Hezron’s reggae take on The Hollies classic “The Air That I Breathe” was released on November 16 by LTK20 RECHORDZ.
In early 1974, British band The Hollies rode international charts with an easy-listening ballad called The Air That I Breathe. Hezron Clarke was not born yet, but the singer knows a good song when he hears one. He also knows when it’s good enough to cover.
Hezron’s reggae take on The Hollies classic was released on November 16 by LTK 20 Records. His version is co-produced by Lindel Thompson and Willie Lindo.
“Though I was never the kind of artiste that really cared for doing covers, I’m truly glad I did this one. It really came out great and I strongly believe it will be very impactful on opening up and reaching a newer and wider fan base,” said Hezron.
It was Thompson’s idea to cover The Air That I Breathe. Once Hezron agreed, Lindo and Thompson assembled a crack band to back him. In addition to Lindo on guitar, there are Taxi Gang members Sly and Robbie on drum and bass and keyboardist Robbie Lyn.
Hezron’s The Air That I Breathe is bolstered by a searing solo from Lindo, best known for his work with Beres Hammond, BorisGardiner and Dennis Brown. It’s just the interlude that could help the song wade into the mainstream.
Hezron, who is from the tourist city of Montego Bay on Jamaica’s north coast, grew up listening to American pop and Rhythm and Blues as well as the lovers rock reggae of Hammond and Brown. He admits his knowledge of “The Air That I Breathe” was limited.
“I kinda slightly remember hearing it growing up somewhere, somehow, but not as vivid,” he said. Being a pro, he gave it a shot after listening to The Hollies track and ended up working magic with the LTK 20 Records team.
According to Hezron, “An artist must approach all covers from his or her heart which would ignite sincerity and true self-expression, thus translating into his or her interpretation of the song and not an exact replication of the original work,” he reasoned.
The Air That I Breathe is only Hezron’s third release of the year. In May, he released Resillience, a song calling for steadfastness in the age of COVID-19. Then in August came Stronger In Love (remix) featuring Busy Signal.
Since his career launched over 20 years ago, the dreadlocked artist has written most of his songs including Taxi Driver, Foreverand Always and MoBay earning him fans in the Jamaican North American Diaspora and Europe. (Hezron did shows on the latter continent early this year before the onset of COVID-19, performing in Germany and Switzerland).
One year after its release, The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies was in the Top 10 charts of major markets including the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia. It has been covered with measured success by British soul group Simply Red and American country band The Mavericks. Hezron’s reggae cut may just follow suit.