Saturday Night Music Byte
Supertramp were a British progressive rock band that released a series of top-selling albums in the 1970s and early 1980s.Their early music included ambitious concept albums, from which were drawn a number of hits including “Goodbye Stranger”, “Bloody Well Right”, “The Logical Song”, “Breakfast in America”, “Dreamer”, “Give a Little Bit”, “It’s Raining Again”, and “Take the Long Way Home”. Supertramp attained superstardom in the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Australia and Brazil, although they were not quite as popular in their home country, the UK. Nonetheless, the album Breakfast in America was a big hit there, reaching number three on the UK charts and featuring two top 10 singles.
Crime of the Century, released in September 1974, began the group’s run of critical and commercial successes, hitting number four in Britain, supported by the iconic countercultural opening track “School”, and the top-10 single “Dreamer”. Its B-side “Bloody Well Right” hit the US Top 40 in May 1975, peaking at #35. Siebenberg would later comment that he thought the band hit its artistic peak on this, their third album, though their greatest commercial success would come later.
The band continued with Crisis? What Crisis? released in November 1975. It achieved good though not overwhelming commercial success. The following album, Even in the Quietest Moments, released in April 1977 spawned their hit single “Give a Little Bit” (#15 U.S.), and the FM radio staple Fool’s Overture. During this period, the band eventually relocated to the United States and moved steadily from the progressive styles of their early albums towards a more song-oriented pop sound.
This trend reached its zenith on their most popular album, Breakfast in America in March 1979, which reached Number 3 in the UK and Number 1 in the United States and spawned four successful singles, “The Logical Song” (#6 U.S.), “Take the Long Way Home” (#10 U.S.), “Goodbye Stranger” (#15 U.S.), and “Breakfast in America”. The album has since sold over 18 million copies worldwide.
The run of successes was capped with 1980s Paris, a 2-LP live album, in which the band stated its goal of improving on the studio versions of their songs. Instead of focusing on songs from the hugely successful Breakfast in America, it included nearly every song from Crime of the Century, another testament to the importance of that album in the group’s development. Initially, it was supposed to be a show recorded in Quebec City, Canada, but A&M vetoed the idea for a “more mainstream city”. Also in 1980, the song “Dreamer” was finally released as a single in the U.S., where it reached #15.
Please enjoy this video clip of Supertramp performing “Goodbye Stranger” live in 1983.