"One of my favorite groups. Supertramp created something so pristine and clean, yet emotional, at the same time."--Herb Alpert
"They gave us an amazing album when we really needed one.... 'Breakfast In America' was remarkable. It was an absolutely huge record worldwide – it even sold a million albums in France! From the sound alone of 'The Logical Song' or 'Take the Long Way Home,' you could tell it was Supertramp."--Jerry Moss
The group took its name from the W. H. Davies book The Autobiography of a Super Tramp.
The Trampettes were the group's road crew.
Signed with A&M Records, Ltd. in 1971. In the U.S., Jerry Moss did not like the band's first two albums and refused to release them.
"Crisis? What Crisis? came to mean more to us as a title than it did to other people because it was really a crisis album. We learnt how not to make an album, coming right off the road and going into the studio. It could have been much better than Crime of the Century, but it wasn't. We had a lot of bad luck in the studio. We really didn't enjoy making it and in the end it was kind of a patch-up job. A lot of people liked it, but for us it missed."--Roger Hodgson in Sound. He told Goldmine, "...There was a lot of pressure to come up with an album quickly and go out on tour after the success of Crime of the Century.. I knew we had the songs. I think Crisis? What Crisis? is a great selection of songs, but they didn't come out as good as I was hoping, anyway. And part of that was just the stressful situation we were under, so yes, the title of that album definitely suited what was going on with the band. Crisis? What Crisis? in fact came from a sketch that Rick did in the waiting room of the studio, and it reflected the stress we were under in just getting that album completed." The album relied on unreleased songs from prior albums.
Crime of the Century stayed on the German chart for 93 weeks.
Even in the Quietest Moments shipped gold in Canada. In Spain it stayed on the charts for 80 weeks and was #1 longer than any record in that chart's history.
Supertramp was the first A&M artist to win a Diamond Record from the Canadian Recording Industry Association for its album "Crime of the Century."
In 1976, Supertramp was Billboard's #6 Top Artist performing at auditoriums with less than 6,000 seats. Their two-day stand in Santa Monica, CA grossed $55,884 and the overall #3 artist in the auditorium category.
In May 1977, "Give a Little Bit" was a Billboard Recommended Pop Single. Even in the Quietest Moments was #15 in Britain on May 14, 1977
Supertramp's Breakfast in America album shipped platinum in the U.S. The album shipped gold in Belgium, France, Holland, Norway, Canada and Australia. It was double gold in Spain and Portugal. On the music charts, it went to #1 in 17 countries.
From Marcus Bicknell: "'Breakfast in America' was released three weeks earlier (9 March 1979) in every country of Europe than in the USA (29th March). This was in response to tremendous groundswell for the album in their key markets like Holland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and to tell the media outside the English speaking countries that they mattered to us and to the band. At 9 a.m. on that 9th March, about 30 radio stations in 17 countries received a visit from one of our promo ladies, dressed as Libby, carrying a tray with orange juice, croissant and coffee in our specially-made porcelain cup…and a first copy of the album on vinyl. Despite the album only being finished in December 1978 we were able to get these cups made in Paris in a couple of months. 'Breakfast' sold 7 million on the continent before year end of which 4 million were in France - the fourth best selling album there ever."
Supertramp was the first artist ever to have two albums that each sold over one million copies in Canada. Breakfast In America and Crime of the Century were both certified platinum within one month of each other.
It took five months to record Crime of the Century, eight moths for Breakfast in America and 16 months for Famous Last Words.
Supertramp owned its own sound system for concerts and it owned Delicate Acoustics. Their system weighed 26 tons and was insured for more than $5 million. The system was rented to other acts when Supertramp was not on tour.
Supertramp's contract with promoters held promoters liable for up to $500,000 for a bootleg album recorded within its venues.
By April 1979, Supertramp had 21 gold albums in Europe, plus eight double-golds and platinums.
Breakfast In America sold more than 18 million copies worldwide.
Supertramp's song "Give a Little Bit" was featured in a Gap television commercial.
Famous Last Words was the first major, mass-produced album released as an audiophile album in late 1982.
The working title for Famous Last Words was Tightrope.
When Roger Hodgson went solo in 1983, Supertramp was not allowed to perform his songs in concert. Although most songs had been credited to both Hodgson and Rick Davies as co-writers, they were written separately. The man who sang lead was the song's writer.
Supertramp's "Dreamer" became the theme music in Acura television commercials in 2007.
- Billboard No. 1 Awards. Billboard, December 25, 1976.
- Supertramp Nears Status As Top Concert Rock Act. Billboard, May 7, 1977.
- New Supertramp Album Breaks Fast. Record World, April 28, 1979.
- Supertramp's Logical Mystery Tour. Jon Pareles. Rolling Stone. July 12, 1979.
- Styx Album Is Audiophile Test. Sam Sutherland. Billboard, March 12, 1983.
- Hodgson's New'Storm' Hits the Streets. Ethlie Ann Vare. Billboard, October 27, 1984.
- Supertramp Scores In Canada With Two Million-Selling LPs. Kirk LaPointe. Cash Box, November 3, 1979.
- A&M Records' Greatest Hits. Matt Diehl. Rolling Stone, September 7, 2012.
|Dave Winthrop||1971||flutes, sax, vocals|
|Frank Farrell||1971||bass, paino, accordion, vocals|
|John Helliwell||1974, 1982-1985||sax, clarinet, keyboards, vocals|
|Rick Davies||1971-1985||keyboards, harmonica, vocals|
|Roger Hodgson||1971-1983||guitars, bass, vocals|