Albert Hammond is a prolific songwriter and composer as well as an occasional singer, originating from the British territory of Gibraltar on the Mediterranean. Born in London while his family sought refuge during the second World War, they went back to Gibraltar where he grew up and discovered his passion for music. He played for bands the Spanish-British group The Diamond Boys and then The Family Dogg, where he formed with Steve Rowland. As a singer, he took this role occasionally, having performed in some songs such as “Make Me An Island” and the #5 US hit “It Never Rains In Southern California” in 1972 (which he wrote both) and tracks on Michael Chapman’s album Wrecked Again. Hammond gained more success and recognition in songwriting, having penned now-classic hits such as Leapy Lee’s “Little Arrows,” “The Air That I Breathe” (a hit for The Hollies in 1974), Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” Whitney Houston’s “One Moment In Time”, Diana Ross’ “When You Tell Me That You Love Me,” (written with John Bettis) Aswad’s #1 single “Don’t Turn Around,” (written by Diane Warren) Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s hit cover of Hammond’s own original recording “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” and many others. Hammond also had a fruitful partnership with another songwriter Mike Hazlewood and together they collaborated in many songs especially from the albums It Never Rains in Southern California and The Free Electric Band. He also has written songs for The Carpenters, Tina Turner, British group Living in a Box, Celine Dion, etc. Because of his inestimable contributions to music particularly in songwriter, Hammond was bestowed with an Order of the British Empire honor from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, as well as induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008. His son is Albert Hammond Jr., a solo singer as well as a guitarist/keyboardist for indie rockers The Strokes.
Hammond’s early days
Born Albert Louis Hammond on May 18, 1944 in London, England, he is a British musician, singer-songwriter and a producer who spent his formative years in British Mediterranean, territory of Gibraltar. He left school to enter the music biz, leading to his first exposure with The Diamond Boys, a Gibraltarian band which didn’t make a big splash in the music scene back in 1960. However, The Diamond Boys were one of the bands to introduce to pop and rock music in Spain.
In late 1960’s and early 70’s, Hammond was more focused in writing songs. He wrote some songs that made to the charts: Leapy Lee’s “Little Arrows” (#2 UK, #16 US), Joe Dolan’s “Make Me An Island” (#3 UK), The Pipkins’ “Gimme That Ding” (#6 UK), and the Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe.” In 1977, the song co-written by Hammond and performed by Leo Sayer, “When I Need You” reached number one on both the US and UK singles charts. Hammond was also a favorite in Latin America and released an all-Spanish language album on Epic in 1985.
In the mid-80’s, Hammond was still active in songwriting. He wrote a song with Hal David, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” which was performed by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson. The song went to number one on the country chart. Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” was a transatlantic #1 hit in 1987. Hammond also wrote “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love,” for Chicago; it went to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1989. Hammond also co-wrote the theme song for 1988’s Seoul Summer Olympics which Whitney Houston performed, “One Moment in Time.” He also wrote several hits for Diana Ross (“When You Tell Me That You Love Me”) and Tina Turner (“I Don’t Wanna Lose You,” “Be Tender with Me Baby,” “Way of the World” and “Love Thing,” in 1991.
Hammond also wrote and produced an album by British singer Duffy, titled Endlessly, in 2008. In 2010 he also worked on a concept album consisting of duets of his greatest hits, called Legend; it was released on Sony Spain in the fall that year.
Hammond’s son, Albert Hammond Jr., is also making a name in the music scene. Hammond Jr. is a solo artist as well as rhythm guitarist/keyboardist for the rock band, The Strokes.