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When I Need You

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Album Review

When I Need You should have been a monster album for Albert Hammond. His label at the time, Epic, had just scored with Engelbert Humperdinck's After the Lovin' while Leo Sayer hit number one on both Top 40 and AC charts with Hammond's title track from this disc. Add to all the attention and label savvy the fact that this is an exceptional recording by a songwriter of note, and the fact that it failed to generate any serious renown on its own is a real mystery. There are four co-writes with Hal David, four co-writes with Carole Bayer Sager, a songwriting team up with Molly Ann Leiken on "Tangled Up in Tears" (no doubt inspired by Bob Dylan's 1975 recording for sister label Columbia, "Tangled Up in Blue"), and an extraordinary Charles Calello production of the Brenda Lee 1962 Top 5 hit "All Alone Am I." The timing for this song to come back couldn't have been better, and Albert Hammond, resplendent in his best "Adult Contemporary look" album cover which Mac Davis, Kenny Rogers, and Tom Jones could envy, recorded each track on this with a seriousness missing from earlier long players of his. To show just how serious, three titles from his 1976 album, 99 Miles from L.A. appear in updated versions on When I Need You. All three titles were co-written with Hal David, a sublime rendition of what would become a hit in 1984 for Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," "Rivers Are for Boats," and an extremely commercial reading of "99 Miles from L.A.." Both "99 Miles..." and "All Alone Am I" should have obliterated the competition on AC and Top 40 in the mid-'70s. Perhaps programmers never forgave Hammond for the dreadful "I'm a Train" from 1974, and if his previous label, Mums, was forcing that "hit" down their throats, it could have cost Hammond credibility at radio. "When I Need You" is as good a performance as Leo Sayer's, but the production on Sayer's is a few notches above Calello's work on the title track, and there is the difference. If John Fogerty almost got sued by Fantasy for copying his own song with the "The Old Man Down the Road"/"Green River" controversy, Hammond's songwriting partner Mike Hazelwood, on "It Never Rains in Southern California," should have been up in arms with what Carole Bayer Sager and Hammond did to "Midnight Lady," you can actually sing "It Never Rains In Southern California" over this clone tune! But the interesting thing here is that Albert Hammond's When I Need You is almost as exquisite as the Carole Bayer Sager/Burt Bacharach album on Boardwalk, Sometimes Late at Night, and when you see the contributions here from Bacharach's partners — Hal David and Sayer, it qualifies When I Need You as a perfect bookend to that Carole Bayer Sager classic. Some hip label should combine both because these discs are exemplary easy listening recordings.


Born: 18 May 1944 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Albert Hammond is one of the more successful pop/rock songwriters to come out of England during the 1960s and 1970s, and has also enjoyed a long career as a recording artist, his work popular in two languages on three continents across four decades. Hammond was born in London in 1944 -- his family actually came from the British colony on Gibraltar, but wartime considerations caused his mother to be evacuated to London, where she gave birth. He spent his childhood and youth on Gibraltar, where he...
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Top Albums and Songs by Albert Hammond

When I Need You, Albert Hammond
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  • 9,90 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Soft Rock
  • Released: 1977

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