Co-written and originally recorded by Albert Hammond (1972).
Also recorded by Phil Everly (1973).
Hit versions by The Hollies (US #6/MOR #3/UK #2/CAN #5/AUS #2/NZ #1 1974), Simply Red (UK #6 1998), The Mavericks (C&W #59).
“‘The Air That I Breathe’ was written by the songwriting team of Albert Hammond (‘When I Need You‘) and Mike Hazlewood shortly after they moved to Los Angeles. Hammond was the first to record this – it appeared on his 1972 album It Never Rains In Southern California. Phil Everly (‘When Will I Be Loved‘)covered the song in 1973 for his first solo album, Star Spangled Springer.
“‘The Air That I Breathe’, recorded by The Hollies in 1974, was the group’s last Top-10 song in the US. The audio engineering for The Hollies’ recording was done by Alan Parsons (The Beatles, Alan Parsons Project).
“In 1998, this was a UK #6 hit for Simply Red. Earlier in the 1990s, Radiohead recycled the chord progression of ‘The Air That I Breathe’ on their song ‘Creep’. The group co-credited the track to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood after getting sued.
“The Mavericks covered the song on their self-titled 2003 album. Their version peaked at #59 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.”
Phil Everly, “The Air That I Breathe” (1973):
The Hollies, “The Air That I Breathe” (1974):
Simply Red, “The Air That I Breathe” (1998):
Radiohead, “Creep” (1993):
The Mavericks, “The Air That I Breathe” (2003):