Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Archivist: Supertramp - Crime Of The Century

Way back in the early 70s, a friend of mine gave me an album called Crisis, What Crisis? by a band called Supertramp. For some reason I had been expecting an album by a black soul band. What I heard was an album of a slightly prog, rock band with an ear for a good tune. The main song that grabbed my ear was called Sister Moonshine, with it's bright 12 string guitar and glorious harmonies.

The album was a kind of odd affair with two singers singing their own songs. One earthy and direct. The other ethereal and introspective. A template which was to be followed on the majority of subsequent Supertramp albums.

However, I had missed the previous album. This turned out to be my all time favourite Supertamp album called Crime Of The Century.

Crime did produce two singles, one being

Supertramp was home to two excellent songwriters - the earthy Rick Davies and the ethereal Roger Hodgson. And with each songwriter taking lead vocals on his own song, it became clear that it was a perfect balance for the band.

Crime of the century was released in 1974 and started a golden period for the band which would last until Roger's departure in 1983 to spend more time with his family.

The other single released was the instantly recognisable Dreamer

Roger's songs seemed to be the ones the public appreciated more as singles and most of the band's future hits came from the pen of Roger such as Give A Little Bit from the next album Even In The Quietest Moments

Although Roger did not only write singles, as the album's magnum opus, Fool's Overture shows - all 11 minutes of it.

But the next album had hits for both Roger & Rick and went on to become the best selling album in the USA in 1979. And won two Grammys. Which goes to show, if you want a hit album in the USA, put America in the title. It is also the best selling English language album of all time in France. Some feat. It was called Breakfast In America.

I've always preferred Roger's more spiritual songs and he's produced some beauties whilst in Supertramp.

Roger stayed for one last album, Famous Last Words and gave the band one more hit.

Supertramp, led by Rick and with future Crowded House Guitarist/keyboard player Mark Hart, carried on and had another hit singles and albums.

After Supertramp, Roger left the music business for a while but came back with a solo album, In The Eye Of The Storm, in 1984 and when I first put the needle on the record gave me one of those rare 'tingle down the spine' moments in music where at 1 minute 25 seconds the pounding piano kicks in and I jumped shouting, 'yes, he's back and he's still got it'.


Supertramp as a recording and touring entity are now on hiatus but Roger still performs his solo material and his Supertramp songs at sold out gigs all over the world.

Twitter - @RogerHodgson

1 comment:

  1. One of my all time fave bands as well...I bought their Breakfast in America album on vinyl when I was 7 years old when it came out and wore it out. Cheers.