Monday, March 04, 2024

Supertramp’s First Breakout Album


Crime of the Century from 1974

Most bands, even top bands with excellent musicians, only have one or two really, really good albums in them — and for Supertramp, formed in 1970, this is definitely one of them.

The singles “Dreamer” and “Bloody Well Right” had some success but several other songs either received airplay on AOR stations or should have, such as “School” and my favorite, “Hide in Your Shell”. 

The album itself sold very well in Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany, and hit #38 in the US.

“Hide in Your Shell”

The band had struggled to hit their stride in years prior, due to shifting lineups and trying to create a defining sound, both of which changed dramatically in 1973 when they found the lineup that worked and when one of the co-leaders and main songwriters Roger Hodgson started using electric piano to fuel his creativity. This album is the result.

Seemed to work pretty well.

Hide in Your Shell, School, and Dreamer were all written by Roger Hodgson. Turns out he had written a lot of great material a few years earlier, when he was 19, including Dreamer and two of the best-known songs that the band would not record until several years later for Breakfast in America (the title track and “The Logical Song”). 

This interview with him is well worth reading. It shows that he already had formed a lot of pretty mature views for a 19 year old. 

His lyrics work especially well for teens and young adults who are starting to question their place in the world. That’s exactly where I was when this band was popular in the late 70s, and this album in particular bings to mind a very specific time and place in my life, and pleasant memories with one particular friend, who loved this band and this album in particular.