour and they also performed backing vocalists on Essex's 1982 top 20 hit 'Me And my Girl (Nightclubbing)' appearing with him on Top of the Pops. They scored a dance floor hit with a single specially written for them by Lynsey De Paul and Terry Britten, called "We Got Love" in 1984.
In 1986, the band enjoyed a chart resurgence with the remixing of several of their hits. "You to Me Are Everything (the Decade Remix)" charted twice in the UK, peaking at No. 5 during a 12-week run in spring and returning in June for additional week at No. 72. "Can't Get B