Al Stewart is a Scottish singer/songwriter who emerged from the British folk boom of the mid-1960s. He debuted with the 1967 orchestral-psych album Bed Sitter Images, his first of five albums on CBS, culminating with the lavish 1972/73 works Orange and Past, Present and Future. His 1975 release Modern Times marked his first collaboration with producer Alan Parsons, who also produced the 1976–78 RCA titles Year of the Cat and Time Passages. Further albums appeared at lengthier intervals over the following three decades.
Al was born Alastair Ian Stewart on Sept. 5, 1945, in Glasgow, Scotland. His father, a Royal Air Force volunteer, died in a plane crash during a training mission before Al was born. He was raised by his single mother, who moved them to Wimborne, Dorset, England, when Al was a small boy.
In 1965, Stewart secured his first weekly residency at Bunjies Coffee House in London’s Soho district, where he played a solo acoustic set. He then became master of ceremonies at the Greek St. folk club Les Cousins, where he played alongside fellow hopefuls Cat Stevens, Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, and Ralph McTell. He briefly roomed on Dellow St. with a then-unknown Paul Simon, who was scoping the UK market during a short split from Art Garfunkel.
In his earliest studio credit, Stewart did “guitar picking” on the song “Yellow Walls” from the Simon-produced eponymous album by American folkie Jackson C. Frank, recorded in London and released in 1965 on Columbia. Stewart himself debuted with the 1966 Decca single “The Elf,” backed by a cover of The Yardbirds‘ “Turn into Earth” with Jimmy Page on guitar. Soon thereafter, Stewart signed to Columbia/CBS.
- Bed Sitter Images (1967)
- Love Chronicles (1969)
- Zero She Flies (1970)
- Orange (1972)
- Past, Present and Future (1973)
- Modern Times (1975)
- Year of the Cat (1976)
- Time Passages (1978)
- 24 Carrots (1980)
- Live: Indian Summer (one side studio/three sides live, 1981)
- Russians & Americans (1984)
- Last Days of the Century (1988)
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