Birth and early success
Hammond was born in London, England, where his family had been evacuated to from Gibraltar during World War II. His family returned to Gibraltar shortly after his birth, and it is there he grew up. In 1960, he started in music with Gibraltarian band The Diamond Boys, which had no real commercial success, but played a part in Spain's introduction to pop and rock music. The Diamond Boys performed at the first nightclubs in Madrid to stage modern bands alongside Spanish rock and roll pioneers such as Miguel Ríos. In 1966 Hammond co-founded the British vocal group The Family Dogg, scoring a UK Top 10 hit with "A Way of Life" in 1969.
He also wrote songs for others with frequent collaborator Mike Hazlewood. These include "Little Arrows" for Leapy Lee, "Make Me An Island" (1969) (which Hammond himself re-recorded in 1979, in a Spanish disco-style version), and "You're Such a Good Looking Woman" (1970) for Joe Dolan, "Gimme Dat Ding" for The Pipkins in 1970 (itself a cover from the Freddie and the Dreamers album, Oliver in the Overworld
), "Good Morning Freedom" for Blue Mink, "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" for The Fortunes in 1971 and "The Air That I Breathe" which was a hit for The Hollies in 1974. In 1971. Hammond also sang on Michael Chapman's fourth album, Wrecked Again
, and worked briefly with The Magic Lanterns on recordings of his and Hazlewood's songs and other material.He then moved to the United States, where he continued his professional career as a musician. He is known for his hits of the 1970s, released on Columbia subsidiary Mums Records:"Down by the River" — US 91 (1972)"It Never Rains in Southern California" — US 5 (1972)"The Free Electric Band" (his only single to chart in the UK) — UK 19, US 48 (1973)"Half a Million Miles from Home" — US 87 (1973)"If You Gotta Break Another Heart" — US 63 (1973)"The Peacemaker" — US 80, South Africa 1 (1973)"Down by the River" — US 91 (1973)"I Don't Wanna Die in an Air Disaster" — US 0 (1974)"I'm a Train" — US 31 (1974)"99 Miles from L.A." — US 91 (1975)
Written with Carole Bayer Sager, "When I Need You" was first recorded by Hammond on his 1976 album When I Need You.
Produced by Richard Perry, Leo Sayer's version made #1 on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in February 1977, after three of his earlier singles had stalled at #2. A hit worldwide, it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week in May 1977. Leapy Lee released a version of "When I Need You" on his first recording since 1970.Hammond had success as a singer-songwriter with his Spanish recordings. His releases on Epic Records allowed him to successfully tour every region of Latin America. It was during this period that he met Manuel Montoya, CBS Mexico executive, who later became his personal manager in 1985, leading to the Grammy Award winning production of Lani Hall, "Es Facil Amar", producer and writer of "Cantaré, Cantarás" (the Latin American equivalent of "We Are The World"), and collaborations with Roberto Livi on recordings by Raphael, Eydie Gorme and others.Hammond also scored two successful hits in the Philippines during 1981. His songs "When I'm Gone" and "Your World and My World" (from the album of the same title) are widely popular in the country and are still being played on local radio.With Hal David, Hammond co-wrote "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", a hit in 1984 for Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson. Hammond collaborated with Diane Warren on "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", a transatlantic #1 in 1987 for Starship, and "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love", a hit for Chicago that peaked at #3 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1988. Hammond also co-wrote "One Moment in Time", the theme song to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, as performed by Whitney Houston.In 1991, Hammond co-wrote "When You Tell Me That You Love Me", which was sung by Diana Ross. In 2005, Diana Ross performed the song again, this time in conjunction with Westlife.He wrote several hits for Tina Turner, including "I Don't Wanna Lose You", "Be Tender With Me Baby", "Way of the World", and "Love Thing". Turner also recorded the original version of Hammond/Warren's "Don't Turn Around", a UK #1 for Aswad in 1988 and a hit for Ace of Base five years later.In 2005 he released his first album in many years, Revolution of the Heart
(where Todd Sharpville was his music director), and the single "This Side of Midnight".
In 2008, Hammond met Kasaan Steigen of the Los Angeles based Trigger Management who became his personal manager, during which time Hammond collaborated with British singer Duffy and others. Duffy's resulting album, Endlessly
, co-written and co-produced by Hammond, was released in November 2010.In 2010, Hammond also worked on Legend
, a new recording of duets of his greatest hits, featuring such artists as Elena Paparizou and Bonnie Tyler. It was released on Sony Spain on 23 November that year.His son, Albert Hammond, Jr., is a successful solo musician and also a member of The Strokes.
Awards and accolades
In 1987, Hammond's composition with Diane Warren "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (recorded by Starship) was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy. In 1988, Hammond won an Emmy Award for the song "One Moment in Time", a song he wrote along with John Bettis.In 2000, he received an OBE. On 19 June 2008, Hammond was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.Hammond was immortalised in song by Half Man Half Biscuit in their 1986 track "Albert Hammond Bootleg".
Other songwriting credits
- "When You Tell Me That You Love Me"
- "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be"
- "Through the Storm" – a duet with Aretha Franklin and Elton John
- "Careless Heart" – written with Roy Orbison and Diane Warren
- "Once in a Lifetime" – written with Antonia Armato and Dennis Morgan
- "Just Walk Away"
- "Moonlight Lady"
- "Smokey Factory Blues" – written by Hammond and Hazelwood, and recorded by Johnny Cash on his John R. Cash album. Also recorded by Steppenwolf on the Slow Flux album
- "Room in Your Heart" – written with Richard Darbyshire and Marcus Vere (Living in a Box)
- "I Don't Wanna Lose You" – written with Graham Lyle
- "Way of the World" – also written with Graham Lyle
- "Love Thing" – written with Holly Knight
- "I Need to Be in Love" – written with Richard Carpenter and John Bettis for The Carpenters and first recorded on their album, A Kind of Hush.