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Albert Hammond at Cadogan Hall, London

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Top orchestra joins singer-songwriter on stage
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Albert Hammond performs a rare UK symphonic concert with Germany's Leipzig Orchestra at London's Cadogan Hall on September 19, 2017.

The show is prompted by the release of In Symphony, an album of Albert Hammond songs re-recorded with orchestration and choirs.

Albert Hammond, In Symphony, Cadogan Hall London, Leipzig Orchestra
Acclaimed: Albert Hammond (pic: David von Becker)


With over 30 chart-topping hits and sales of 360 million records for himself, as well as artists such as Leo Sayer, Diana Ross, The Hollies, Whitney Houston and Starship, there was plenty of material to choose from.

Highlights include The Air That I Breathe, a hit for The Hollies, When I Need You, a chart smash for Leo Sayer, and Albert's own hits The Free Electric Band and It Never Rains in Southern California.

Albert Hammond, In Symphony, Cadogan Hall London, Leipzig Orchestra


Two Latin tracks reflect Albert's bilingual upbringing: Alejate (the Spanish version of Just Walk Away, his hit song for Celine Dion,) and 1912 Mexican light classical tune Estrellita.

"My uncle recorded me singing Estrellita aged 8, when I was a choir boy," Albert says, "We made a 78 record that we sold in Gibraltar. I kept it for I don't know what reason… now we're recording it, so I'm singing with myself!"

Albert Hammond, In Symphony, Cadogan Hall London, Leipzig Orchestra
Symphonic: Albert Hammond (pic: David von Becker)


The album came about after record label executives saw Albert perform a televised live solo show in Berlin and wanted to hear more from the London-born, Gibraltar-raised performer.

"This is a record that's not supposed to happen," he laughs, "The BMG people came to see me after the show and said, 'We want to do something.' I said 'Well, I don't, unless I do my hits symphonically!'"

The next day Albert was invited to a record company meeting in Los Angeles on his return to the US. "The CEO and I had breakfast together," he continues. "I told him my thoughts and he said, 'Let's do it.' I went home and I was pinching myself. What record company today would give a 72-year- old man who's written some great songs but isn't a huge artist himself all this money to do this? My mother was right, somebody is looking out for me."

Albert refers to the 1940s, when his family was evacuated to London from Gibraltar. Living on the eighth floor of a hotel with her sister and young daughter and heavily pregnant with Albert, every day his mother saw what she described as a 'vision' through the hotel window. It's a story she'd recount to Albert over and over, the feeling that something was guiding them.

"And I've felt that ever since," he explains.

Albert Hammond, In Symphony, Cadogan Hall London, Leipzig Orchestra
Dreams: Albert Hammond (pic: David von Becker)


As a teenager, he busked on the streets of Madrid to pursue his dream of making music and in 1968, at the age of 24, he had his first British hit song when Leapy Lee reached number two with Little Arrows. A few years later, in 1972, he was celebrating his own Top 5 US hit, It Never Rains In Southern California. From there, the only way was up and his creative partnerships with the likes of Hal David, Carole Bayer Sager and John Bettis led to major success.

He still can't believe his luck in making a living from writing and performing music.

"I don't think of money," he says. "I think, 'Oh great, I made all of those people happy!'"

For a flavour of the album and London concert see the video below:



In Symphony tracklisting:

1. It Never Rains In Southern California
2. I'm A Train
3. When I Need You
4. Give A Little Love
5. Alejate ('Just Walk Away)
6. To All The Girls I've Loved Before
7. Estrellita
8. When You Tell Me That You Love Me/ One Moment In Time - Medley
9. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
10. Don't Turn Around
11. The Free Electric Band
12. The Air That I Breathe

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Why? Rare symphonic concert by Albert Hammond
When: September 19, 2017
Phone: 0207 730 4500
Where: Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ
Cost: £32.50 & £38.50 plus fees
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