‘I hate karaoke!’ Albert Hammond Jr’s honest playlist

The Strokes guitarist grew up on Phil Collins and has Cat Stevens as his alarm tone, but when it comes to the bedroom, he prefers a long player

The first song I remember hearing
I would have been four or five, so I’m not sure if I can actually remember hearing Every Breath You Take by the Police, or whether it’s just a memory of my dad who got a copy and played it over and over. Memories are weird like that, especially when you’re really young.

The first single I bought
Once again, tough, but it was probably We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel when I was eight or nine. The one I clearly remember buying when I was a little older was Regulate by Warren G.

The song I do at karaoke
I hate karaoke.

The best song to play at a party?
That depends on the party, what vibe you’re trying to do. I’m not great at dancefloor parties, but I’m pretty good at curating a vibe at a gathering. I don’t think there’s a specific song that’s great to play at a party. It’s the variety that creates the vibe.

The song I streamed last
I’m a creature of variety, so Leave Me Alone by New Order.

The song I secretly like, but tell everyone I hate
I don’t hide like that. Growing up, I loved Elton John and Against All Odds by Phil Collins but it’s not something I find embarrassing.

The song I can no longer listen to
Probably all the ones I’ve had as my ringtone, including Sound and Vision by David Bowie, Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel and Trouble by Cat Stevens. My phone’s ruined these songs for me. Now I have the theme tune to Knight Rider; I’m never going to listen to the whole song, so it’s fine.

The song I wish I had written
Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.

The best song to have sex to
I have sex for longer than one song. I would say listen to an album, such as the Cars’ debut. It’s well paced. Side one ends with Don’t Cha Stop so you’ve got a good ramp there. Then you flip it over and you have a good ramp to the end. It’s always nice to have music on, whatever you’re doing.

The song that changed my life
I would say the band that changed my life was Guided by Voices. Why? There’s no answer for this kind of stuff. It’s like: why did you fall in love? Why did you do this? Who knows? If you could answer, you would probably disappear into the universe. I guess the whys for me are when there’s a gut feeling more powerful than language can describe.

The song that gets me up in the morning
I’ve told you this before: I have Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel and Trouble by Cat Stevens as my ringtone. So those are the two songs that get me up in the morning.

The song I want played at my funeral
I always find that weird. I mean, I’ll be dead, so I don’t really care.

Albert Hammond Jr’s new album Melodies on Hiatus is out now.


As told to Rich Pelley

The GuardianTramp

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