Richard Hammond: Top Gear star left ‘heartbroken’ over American singer’s death

The Great Escapists: Richard Hammond stars in Amazon show

The Grand Tour star Richard Hammond told fans that music had always been “very important” to him, so much so, that he was “heartbroken” when his favourite singer JJ Cale died. The American guitarist and songwriter, who was best known for tracks Crazy Mama, After Midnight and Call Me The Breeze, died following a heart attack in 2013, at the age of 74.

In a new interview, Richard spoke about the singer’s death and his love of “folksy” music.

He made his comments to this week’s Radio Times magazine, ahead of the release of his new Amazon show The Great Escapists.

The 51-year-old presenter, who is usually seen on TV with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, will appear in a new programme on the streaming service without his co-stars.

Stranded on a desert island, he and MythBusters host Tory Belleci will have to entertain themselves while waiting to be rescued.

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The pair will use their engineering and scientific skills to survive.

When asked what music he would like to listen to if he was really stranded on desert island, Richard revealed his love for JJ Cale.

“Music’s always been very important to me and I’d definitely need it on my island,” the father-of-two said.

“I was raised largely in North Yorkshire where there’s a huge live music scene in pubs and clubs, and I played bass in a band for 35 years.

“I like folksy stuff because it’s human and it resonates,” he explained.

“I’d take JJ Cale’s music, which is mellow to listen to.

“I was heartbroken when he died in 2013,” Richard added.

The television star, who shares daughters Willow and Isabelle with his wife Mindy, also revealed that his children had introduced him to the music of Billie Eilish.

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Richard was impressed with the young pop star, who he said was not conforming to anything.

The former Top Gear, who described himself as having “varied music taste”, also said that he liked rock band AC/DC, and enjoyed going to their gigs.

The avid reader would also take a collection of books to read while stranded on his imaginary island.

Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which he has read on numerous occasions, was top of the list as he would happily devour again.

In reality, Richard said he actually took a manual on motorcycle electrics with him to Panama, while filming The Great Escapists.

He also took some books to improve his art skills.

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.

The Great Escapists launches January 29 on Amazon Prime Video.

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