If you are like me, you don’t care if you ever hear “The Logical Song” or “Breakfast in America” ever again. Thanks to the ridiculously tight formats of so called Classic Rock radio, some bands that have a very nice catalogue are looked upon as two or three hits wonders by the masses. I believe Supertramp to be one of them. Few bands can point to four consecutive quality records like Crime of The Century (1974), Crisis? What Crisis? (1975), Even in the Quietest Moments (1977) and Breakfast in America (1979). Breakfast in America, easily the weakest of this foursome, was their biggest selling record ever and hit number one in the U.S. You can go ahead and add “Goodbye Stranger” and “Take The Long Way Home” to your list of songs from that record crushed by too much radio exposure. It’s really no disgrace to be honest, but it takes away from the great music Supertramp recorded decades ago because, as the suits never quite understood, that kind of thing turns people off to both the band and the radio station. I don’t care what their “market research” says.
The 70′s were a very experimental time. Supertramp’s first two records would probably never fly today. They were progressive, spacey and uneven, but you could just feel them developing nicely. Largely a cult band prior to 1974, it doesn’t seem likely anyone could have seen what was about to transpire. I need to be honest here and tell you I bought Supertramp (1970) and Indelibly Stamped (1971) long after I bought my very first Supertramp album; Crisis? What Crisis? in 1976. I know I have mentioned in the past buying, or more accurately choosing, this record as a birthday gift from a childhood buddy. We were both in a record store, somewhere in Chester, NJ, when my friend John offered to buy me any record I wanted for my birthday. Albums were only $3.99 in those days, but it was still a ton of dough for a teenage kid cutting lawns for a living. I told my friend I wanted this Supertramp album (image above). I didn’t tell him I didn’t know a note on the record and really didn’t know a thing about the band. Crime of The Century had been out for at least a year by then, but I didn’t know anything by Supertramp. I knew I liked the name and I knew I loved the cover of Crisis? What Crisis? I had no idea how great a choice it was at the time. Thank you John. I couldn’t have been more than 16 years old, but I as already a big fan of rock album artwork.
Crisis? What Crisis? has no Supertramp “hits” on it. I still think, some 35 years later, that this record is tremendous. I must have played this thing end to end a thousand times. I just love “Sister Moonshine” and “Lady,” but there isn’t a bad track on this release. It was only then that I went back and purchased Crime of The Century and found out about “School into Bloody Well Right” and Supertramp’s other overplayed track in “Dreamer.” Still, this record, with “Rudy” and “Asylum” is heavenly. When Even in The Quietest Moments was released in April of 1977 I had high hopes. ”Give a Little Bit” hit the airwaves and I thought; “hey, not bad.” I went out and bought the record. Many Supertramp fans will quibble about which of their records is the best. That’s a good thing. You heard what I had to say about Crisis? What Crisis? My vote goes to Even in The Quietest Moments. What a great record. You could argue that each record was better than the last right up until this time. I don’t have any problem with Breakfast in America as a rule, but it was definitely a half step back from Even in The Quietest Moments as far as I’m concerned.
I just love the cover of this record as well. I’m going to find a poster and have it framed some day when I have money to burn. I don’t play piano, but I’ve always had a soft spot for great piano rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elton John and Billy Joel. There, I said it. Sue me. Guilty as charged. Even in the Quietest Moments is hard to describe for me. Tracks like “From Now On, Babaji, Loverboy and Fool’s Overture” are just masterpieces in my humble opinion. I pick this record up at least once a year for a complete listen. Like I’ve stated before, that may not sound like much to you, but I’ve got over 5000 choices here. I always come back and give this baby a good listen. There are only 7 tracks, but they are among Supertramp’s finest. I know they burned brightly from 1974-1979 and lost considerable steam, but I don’t mind a bit. It’s better to burn out than it is to rust I guess.
Supertramp was a British Progressive Rock group and one of the very first bands signed to the UK arm of A&M Records. They almost packed it in around 1972, but fortunately they made wholesale personnel changes and soldiered on. Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies found bassist Dougie Thomson, drummer John Siebenberg and saxophonist John Helliwell and off they went. I was a bit young to be trucking into Madison Square Garden to see them in the late 70′s and it’s one of my regrets that I never had the chance to see them perform live. According to our friends at Wikipedia Roger Hodgson doesn’t see a reunion in the cards. So be it. These guys were great musicians even if most people only really know them for Breakfast in America. I hope they are extremely proud of what they did. They should be. There’s never been anybody like them.
Buy or download Even in The Quietest Moments from Amazon here.