Biography

Welcome to the website of saxophonist/composer Andy Hamilton.

I fell in love with the saxophone when I was 15. It was a mixture of watching the Alan Bown Set at Manor Court youth club and later hearing Stan Getz playing ‘There’s A Small Hotel’ that transfixed me.What a great sound.I served my apprenticeship during the 70’s in the Top Ten on the Reeperbahn playing 8 sets a night. The band I was in ‘Smiling Hard’ had a multi instrumental front line so we could adapt to whatever we wanted to play. Three of us played horns and guitar and keyboards. We toured Australia and most of Europe and as far as I can remember we had a great time! We were often hired by visiting US soul artists, Edwin Starr…Ben E.King most notably. I went to America with Edwin in 1979 and toured and played on the ‘Happy Radio’ album which I guess was my first proper session. After moving back to London I got involved with some of the people at Tony Visconti’s Good Earth Studios. Through up and coming engineer/producer Colin Thurston I met Duran Duran and put some horns on the ‘Night Version’ of ‘Planet Earth’. I went on tour with them at various points during the early 80’s and played a sax solo on ‘Rio’ which was the title track of their second album. I joined Dexy’s Midnight Runners in 1982 and did a couple of  US tours with them while ‘Come On Eileen’ was No.1. A strange experience as the audiences in the US hadn’t seen anything quite like it! When it was good it was great…but when it was bad….well when we opened for David Bowie in Paris in front of 60,000 people Kevin Rowland committed Hari Kari by aggressively slagging off  Bowie to all the Parisians who had come to see him….and making bassist Rhino Edwards translate his insults into French when he thought the crowd weren’t understanding him. I was never quite sure why he did that. A few slices short of  a full loaf perhaps. The plug was pulled but I slipped into the crowd.Bowie was great. He asked me and Tony Visconti and Mel Gaynor to be in the video for ‘Wild Is The Wind’.I stood there holding a saxophone! I recorded an album with the Boomtown Rats with Tony Visconti and did some extensive touring with them also including playing at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. I did a huge tour in 1983/84 with Duran Duran…’Sing Blue Silver’. They were very exciting times. Through another engineer Chris Porter I met George Michael and played on a lot of the Wham hits ‘I’m Your Man’… ‘The Edge Of Heaven’ etc. I was in the videos for these also. I did another world tour in 1987 with Duran Duran promoting the ‘Notorious album’. That was a fantastic tour also…during which I also got to play ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ with Lou Reed.  I played on ‘Look At These Hands’ from the George Michael’s ‘Faith’ album and  in 1988 went on tour with George on the Faith tour which was a great experience.I toured the world again with  George in 1991 after he recorded ‘Listen Without Prejudice’. I played a sax solo on the song ‘Cowboys and Angels’ which I’m a little bit proud of. Elton John joined us and we recorded a live version of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ in Chicago. Got a serious shiver down the spine when Elton jumped out from behind a speaker to an unsuspecting crowd! I also recorded during this time with Tina Turner ‘Nutbush City Limits’ and others and with the Pet Shop Boys including a beautiful song called ‘It Always Comes As A Surprise’ which is one of the most beautiful  love songs I’ve ever heard. In between all this I did sessions for Kim Wilde…Bon Jovi…Brian May…Altered Images….Gary Barlow…did a short tour with Marc Almond…a true gentleman….was in a film with Paul McCartney…during breaks in filming we just played Beatles songs with Paul singing with Steve Lukather on guitar and Jeff Porcaro on drums. I recorded an album with Judie Tzuke and did a tour to promote that.I did a big European tour with Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti and was MD for ABC for a couple of years. When the original Duran Duran line up reformed in 2003 I went on tour again with them around the world which was just as much… if not more fun than it had been 20 years previously.They have a collective vision and commitment unmatched in that arena.For the next few years  I toured with George Michael on the 25 Live tour…unquestionably the greatest singer  in his generation…as well as a brilliant songwriter. It always struck me how lucky we were to play sometimes very sophisticated music to an audience who were listening to every word…even though there were sometimes 145,000 of them! I also played on the Radiohead album ‘Kid A’ and did concerts in Paris and New York with them.A totally different but incredible experience.

Iʼve always had a recording studio of one sort or another as Iʼve always composed as much as I have performed. When I havenʼt been touring Iʼve spent a lot of my professional life writing and producing hundreds of pieces of music which have been used on everything from Oprah to Sexcetera and I think itʼs fair to say I enjoy both aspects of my life in equal measure.

I also have a song writing partnership with percussionist Lily Gonzalez. I also won the 2015 UK songwriting contest….A/C for all the good that will do me!

I have a good studio and am a good collaborator and am always interested in writing projects.

I love amongst others the music of Joni Mitchell…Chopin…Stan Getz … Ornette Coleman…Frank Bridge…Bela Bartok…. Debussy….Wayne Shorter…Steely Dan…. the writing of Tom Wolfe and Lionel Shriver … the work of Marc Chagall …. Franz Marc and George Grosz and ….. oh…and Iʼd like an Austin Healey 3000.

I also think the world would be a better place if everyone gave up believing in supernatural mumbo jumbo…listened to good music and read decent literature!

That’s all for now!