Friday, May 14, 2010

Albert Hammond: The Air That I Breathe

The last big hit for the Hollies was their rendition of the Albert Hammond and Lee Hazelwood composition. Today’s Friday Firsts selection traces the evolution of this song. First, the original recording in 1972 by its co-author, Albert Hammond, was unable to produce a hit. Later that year, Hammond’s “It Never Rains in Southern California” was a top five hit in the U.S. Here’s the original.

Phil Everly’s Rendition

The very next year, on the advice of his producer Duane Eddy, Phil Everly recorded the song and his version was the one that the Hollies heard and mimicked the arrangement – which by the way was written by Warren Zevon. RCA only issued the single in the U.K. and apparently did not promote it well enough for it to chart.

The Hollies Hit Version

By 1974, Allan Clarke had rejoined the Hollies and put his voice to work on this song which charted at #2 in Britain and #6 in the U.S. where the single was certified gold. As stated previously, it was the bands last hit record. Alan Parsons, who engineered the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” sessions and would have hits in his own right several years later, was the engineered on the Hollies version of the song.

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