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  Al Matthews

 

Al Matthews in 1979

 

 

 

 

Factbites

 

Al has acted in countless TV programmes and several films including Alien, the Fifth Element and Tomorrow Never Dies.

He had a huge hit in 1975 with 'Fool'. The song became a top ten hit in more then fifteen countries across Europe.

 

 

Early Years

 

Al was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942. He began singing while still in his teens with New York street-corner groups like The Chimes and The Schoolboys. He progressed to the blossoming folk clubs that were beginning to grow in Greenwich Village.

 

In the late Fifties and early Sixties, legendary clubs like the Bitter End, The Gaslight and Cafe A Go Go were featuring artists such as Peter, Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Jack Elliot and Bob Dylan. Sharing the bill on many occasions was local personality Al Matthews and gained two Purple Heart awards.

 

After his discharge, Al returned to Europe via Morocco, moving into the rock scene with a band called Salt and Pepper. He travelled to London in 1971, picking up the threads of his folk club career and became a big hit on the college and folk club circuit.

 

After a few years in clubs Al moved to France where, as a leading member of the Petit Conservatoire de Chanson, he became a familiar voice on radio and television.

 

His successful solo singing act soon paid dividend with major support spots with acts like Hawkwind, Slade, Roy Wood and Vinegar Joe. Then came a meeting with producer Pierre Tubs and the release of his hit record 'Fool'.

 

In 1978 Al's career developed further. After success in both the stage show at the Albert Hall and the film of 'Butterfly Ball' he appeared in another film 'Bad Loser'. In addition, he recorded two regular programmes for BFBS - 'The Melting Pot' and a gospel music show,  'When The Spirit Moves' which he took to London's Capital Radio for six years.

 

Discovatin'

 

In 1978 Al Matthews became the first black Disc Jockey to join Radio 1. His Saturday night show Discovatin' was broadcast for over two years. During the summer months a Wednesday show was also broadcast featuring live acts.

 

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 If  you've heard Al on the radio lately, let us know!

 

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steve Kimmitt (whitley bay near newcastle) says...
Al Matthews went on to appear as one of the Space marines in the film sequel Aliens , with Sigourney Weaver . Last I heard he was living in Spain (circa 2009), and when I contacted him via email he seemed a little unhappy/depressed with his life when replying to my greeting .Hope he is doing better now .
4th December 2014 11:29pm
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