Wednesday, September 10, 2014

40 Year Itch : Crime of the Century

After 1971's wretched Indelibly Stamped, the entire band quit. That's how bad things had become for Supertramp's remaining members, Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies. Worse, their benefactor , Dutch millionaire Stanley Miesegaes, pulled up stakes. He'd already lost $90,000 on Supertramp. He didn't want to lose another dime. Hodgson and Davies had one last shot to save their A and M contract. And they did so with a masterpiece called Crime of the Century.

   First, they had to recruit new members Bob Benberg from the pub rocking band Bees Make Honey and John Helliwell and Dougie Thomson from the Alan Brown Set. At a four month writing and rehearsal retreat on a 17th Century farm , Supertramp found their sound --a combination of progressive rock's imaginative scale and Hodgson's own pop sensibilities.

As Hodgson told Mojo Magazine:

This was the first time something clicked. We knew we had a band , not just a hotch-potch of styles and the music was working.

  The music clicked with UK and Canadian audiences straight away. The catchy single "Dreamer" hit #13 on the UK charts and helped propel Crime of the Century to #4 on the UK charts. Deep cuts like "Hide In Your Shell", "Bloody Well Right"  and "If Everyone Was Listening" will convince you this is the Supertramp album to add to your collection.

American audiences made Crime of the Century more of a cult hit. A and M has to give away a lot of the band's concert tickets. Still the album peaked in the US at #38.  

1979's smash , Breakfast in America,  was a completely different story of course. 

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