Al Stewart Info





Album cover
Down in the Cellar

Al Stewart was born September 5, 1945, in Glasgow, Scotland.

At an early age he moved to Bournemouth, a seaside town south of England.  Whilst growing up in Bournemouth he bought his first guitar from Andy Summers (The Police) and learned his first guitar licks from Robert Fripp (King Crimson).  Other contemporaries in these early years were Greg Lake (ELP), Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heap), and the infamous George "ZOOT" Money

Escaping the harsh confines of public school at the age of 16, he decided his path was to be that of a musician.  Al started his musical career playing guitar in various bands (one in particular with disc jockey  Tony Blackburn), but after hearing Bob Dylan decided his path should be that of a lyricist.

In 1965, Al moved to London where he landed the job as the MC at the legendary folk club "Les Cousines" in Soho.  During this time he started writing and performing at the club as well as introducing the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Bert Jansch, John Renbourne and Ralph McTell.  Surpassing his duties as MC at Les Cousines he started performing at Bunjies and Troubadour in London.  He moved on to perform at folk clubs and colleges throughout England with the likes of The Incredible String Band, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Pentangle and Roy Harper.

Al's first album, "Bedsitter Images" was released in 1967, followed by "Love Chronicles" in 1969, Zero She Flies" in 1970 and "Orange" in 1972.  Many of these early songs were pages ripped from a diary of love affairs, Proust-like in detail and startling for their unabashed exposure of intimacies.  If it wasn't the length (19 minutes) of "Love Chronicles" that kept  it from the BBC airwaves, then certainly the explicit lyrics did the trick.  Musicians featured on these albums were Jimmy Page, Rick Wakeman, Richard Thompson, Phil Collins, Queen's Roger Taylor and Brinsley Schwartz.

Then came a crucial shifting of gears.  Al decided to write about any and everything but himself.  He began incorporating historical data, elements of film, literature and current affairs into his lyrics.   "Past, Present and Future", his first USA release, was the first record Stewart made using this approach.  It became a cult album which has now sold close to a million copies worldwide.  His next album, "Modern Times", cracked the US top 40 chart which led to Al and his band touring the United States.

"Year Of The Cat", released in 1976, became Al's first platinum (one million units) album in the United States.  It featured two top 20 singles, "Year Of The Cat" and "On The Border".   Buoyed by this success, he moved to Los Angeles and released "Time Passages" in 1978 which also sold platinum and featured the singles "Time Passages" and "Song On The Radio". This period was followed by worldwide tours with his band "Shot In The Dark". 

"Twenty-Four Carrots" was released in 1980 yielding the hit single "Midnight Rocks", followed by "Indian Summer Live" in 1981 and "Russians And Americans" in 1984.

1988 saw the release of "Last Days Of The Century" and a return to the concert stage for a year of worldwide touring with a new band, which ended in the UK with an appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

The 90's brought a return to Al's folkier roots with a UK solo tour, (his first in 15 years).  Al enjoyed the freedom of performing the songs acoustically and, on his return to the States, recruited long time musician and songwriting partner Peter White to perform a series of shows both in the USA and Japan.   It was during these shows that the album "RHYMES IN THE ROOM" was recorded.  It features some of Al's most well known songs performed in an intimate live setting.

Al followed up with "Famous Last Words" in 1993, an album of original songs incorporating acoustical instrumentation with traditional folk and classical styles.  "Charlotte Corday"' with its mandolin and accordion, helps this ghost story take the listener to post Revolutionary France.   "Trains" gives an endearing take on the ongoing romance with the silver rails that includes accordion and fiddle.  Every track is a gem supported by his longtime musical partner/guitarist Peter White.  Other guests include guitarist Ardeshir Farah and violinist Charlie Bisharat.

"Between The Wars" was released in 1995, marks Al's sixteenth album.  He teamed with former Wings guitarist Laurence Juber to create a snapshot collection of songs musically and lyrically inspired by the turbulent '20's and '30's.  With both sharp wit and tender compassion, Al so brilliantly captures the mood of the period that fans of all ages will no doubt be inspired to crack a history book or two after just one listen.

Al, an avid collector of French wine, has received such accolades as "Compagnon de Bordeaux" in 1977 by Le Grand Conseil L' Academie, "Matres-Conseils en Vin de France" in 1980 by Les Maitres-Conseils en gastronomie Francaise and "Commadeur d' honneur" in 1981 by Commaderie du Bontemps de Medoc et desgraves.