Song Book Comes Alive

“All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe” is a song I first loved in 1974, when it reached No. 2 in the UK charts and No.6 in the USA.

Dodgy miming by The Hollies here: –

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Then in 2008 I had one of those rare moments where all was well in my little bit of the world with my pal on a Portugese cliff top with swallow tailed butterflies, blue sea, blue sky, spring breezes and my pal sings “Peace came upon me” a line from the same song.

Fast-forward to February 2012 where I’m asked if I’d like to tour manage Albert Hammond’s first tour for 30 years! He wrote “All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe”

“Yep. Of course, I’d love to” I said.

Here’s Albert:

In April this year Micky Greeney and team are filming a video at Highbury Studio.

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I tell Micky that I’m working with Albert Hammond. “He wrote ‘All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe” says Micky “I was here at the studio with Bob when Allen Clarke who sang it with the Hollies came by.

May 5th 2012 and Albert and Daniel Serrano Gimenez and Carlos Solano Sevilla, two very handy sidemen from Madrid, well Daniel is from Madrid but Carlos is a Rock lifting Basque who has stopped more ladies in their tracks then anyone I’ve worked with for a while, pop into Highbury Studio for dinner at the start of the tour.

May 10th and I’m in Kendal at the fine Brewery Arts Centre. At the end of the 2 hour show, Albert is so moved by the crowd chorus that he asks them to sing “All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe” again and then leaves the stage with the audience singing his song. He has to leave through the audience so I quickly borrow a phone with a torch from someone and point it to show Albert the way, but as we get to the rear exit from the hall with the audience still singing he turns to wave goodbye and I hold the torch above him lighting him for the audience.

Suddenly, Manchester, Portugal, Madrid, Gibraltar, Birmingham, Los Angeles and Kendal all come together for me in a glorious celebration of the power of a great popular song and I’m so loving holding that torch. This was my Pop Music Olympics. Better than any of the mimed ‘tosh’ you are going to see on your screens this summer.

Albert, who also wrote for Johnny Cash, Jefferson Starship, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Julio Iglesias, The Carpenters and many more is at The Glee Club, Birmingham on Wednesday 16th May. I’ll be running around with a torch and a big smile.

There’s a chance that you need to be over 40 years old to get this, but if you are a budding pop songwriter try not to miss one of the masters.


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How high is Birmingham?

As I mentioned there’s been a major clear out in the office but thought I should share this one:

Fed up a couple of years ago with the ‘second city’ tag I wondered if Birmingham is the highest city in the country? I mailed Ordnance Survey and they said they couldn’t tell me. Then they mailed to say they could, then within 24 hours mailed to say they couldn’t. “Well if you can’t then who can?” I ask “Beats us” they say.

Not buying this I dropped a line to my wonderful local MP Dr Lynne Jones who wrote to Ordnance Survey on my behalf and below is their reply. Shame about the result but now we know and hopefully something here for you pub quiz compilers:

Fourth

Fourth

Having been prompted by Dr Lynne Ordnance Survey sent the following too

The Rest!

Heights for cities in England based upon the average height of the points within a city boundary:

North South, North South, North South

Sorry regular readers – it’s been a bad time for blogging but a good time for travelling. Drove up to Aberdeen with James Hunter and Willy Nelson. Then as the tour moved South I took a night off on our second night in Glasgow and flew to Birmingham to sing with The Nylons at the Newman University College 40th anniversary party at Edgaston’s Botanical Gardens: Excellent set from Marc Reck who took the snap.

Then flew back to Glasgow to pick up the tour for Manchester where the footy fans were happy as it was the night they won the something or other, however the following night we nearly had our own little riot with some of Manchester’s Hells Angels. On to a civilized night in Wolverhampton and then peaked at Hammersmith Appolo

Off now via Bristol to drive to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, then south to Scafel Pike and West to Snowdon and back to Bristol by Monday night so it’s going to be a quiet blogging weekend too. I am feeling the need to have a portable device these days. I’m driving my son H and some of his colleagues on the 3 peaks challenge and they’ll be going up and down these three whilst I sit and compare the view to that which I’ve had for 10 days of white lines and city centres and perhaps to think of the time I’ve just spent with two of the best singers and songwriters around today.

It’s raining Jo Hamiltons

Clearly as a new blogger one sometimes hits a little non compliance techy moment. In my attempt to put up a picture below of Jo Hamilton I seem to have put up erm.. many and now I can’t figure how to take them down but I’ll come back to it later in the day. Oops now I’ve deleted the entire post – rats. Look the point is that Jo Hamilton and Jon Cotton her producer have made a stunning album and you can listen to some tracks on Jo’s myspaceIt’s a 100% made in Moseley affair and deserves the success that was met by the last major production that Jon did for Scott Matthews’s brilliant award winning album two years ago.

‘There It Is’ is on heavy rotation in the office at the moment -I can’t wait to hear the rest.