Albert Hammond gears up for select tour of UK

As a performer, the name '¨Albert Hammond doesn't immediately spring to mind, after all he has had only one hit single in the UK - Free Electric Band way back in 1973.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 1:02 pm
Albert Hammond performs at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, on September 18. 2016.

His tours tend to concentrate on Europe where he is a major draw.

But, when you think of him as a songwriter, then that’s another kettle of fish.

As a composer, either solo or in collaboration with others – most notably Mike Hazlewood, Albert has had quite a lot of success.

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Some very well-known songs have come from his pen including Little Arrows (Leapy Lee), Freedom Come, Freedom Go (The Fortunes), One Moment In Time (Whitney Houston), Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (Starship), When I Need You (Leo Sayer) and The Air That I Breathe (The Hollies).

And Albert, along with his band which includes Pilot’s David Paton, will be bringing his song collection to the UK for a short tour in September.

On his Songbook tour, Albert jogs our memories as to what a great talent he is.

“With writing, nobody ever knows you did it and a lot of the songs I didn’t sing; so when the audience hear the songs they are flabbergasted,” he said.

“When you’re performing the songs live you get your applause on the spot, so it gives an immediate thrill. So I like both writing and performing for different reasons.”

The show not only has Albert playing his catalogue, he tells us about the stories behind the songs.

“One of the reasons I do the ‘Songbook’ show is that I can mention the other writers I have worked with.

“The show is about five decades of the soundtrack of people’s lives –including mine.”

“There are stories of artists like Johnny Cash, Julio Iglesias (for whom Albert wrote To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before), people I’ve produced like Joe Cocker and Diana Ross; and my writing partners like Mike Hazlewood and Carole Bayer Sager (When I Need You).

The Ivor Novello Award-winner has no favourites among his compositions.

“I’m proud that millions of people love my songs and people leave messages after my shows about what they felt when they heard my music. I’ve never had a negative comment, which is really nice.”

“As regards favourites, well, no, not really. You love everything you write, songs are like your children, you have no favourites although some end up more iconic than others.”

But what about other people’s versions?

“I love Tina Turner’s I Don’t Wanna Lose Youand The Hollies’ The Air That I Breathe, ” he said.

Even in his seventies, Albert is still writing. He said: “I’m writing a musical about the Matterhorn and will be recording an album with a symphony orchestra at Abbey Road with my hits which I hope to tour maybe next year.”

Meanwhile, Albert Hammond and his band will be performing at The Lowry, Salford, on September 18. Tickets from the box office and usual agencies.