ACCORDING to his publicity, pop star Marc Almond splits his time between London, Moscow and Barcelona, which puts a question regarding the impact of terrorism on the cities he loves ahead of the 60-year-old’s forthcoming tour to Newcastle.

“I know Barecelona really well, although I haven’t spent a lot of timethere in recent years, as I did do in the 1980s and 1990s. I was in the US when the news came through (about the Barcelona killings) and I felt a mixture of feeling really shocked and sad and very angry at the same time,” he says.

“I know Las Ramblas really well. I have friends there and the first thing I do is think, ‘My God are they all right?’. Borough Market, which was attacked in London, is about five minutes from where I live and I go to to shop. All these things really effect you. I don’t think it’s a situation of getting blase about all these things happening because there were things planned that the terrorists didn’t get away with. It could have been so much worse and I think, ‘Thank God these people are so incompetent’, but it’s bad enough as it is. I’d rather not say any more on this,” Almond adds.

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His latest album, a remarkable revival of Sixties songs plus two original tracks, is called Shadows And Reflections and follows a top ten release, Hits and Pieces/The Best of Solf Cell & Marc Almond, which accompanied a sold-out spring tour.

Almond also staged a live performance on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 show which had the presenter commenting on the singer’s ability to deliver songs.

“I’m kind of lucky because I’ve kept my voice through exercise and I’ve still got a pretty good range and sing the songs that I used to sing... and I still manage to sound like me. I probably have a bit of a deeper tone, but I can still find the higher commercial pop voice that I did in the early days. I’ve tried to keep it in good condition and I’m a much better singer now than I was in those days. In the Soft Cell days we wanted to be post-punk and I approached the vocals in that kind of way. Coming straight from college we loved watching punk bands and a product of that.

“I’ve sung ever since I was at school, starting in the choir and then was in a band at 16... singing hits of the day around Leeds.”

For his 22nd solo album, which Almond will be performing at the Tyne Theatre on November 4, Almond has used his detailed knowledge of Sixties songs to highlight stars like The Herd, The Yardbirds, Julie Driscoll, Bobby Darin and Bobby Vinton.

“I’m very conscious that we’re bombarded with certain Sixties songs and this was the decade that I grew up in. I watched all the pop shows of the era and my parents were young, so there was pop music on all thetime. I had a knowledge of a lot of music from that timeand it amazes me how many great songs there were. I tried to take songs that even though I’m with a major record label (BMG) I wanted to try to make as unusual choices I could get. People will know these songs a little bit, but I can take them and make them my own.

“I also like to introduce the audience to the original singers as well, who they can go on to, and hopefully discover them on YouTube. The temptation was originally to do an album of torch songs following a concert with Leeds students. But I decided to go for songs that were more pop orchestral. People will probably know Shadow of Your Smile (a hit for Tony Bennett) with Scott Walker’s version being my favourite.”

He’s delighted at the response to his Billy Fury song (I’m Lost Without You) because he regards the singer as one of the best ever produced in Britain. “I can make it my own and make people aware of Billy at the same time,” he says.

Almond opted for a cover of How Can I Be Sure? as his latest single. Most people link it to David Cassidy in the 1970s, but Almond chose it more because of its Sixties links to the Young Rascals and a fine version by Dusty Springfield.

“I actually had a big list of songs and I knew I couldn’t do them all. Mike Stevens, the producer of the album, who had worked with Take That, Annie Lennox and the Electric Light Orchestra, gave me a pop ear and he’s a fantastic arranger. He suggested How Can I Be Sure? and I remember my sister had the David Cassidy version and wasn’t quite so sure I wanted to do it. He did a demo and asked me to try a vocal and it was in my head for a week and I couldn’t sleep. So I said, ‘Yeah Mike we have to do this’. I kind of love it and I’m so pleased with the choices I finally made.

“It runs together as a very coherent, thematic album.”

His focus was on making Shadows and Reflections compare to the soundtrack of a 1960s’ Italian film and Almond wants it at the heart of his winter tour with an orchestra.

“I’ll be featuring other songs from my repertoire, a few surprises, some audience favourites and a couple of songs I’ve never done before because I wasn’t able to include them on the album. I’ve got an 18-date tour, which is the biggest I’ve ever done and after than I’ll have a bit of break. I’ve got a few special things next year, which I can’t talk about yet because they are still in bubbling fruition. For me, it’s always when one thing is over I’m on to the next one. I never sit around for long.”

  • Marc Almond releases Shadows And Reflections on Friday, September 22, then tours to Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre on Saturday, November 4. Box Office: 0191-243-1171