Albert Lee Says Anonymity Beats Fame - Noise11.com
Albert Lee

Albert Lee

Albert Lee Says Anonymity Beats Fame

by Paul Cashmere on August 2, 2018

in News

74-year old guitar legend Albert Lee has something some of his famous mates like Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman don’t. The ability to go out in public unnoticed.

Lee has worked in bands with Clapton, Wyman, Joe Cocker, Emmylou Harris and Bo Diddley but, like his friends, has never had to worry about going out in public.

“Eric didn’t like going out anywhere,” Albert tells Noise11.com. “I also worked with Bill Wyman for 15 years. He really didn’t like going out. He hadn’t been on a bus or the Underground for about 40 or 50 years. It’s a different life”.

Albert Lee has worked as a professional musician for almost 60 years. “I think I’m fortunate,” he says. “I’m not rich but I’m still able to play and pay the bills and enjoy the music. I have a good lifestyle but it’s a regular lifestyle in California where I live. My neighbours are a lot richer”.

One of his favourite venues is the Royal Albert Hall. “I’ve had so many great shows there. I played there with Emmylou Harris, Spinal Tap and of course, Concert for George,” Albert said.

‘Concert for George’, the tribute to George Harrison was a special moment he was part of. “I still get choked up in parts of that when I’m watching it,” he says. “It was pretty amazing to be in the middle of that huge band. I don’t think it quite comes across on the DVD how did it was. There were so many musicians. There were six guitar players playing at the same time. To be situated in the middle of that was awe-inspiring really”.

Albert spent time working in Joe Cocker’s band and plays on the album ‘Stingray’. “I did one or two tracks on that,” he says. “I was playing with him at the time. That was the first thing he started during the couple of years I was with him. He had finished an album and was having some success with ‘You Are So Beautiful’. I was touring on the back of that, his firts major tour after Mad Dogs And Englishmen. There was a lot of interest on how he would behave himself, especially when we played in Australia. They followed us around like hawks waiting for him to fall over”.

He had a great working relationship with Eric Clapton. “I did it for five years,” he says. “I was lucky really. After the first tour he fired the whole band except me. He had been working with these guys for a while and needed to try something new. He liked the idea of having an English guy around. We had a lot in common and had known each other since the mid 60s. He wanted a totally English band. A couple of years later he fired all those guys and I managed to survive that too”.

Bo Diddley was a stranger character. “I didn’t interact with him that much,” Albert confesses. “I did have the feeling that he felt passed by. He was very important. He influenced so many people like the Rolling Stones and the Everly Brothers. A lot of those guitar licks that Don Everly did on ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ and ‘Bye Bye Love’, he got that from Bo Diddley”.

Albert Lee cites his big break as when he joined Emmylou Harris’ band. “That was the turning point for me” he said. “I realised when I joined her band I was now living in Los Angeles where I had always wanted to be. Once I joined Emmylou I thought ‘this is it’. I was with a band that played music that I loved. She had just done a second album and was getting really popular. It was a great time for me”.

Albert Lee will make his first Australian appearance at the Melbourne Guitar Show on Saturday (4 August). That night he’ll play his first Australian show at the Caravan Club in Melbourne.

Get Albert Lee tickets here.

You can hear the full Albert Lee interview plust music from Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Emmylou Harris, Bo Diddley and Concert for George at Noise11’s iHeartRadio channel.

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