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Archive for June 13th, 2014

Early Albert Hammond, Sixto Rodriguez Songs Featured On The Family Dogg’s “A Way of Life: Anthology”

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Family Dogg - Anthology

Few pop songwriters have proven as adaptable as Albert Hammond.  His string of hits dates from the 1960s straight through the 1990s, and his durable compositions continue to be recorded today.  Yet one chapter of the Hammond legacy has never been properly anthologized until now: his tenure with the British pop group The Family Dogg.  Cherry Red’s RPM label has just delivered A Way of Life: Anthology 1967-1976, named for the band’s U.K. Top 10 hit and including all of the band’s recordings on two CDs.

The London-born, Gibraltar-raised Albert Hammond had recorded in the late 1950s as a member of The Diamond Boys, but came into his own in the 1970s scoring numerous successes as a songwriter with partner Mike Hazlewood (The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding,” The Fortunes’ “Freedom Come, Freedom Go”) even as he was carving out a successful solo career with the U.S. Top 5 single “It Never Rains in Southern California.”  Throughout the seventies, Hammond turned out more hits with Hal David (the AC chart-topper “99 Miles from L.A.”), John Bettis and Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters’ Top 25 single “I Need to Be in Love”) and Carole Bayer Sager (Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You,” a No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic).  Entering the eighties, he began a partnership with Diane Warren for such era-defining power ballads as Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (No. 1 U.S. & U.K., 1987) and Chicago’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” (No. 3 U.S., 1988) reteamed with David for Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (No. 5 U.S., 1984) and Bettis for Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” (No. 1 U.K., No. 5 U.S., 1988).  Hammond has also turned out hits for Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and even Ace of Base, not to mention fathering Albert Hammond, Jr. of The Strokes.  The roots of this success, however, can be traced to his brief time with Mike Hazlewood and Steve Rowland in The Family Dogg.

American Steve Rowland, a young actor who featured in films including Battle of the Bulge with Henry Fonda and Crime in the Streets with Sal Mineo, was singing with the Spanish band Los Flaps when he first met Albert Hammond of Gibraltar’s Diamond Boys.  Their partnership wasn’t immediate, however.  Rowland’s travels took him to London, where he partnered with Ronnie Oppenheimer and formed Double R Productions.  At Double R, Rowland successfully produced such acts as Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.  It was in London that he ran into Hammond once more, who was in his own partnership with fellow Brit Mike Hazlewood as songwriters and producers.  The trio hatched plans to form a band of their own: The Family Dogg.

Hit the jump for more on the story of The Family Dogg, plus the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 13, 2014 at 10:10