On the eve of Supertramp‘s international blockbuster Breakfast in America 35 years ago, none of us outside the Brit ex-pat band’s tight inner circle living in suburban Los Angeles had any reason to see it coming. Sure, their U.S. label patiently had given them the time to cook up something popular over the course of five albums in ten years. Supertramp had exhibited a consistency of band sound since the stunning Crime of the Century five years earlier, eschewing the ubiquitous electric guitar and the obligatory synthesizer of most progressive rock bands in favor of grand piano, the distinctive Wurlitzer electric, and John Helliwell‘s clarinet and saxophone solos giving Supertramp a decidedly Continental feel. In band co-founders Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies they possessed two singer/ songwriters to contribute material and alternate lead vocals, and whose close harmonies belied the increasing creative competition between them.
However, the odds for a sudden Breakfast… breakthrough anywhere near the sumptuous servings of hits found on the March 1979 release appeared slim, seeing as how five albums in a decade of work had resulted in a grand total of a sole U.S. hit, Hodgson’s “Give a Little Bit” on 1977’s Even in the Quietest Moments. And Supertramp suffered in the publicity department like so many prog rock bands by being a relatively faceless ensemble without a colorful, quotable front person who the journalists could tee up.
Roger Hodgson (who does five warm up dates in Chandler AZ and Milwaukee beginning 4/25 prior to Summer shows in Oslo,Paris, Liege Belgium, Toulouse France, and five cities in Germany. Details at rogerhodgson.com ) shares the remarkable transformation of this British art rock /progressive rock band into unlikely pop stars( estimated 20 million copies sold) with this 1979 worldwide #1-seller, Breakfast in America , containing big hits “The Logical Song”,”Goodbye Stranger”,and “Take the Long Way Home”; the intra-band confrontation between Hodgson and Davies in the former’s “Child of Vision”; and the title song, as Breakfast… is served In the Studio in a very rare classic rock interview. -Redbeard