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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Wakeup Call From Australia

Had an early morning surprise call from Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio on Tuesday this week.
Would I go live via phone on their drive time show in an hour to talk about Life In The European Theatre?
Woke up and agreed to do it on my way to Pilates.
We touch on their ‘drive time vinyl compilation album of the week ‘Life in the European Theatre’, Anti Nuclear Campaign, EP Thompson The Beat, Fine Young Cannibals and Inner City.

Not often that I’m heard to speak in the morning so here it is!

A great summer

500 miles from end of 3 week tour

500 miles from end of 3 week tour

Having whizzed around Europe in May I was thinking that England might be a little dull in June but – wrong.

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I took James Hunter and his fine band to Glastonbury to play on the Park Stage on Friday afternoon. Great set as always and lovely to see Emily Eavis dancing along to them.

(Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

(Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Whilst Glastonbury slept I took the boys back to London and got them checked in at Heathrow at 5.00am for Finland then dropped tour bus and caught train back to Glastonbury for 2 days r and r.

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Worked there lots before but never had a couple of days to wander with no responsibilities.

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Our tent was unbelievably placed almost on its own in a field of Clover – pure luck.

(Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

(Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

I enjoyed a couple of the main stage artists but by far most fun was had wondering the fringes from one gentle adventure and chance meeting to another.

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

I know it’s a pricey event but it really does sit as a great example of what can be done with a good heart and great production values.

(Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

(Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Above is Robin Pecknold from the Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury.

I was lucky enough to catch them last year on their first UK tour when the played in Space 2 next to the Custard Factory in Digbeth.

Coming back from Glastonbury I got stuck back in with the Rainbow Supporters – just a few of them here below and everyone else who can see what Digbeth might be to this city.

DSC_0247[1]The noise abatement row rumbles on but the City is really missing a major opportunity here. Digbeth is currently the home to more than 20 venues, it’s full of galleries, creatives of all sorts and some fine engineers and metal bashers – a unique environment.

People shouldn’t have to wait a year for for the chance of a festival to share good music and good company – in a city as big as this there should be somewhere where you can do that anytime and Digbeth is the place. It has buildings and space that aren’t going to be used for anything else in the next decade or so. We should have all the creatives and promoters in the area working with the City Council and land owners to plan a quarter mile wide party zone for the people of taste of the West Midlands and further afield – now.
Let’s not build more apartments that lead to everything being quietened down, let’s build budget hotels to house the people that would come from around Europe to this cultural quarter. When Supersonic is on later this month look at where their audience comes from and what they bring into the City as an example of what can be done – currently against the odds.

Digbeth – Could be the jewel in the City’s crown said Professor Michael Parkinson. Could be an Urban Glastonbury all year round say I.

Dubber the Outrageous!

All cool here with lots of interesting little jobs for both agencies – worked with our first contortionist last week at an office party in the Jewelry Quarter!

Meanwhile have been horrified and amused at some of the comments on Andrew Dubber’s New Music Strategies blog which I am sure is his intention however I’ve risen to the bait and proposed that the next major public event for Creative Republic should be a debate around some of the issues that Andrew raises in this particular post. He has accepted the invitation to debate, to my delight and I’ll be posting details soon for what should be a lively yet hopefully informative and entertaining evening in town – around the end of Feb.