Friday, 16 September 2016

Supertramp "Crime Of The Century"1974 UK (50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time- Rolling Stone)

Supertramp "Crime Of The Century"1974 UK (50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time- Rolling Stone) 
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Being a teenager can be a hard and sometimes confusing time. A few years before my teen years began, my parents were involved in a somewhat lengthly and bitter divorce. On the day that my father moved out he gave me one of the greatest gifts I have received even to this day, his record collection. At the time I had no idea what a monumental gift this was, but something changed when I became a teenager. One day when I was about fourteen or so I stumbled across my Dad's record player in a box in the garage. I dusted it off, plugged it in, and then began my search through my dad's old records. The first things that grabbed my attention were albums that I had known all my life by the likes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Who, but as I went through the boxes I began to see albums for bands I knew very little about or not at all. At the bottom of one of the boxes was Supertramp's Crime of the Century. I remember just staring at it for a few minutes. The depiction of a man trapped behind prison bars instantly struck a chord. After a few more minutes of taking it all in, I put the album on. The album remained on that turntable for a good two weeks before I put anything else on. Supertramp had managed to capture the confusion, rebellion, and angst of being a teenager better than any of the other albums that I began to obsess over. It wasn't like Roger Waters' constant blaming of everyone but himself for his unhappiness like in Pink Floyd's The Wall nor was it the unabashed rage and animalistic spirit championed in Alice Cooper songs like Eighteen or Schools Out, Crime of the Century had a universal element to it that made it easy to relate to and more personal than the other albums of the like. 

“Do as they tell you to/ Don't want the devil to/ Come and pull out your eyes” 

Lyrically, all of the songs on Crime of the Century are built off of the anger and alienation that come from being a confused, angsty young man. The opening track, School, is a diatribe on exactly that. The next track, Bloody Well Right, continues this theme where Roger Hodgson blast “So you think your schooling's phoney, I guess it's hard not to agree” as he sets the opening tone of the song. Together the two tracks come off with an anti-conformity vibe that is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The track, Rudy, is an attempt to add a personal side to that definitive James Dean style bad-boy with its character study of the song's namesake. Not everything is as bleak and anger driven as these songs though. The album's main single, Dreamer, comes across as stressing that classical ethos where even though it may be impossible for your dreams to ever come true, its the fact that you try and never give up and keep that optimistic spirit that really matters. 

Musically, on Crime of the Century Supertramp play 70's radio-pop with strong progressive tendencies. Neither side of Supertramp is superior over the other and they seem to play off of each other. Whenever the band lay heavy on their prog-chops they are quick to revert to their more sensible pop side. This keeps the music interesting and fresh since there are many shifts in the music stylistically and in time signatures. The opener and closer of the album, School and Crime of the Century respectively, are the most progressive tracks. School begins with a lonesome harmonica that reinforces the image of being trapped behind bars before spacey chords and driving bass power the verse. Then the band really begins to show their chops with an amazing piano solo. Before Supertramp can go balls to the wall prog the 2nd track begins with its heavy blues influence shining through. Crime of the Century is rather similar to Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd where at first listen the track seems rather simplistic in its make up, but slowly begins to unveil itself after repeated listens. It begins as just a simple piano ballad but soon shows its teeth with a ripping guitar solo as it builds to its crescendo with strings and saxophone overlapping piano and pounding drums. 

As strong as this album is, it does have one downside: you begin to outgrow it. When I was 14 I listened to Crime of the Century constantly, now it only gets a few plays a month. When you are a teenager this album seems like a classic performance rooted in teen angst, but as you get older there becomes a disconnect. Since the lyrics are so rooted in the teenage experience it can seem a bit juvenile at times. Despite this sometime juvenile approach, Crime of the Century is one of the better albums to be fished out of the sea that is 70's progressive music and is Supertramp's best work....~

After their mentor and 's abandon, Hodgson and Davies had to re-start Supertramp all over from scratch, with the only assurance of a recording contract with their label A&M. The duo hired two ex-The Alan Bown! members: saxman and free-electron John Anthony Helliwell who had a high-pitched voice very similar to Hodgson's and the excellent bassist Dougie Thompson, whose bass would quickly become a very important element of Supertramp's new sound. They also hired Bob Siebenberg (later Bob C. Benberg) on drums and this would become the classic line-up of the group for years to come. This is the album that saw Rick Davies' rise as full-blown singer and his baritone vocals contrasts heavily with Hodgson and Helliwell's soprano voices, thus making this unique and instantly recognizable Supertramp sound. 
Probably knowing that this would be their last shot, they returned to the more progressive fold of their debut album, but created a full-blown concept album that stood the test of time. Apparently, and despite their delusions about their first two albums, the A&M management liked what they heard and gave Ken Scott a "carte blanche" and un-limited studio time to get the album the chance it deserved. Scott had been around for David Bowie and Elton John, and produced a sublime sounding album, with outstanding arrangements. Just listen to Elton's Madman Across The Water album on the Levon, title track and Indian summer tracks' string arrangements to understand how important Ken's involvement is important to the album's sound. The album was also graced with an iconic artwork with the absolutely spellbinding jail in the cosmos illustration, thus enhancing the album's youth alienation concept. 
But all of these details would amount to nothing, if the music on the album was anything less than flabbergastingly stupendous and the alternance of Hodgson & Davies song is one of the most inspiring ideas of the album. With that lone harmonica opening the wild School track (a rare Davies/Hodgson collaboration in songwriting), there are precious few albums starting so breathtakingly well. Indeed that song is the group's flagship with its constantly-changing patterns and many breaks and those schoolyard kids screams are spine-chillingly beautifully placed in the middle section. The blues-derived Bloody Well Right is a typical Davies tune that will boosts his confidence for the future endeavors. While a bit too-wordy, Hodgson counters with the spell-binding Hide In Your Shell, a flamboyant tune about shyness' implications. But if that wasn't awesome enough, Davies counters with the blood-curdling and spine-chilling Asylum, a pure bombastic tune about losing grasp of reality. Before one knew it, it was time to flip the album over. 
The second chapter opens with the only song I like that features Hodgson's taste for wanker melodies choruses (see Lady, Give A Little Bit, the BIA tt, Raining Again), but the song itself is awesome, especially with the outstanding Thompson bass line and the establishment accusation lyrics. The Hodgson unconditional fans will have to recognize that Davies also managed some incredibly beautiful songs, like the album centerpiece Rudy, a fantastic trip through the estranged boy escape-route from society (listen to these amazing string counterpoints that gives so much depth to the track). This epic is equally impressive as Fool's Overture, and not just in my humble opinion. The self-explanatory If Everyone Was Listening is a emotional last-chance cry before-alienation-warning, before the no-return point of the closing track. Indeed the title track is a splendid album finale where Rudy commits his no-coming-back gesture, no doubt his idea of a Crime Of The Century. The track's long double piano finale is out-of this world. 
This album will always have a huge spot in my heart as it was my first album ever acquired my hard-earned cash (newspaper delivery) and still one of my favorites; and it is responsible for thousands albums I have bought since. From the harmonica intro of School to the fade-out of the title-track this is a major work of art. This album was capital to me in my teens, as most of us related to the story of Rudy's alienation to his surrounding world. It is easier to point out the one slightly weaker number than list the outstanding ones: If Everyone is the only slight imperfection in here but it is still essential to the rest. It also took me some time to accept the wanker chorus of Dreamer, but the incredible bass line (courtesy of the awesome Thompson) behind made it pass. Absolutely essential listening and definitely in my top 10 albums.  by Sean Trane ....~ 

Most people have already done the honours of giving this a five star rating. Let me just add it is Supertramp's most complete masterpiece. It is their strongest album even though there are other Tramp albums deserving of a five star rating. ' School'' Hide in your Shell', ' Crime of the Century' and 'Rudy' are all epic tracks. There is not a bad song on the album. ' Dreamer' has dated perhaps but still enjoyable and on here they at last found a solid line up which was to last until the release of Famous Last Words. Rick Davies is a genius as he displays on recent Supertramp albums but what had to be recognised from COTC onwards was the importance of all band members creating a lethal coctail of sound which was to establish itself up to the early 80's. ....~ 

 Supertramp's beautiful, creative, timeless, diverse, brilliant masterpiece of artistic popular music. ...~

Crime of the Century is widely considered by prog listeners and commercial musicians alike to be one of the greatest classic works of art-rock ever created. Many prog listeners believe that artistic integrity and commercial appeal and their audiences are inherently incompatible; this is an album, along with Moving Pictures and OK Computor, that turn that assertion completely on its head, creating radio-friendly music that is simultaneously so creative that it endures the test of time. In fact, I'd say as a musician that it is probably one of the most creative and brilliant albums in my entire collection. 
The music here is comprised of delicately assorted combinations of rock, jazz, funk, blues, pop, and classical music, utilizing and blending sounds and musical devices from all of those genres to create a completely unique sounding work of art. As well, one of the things I appreciate most about this album is the variation with which these influences are mixed for each track. I don't think there is an album I have where the tracks have such huge differences in their overall sound between each track. And yet they all indeed sound like they're from the same band, same musicians and everything. There's so much depth to listen for in the band's orchestration of parts, especially now that I can hear it with a musician's ear, it's almost scary. Most of the harmonic structure is jazz-oriented, to my liking. 

I'll give a description of the musical and instrument devices in the first track School, just to give the reader an idea of the diversity they are in for: the opening track School starts off with a bluesy harmonica solo, with a haunting bass figure in the background. In comes the verse with chorused wah-guitar and atmospheric keyboard pads. Then an over-driven guitar rings out a high ringing harmonic drone, which crescendos to lead into a funk driven tutti section. This leads back into a soft jazz-organ playing haunting arpeggios (similar to what the chorused wah-guitar was playing previously), topped with a quick over-driven guitar duet. After the duet fades out, we still hear the soft jazz-organ atmosphere (now joined by the guitar) that is occasionally interrupted by a quick bass/tonal percussion arpeggio figure. The drums sneak in with a flam figure, which crescendos to an exciting tutti latin-jazz felt piano solo, the harmonica coming in the background a little. This leads into the chorus, which has a phat saxophone heavy jazz-funk sort of rock sound. This leads back into the verse, with the vocal melody used during the soft section earlier in the song, only this time with the driving Latin-jazz feel that had been established before the chorus. This climaxes with the singer suddenly by himself singing on the word "way" which fades out, and he says by himself, "you're comin' along." Then the instrumentalists all hit a phat last note with a little improv from the drums, guitar, and keybaord. The guitarist finds himself the last playing, ringing out his over-driven stuff again (not as high this time), which decrescendos... very much a concert sort of ending. But, just before the guitar is about to completely fade out, the second track begins with a bang. 

And this is all done in five and a half minutes. 

Indeed, the whole rest of this album carries out this sort of creativity in different ways. These guys are obviously incredible musicians and composers, and maybe some of the only true professions in the rock industry (as in knowing this much about music and conveying it so incredibly subtly in their work). This is the kind of album where I notice something I never noticed before in the music, even after listening to it for over half of my life. And if you had it on score, you could analyse the hell out of it for days and always find something incredible that you missed before. 

One of the glorious recordings of modern artistic music from the last century. Everyone who listens to any form of rock, jazz, pop, ec. should have a copy of this album in their home. And everyone who chooses to go into the music business related to those genres should have it as well. A staple work of progressive rock for the ages. Period. ....~

This is probably one of the less loved prog albums of all time. However, this is simply one of the best prog albums ever.
“Crime Of The Century” is the third studio album of Supertramp and was released in 1974. The line up on the album is Roger Hodgson, Rick Davies, John Anthony Helliwell, Dougie Thomson and Bob Siebenberg.
The first self titled Supertramp’s album was released in 1970, to no public or critical acclaim, the rest of the band are either fired, have a nervous breakdown, or jump from the ship. A second album was recorded “Indelibly Stamped”, in 1971, which if anything fared even worse than its predecessor. Both of these albums feature rather aimless songs featuring meandering solos and indifferent lyrics instantly forgettable. After the tour to promote, “Indelibly Stamped”, the three new recruits to the band are all fired leaving just the duo of Davies and Hodgson again. At this point, Stanley “Sam” August Miesegaes, the Dutch millionaire who was the financial support of the group, separates from the band.

Then, Davies and Hodgson bravely keep going recruiting new musicians, the saxophonist Helliwell, the drummer Siebenberg and perhaps the most important of all, Thomson, which came in on bass and also took over the business management of the band. At this point the band are gigging day to day to survive whilst writing new material for the proposed new album. In November of 1973 the band are moved to a farm in Somerset, England to work on the new material for the next album. The album was recorded at various English studio audios. The third album of Supertramp had the full weight of the A&M publicity machine behind them, coupled with some ground breaking and prestigious live concerts. Then the band becomes overnight sensations. The first single of the album “Dreamer”, was to peak at Number 13 in the British charts followed by the album itself which was in the Top Five by Christmas of that year.

While not properly a conceptual album, there is much recursion and referencing among the tracks. Lyrically, many of these tracks deal with themes of youth, isolation, loneliness and mental stability, leaving many to initially compare the group to Pink Floyd. So, we have education with “School”, dream with “Dreamer”, love with “Rudy”, shyness with “Hide In Your Shell” or authority with the title track. However, the musicianship and style of Supertramp is obviously distinct, which has become evident over the past four decades. Every track is instantly recognizable as Supertramp, and the album, as a whole, runs together perfectly well, as we can expect from all great albums.

The album starts with the haunting slow harmonica intro of the opening track “School”. It’s an amazing and fantastic song to open the album, one of their best, which lyrically touches the same subject matter which Hodgson will master later with “The Logical Song”. “Bloody Well Right” gives us the Supertramp’s first incorporation of their usual piano time signature. This song has the feel of a totally unique and groovy track that soon became one of the most popular songs of the album and would remain the band’s signature song for years to come. “Hide In Your Shell” is one of the best overall songs on the album, with perfect structure, dynamics, and just the right amount of effects at the right moments. It’s divided into four sections perfectly orchestrated and with the chorus of the singers it hits a fantastic climax. “Asylum” is a very beautiful progressive ballad with excellent lyrics that turns into a full-on dramatic rocker in the last two minutes. “Dreamer”, which starts off as a kind of childish tune with Hodgson’s vocals, soon the track grows and only ends up having a full arrangement around the end. It’s a simple track that manages to shine. While “Dreamer” seems to scoff at the wide-eyed optimist, “Rudy” takes the opposite approach of life wasted waiting for opportunity. It’s like a mini epic song which moves through sections of jazz, rock, and prog on its journey. This is really a great track. “If Everyone Was Listening” is a striking melancholic tone thanks yet again mostly to the piano. Although instruments like the saxophone also give out remarkable performances. The title track concludes the album as it starts with quick lyrical motif identifying some unknown evil force before going into methodical music sections with no further commentary. At the end you can even hear the harmonica line from “School”. This is really another great track.
Conclusion: “Crime Of The Century” is probably one of the most unknown progressive albums that can be called truly amazing. The sound of this album just takes you into another world. It’s one of the few albums I know that perfectly combines catchy songwriting with the epic darkness of the progressive rock. I don’t think any of Supertramp’s other albums come anywhere close to this. I love some of their other stuff too, but there is just something special about this album. Supertramp isn’t one of my favourite bands but this is one my favourite albums of all time. This album isn’t for just anyone. You need to have an open mind, and an appreciation for music that isn’t the norm. At the same time though, it isn’t an “out-of-whack” progressive album, it’s a work of art. This is really why I like progressive rock music. by... John Miles (Rebel) ...~

One of the most underappreciated albums in rock. The overall atmosphere of this excellent concept album is as beautiful as can be. Every song is a mini-musical. Hide in Your Shell is one of the best unknown gems in quasi-prog-rock, and the ending of the title song is one of the most haunting fade-outs I've ever heard. It's also nice to hear Dreamer in its proper context, instead of as a Top 40 hit. Along with Klaatu's "Hope" and 10CC's "Sheet Music," one of those album that everyone SHOULD have, but probably doesn't. ... by maani ...~ 

 have many fond memories of SUPERTRAMP and their music. I remember it like it was yesterday when I first heard "Crime Of The Century". I was visiting my brother in Boston (at the time I was around 15 years old) and the guy next door invited me in to listen to this cool new band. He proceeded to roll up a big fat one and give the record a spin. I was amazed at how different the music sounded; I had not heard anything like it before. "Bloody Well Right" really stayed with me for a while after that virgin listen. Although I can recall fondly all the great music that would come after that, I never got into the band as I did others of that time. It is now 2002 and nearly their entire catalog is available in the remastered form. I feel more like the new audience rather than the old classic rock fan after hearing these amazing recordings with the crisp and pristine sound. 

The listeners that were previously gained prior to the impact of "Crime Of The Century" became disappointed with the bands more mainstream rock direction. I personally feel it made them a better band and allowed for more diversification, thereby reaching a much larger audience. "Crisis? What Crisis?" was an earful of the prog-rock-pop combination, and a very strong statement that could have easily gained some hardliner prog heads back and bring onboard some new fans as well. "Sister Moonshine" served notice that they were not about to rebuild their foundation just to make it commercially ... well, not yet. "Even In The Quietest Moments" started to hint around that they were beginning to soften up a bit and change direction with more acoustic guitar flavorings, although it was a very strong release and good follow up to the previous release. "Fools Overture" was a masterstroke of musical genius clocking in at over 10 minutes. In fact, there were so many great songs on these four albums it is hard to keep track of them all. Some tracks would be become FM radio staples (and remain so today) and others huge hits on the AM radio side of the dial. There was enough mixture of genres in their sound for them to satisfy a large mix of admirers. The usage of piano, acoustic and electric guitars, soaring vocals, and all-around outstanding musicianship is brilliant on all four of these albums. The sound has become simply phenomenal with the remastering process. 

The combination of progressive rock and pop would prevail over the course of the first three releases. When the multi-platinum (by the 90s 18 million units were sold) "Breakfast In America" was released they became a full-blown rock-pop sensation, leaving all of their progressive influences behind. The featured instrument was the keyboards, when previously the guitar and keys had an equal measure of influence on all of the other releases. Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies voices played off each other beautifully, and their harmonies were so sweet and melodic. I think that they reached their peak working together on this album. 

After the huge triumph of their most successful album, the aftermath would result in creative burn out. I can see how it would be difficult to match the string of successful albums that they produced over the course of a five-year period. They were a literal musical juggernaut, but all good things must eventually come to end. These four albums stand as the most prolific and significant of the group's catalog. Each album stands on its own as classic renderings of rock, progressive rock, and Muzikman...~

 A Masterpiece? Bloody Well Right! 
After a 3-year break from releasing studio albums, with their third line-up, Supertramp (aka Messers Hodgson and Davies) unleashed their third album on an unsuspecting world. 

Unsuspecting, because the first two albums had hardly been international hits, with the first receiving very little interest - and various band members simply left or had nervous breakdowns under the pressure. 

"Crime of the Century", then, was a less meandering and more professionally polished affair than its predecessors - less Progressive Rock and more Progressive Pop in feel, with a kind of loose concept running through the album, and a production that's slicker than slick. 

It would be a complete mistake to put this album down as some kind of elaborate pop record, though, because once you get past the accessible melodies and intricately layered arrangements, there are songs that defy standard songwriting stuctures with compositional techniques and musical developments that are truly up there with the Prog Rock greats. 

Full of Doubt 

Lyrically, "School" reflects the doubt that was still inherent in the band members - and the fiery resolve not to follow the path from classroom to office. The dichotomy is well reflected in the music, with the melancholy harmonica giving a haunting blues train whistle, and a deep, dark organ subtly back-filling with a line that will be of more importance to the overall structure later in the piece. 

A picked guitar is soon joined by Hodgson's melancholy tenor as the first verse gets underway, a clarinet doing a passable imitation of a Cor Anglais. The verse ends mysteriously with guitar feedback sugueing into sounds of children in the playground and haunting atmospheric synth sounds. The feedback returns and intensifies, and a child's scream heralds the second verse - noting that there is no chorus in this song. 

The second verse sees the bass and percussion making their first appearance - over a minute and a half into the song. The flat four nature of this verse creates a simple but very satisfying texture - which is all broken up by the last line of the verse, as Hodgson howls the chilling line "But you're full of dooouuuubt!". 

An electric piano motif insinuates its way into our consciousness, the guitar feedback returns and other instruments pick up fragments of this motif, altering it, stretching it and generally playing mischievous games with it before joining forces for a bit of a boogie-fest that modulates smoothly a few times before diving into a dark and sensuosly heavy riff barking out the order "Don't do this and don't do that..." 

This piles straight into the final verse, in which the melancholy clarinet makes another appearance in the texture. 

"Bloody Well Right" comes as a bit of light relief after all that dark melancholy, with a jaunty little electric piano line leading the way to a "talking" guitar line over a solid bass pedal. This suddeny drops into a heavy riff that the Eagles may well have borrowed for "Victim of Love". 

Lyrically, the song is a continuation of the "We don't need no education" ethos of "School", and a bitch at the (over-)priveleged. 

Musically, it's a bit of a throwaway compared to the rest of the genius on this album - but the groove and sax solo are satisfying enough. 

"Hide In Your Shell", though, is where we get a bit more serious. The drama in the music is tangible as the lyrics unfold their tale of a paranoid mind, and the addition of the Theremin is simply spine-chilling. The contrasts between the various sections paints a dynamic picture full of lights, shades - and even colours, as various instruments shine through the texture, all expertly implanted in the correct place - but without any feel of surgical precision, rather a pure and organic unfolding and development of a brace of musical ideas, full of space where required, yet densely textured and richly musical. 

Above all of this, Hodgson sings with an impassioned, deeply soulful and emotional tone, without ever getting cloyed down with saccharine - his high tenor pushed to the edge of breaking in places, increasing in intensity as the song pans out, with intuitive backing harmonies. 

"Asylum" maintains this quality - the paranoid protaganist who was hiding in his shell now freaking out about the possibility of being locked up. The piano part plays like a simiplistic piece of "Classical" music, albeit with a soupcon of swing, and is quite intriguing to follow instead of the melody line - it's interesting to hear it develop and modulate underneath the vocals. 

As with School, at the end of the second verse, a new and darker musical idea threatens to break through - but Supertramp surprise us with music of an altogether more optimistic quality for something that sounds like a chorus in a big and massive sense - but quite clearly isn't! 

Also notable is the synth "orchestration", which is particularly artfully orchestrated. The bells in the final chorus really add a special something. 

The vocals get ever wilder and impassioned as the song progresses, and our "hero" appears to be losing his mind piece by piece - to the very final scream; "Not quite right!!!!". 

Really, this song justifies the pirce tag alone - but we get another side, pop-pickers! 

A chart hit, "Dreamer" does not let up on the musical quality for a second - despite the instantly accessible and insanely catchy melody and light bouncy electric piano, there's the slinky, sultry bassline and impossibly 1970s wah-wah to contend with - all fighting for a place in your awareness simultaneously, and when the lead vocals and harmonies get madly panned around the stereo picture, you just know that this song was made to be heard by an audiophile. 

See, it's not just a great and catchy pop song, it's an excercise in artful arrangements and wierd instrumental techniques - listen to the drums and the xylophone at the end. 

From here it just gets better. I won't cover anything in Rudy - just trust me, if you liked what you've heard (or read) so far, this one will blow your socks off. 

"If Everyone Was Listening" is a kind of respite of sorts from the onslaught of quality. The melancholy beginning gives way to optimism for a while - and the optimistic glow remains as a kind of halo around the ensuing song. 

The title track then closes the album with a bang - everything we've had so far, and the kitchen sink. The slow 6/8 feel of the piece gives it both a 3 time swing and a duple pulse that drives the Latimer-esque guitar solo to almost epic proportions - and then there's THAT piano fanfare and everything that follows Certif1ed ....~ 

Supertramp is a band I've known about since I first became interested in pop music. I can recall visiting a friend's house while still in elementary school and he let me listen to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". I saw the album cover for "Crime of the Century" and never forgot it. Supertramp, however, were not my taste in music. I remember hearing songs like "It's Raining Again" (catchy chorus but nerve grating vocals), "The Logical Song" (pretty good actually), "Bloody Well Right" (kind of good), "Give a Little Bit" (kind of catchy), and "Dreamer". That last song there was the reason why I never got into Supertramp. To me it was one of three most annoying songs on classic rock radio, along with War's "The low. Ry. Duh. Is a little lower" (like who the fudge cares?!) and that song that went, "Blinded by the light / Wrappped up like a douche / Another runner in the night". What were these people thinking to write such tripe like that? 
Strangely enough, I always associated Supertramp with Pink Floyd in my late elementary school days. Perhaps it was because "Money" and "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" and "Bloody Well Right" and "The Logical Song" seemed to have been concocted by the same cultural views of the same culture. The big difference was that by the time I was 16, I loved Pink Floyd but still wouldn't go near Supertramp. It would not be until 2016, when I had reached the ripe old age of 45, that I would finally permit a Supertramp album into my music library (three albums in fact as I ordered two more soon after). The change came after I went through a period of fascination with French Canadian 70's prog and I read that many English prog bands had achieved their first success in North America in Quebec. Bands like Genesis, Camel, Gentle Giant, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Supertramp were popular among the Quebecois. I had albums by all except for Supertramp and so I decided to give the band a try. 

"Crime of the Century" is the highest rated Supertramp album on PA and so I figured that was the best place to start, though I was soon dismayed to discover that the dreadful song "Dreamer" was on this album. The order arrived and I brought the disc home, plugging it into my iTunes library and dumping it onto my phone. Thus the journey began. 

I was surprised to recognize the first track "School". I had heard it before and perhaps it is the laughing, playing children that reminded me of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2". That and the theme of the English school system. The song certainly goes beyond the standard pop song, sometimes sparse and atmospheric, sometimes building towards a jaunty pop segment but then dropping abruptly into sparsity and quietude again. It's very well arranged and from this it's already easy to understand why Supertramp would be considered progressive. 

"Bloody Well Right" turned out to be my favourite and that darn chorus jammed itself into my brain for days. The song is the only one to feature a hard rock guitar sound and that's probably why I can take to this song so easily. 

"Hide in Your Shell" begins so candy pretty like that I get turned off right away each time it begins. But it does pick up and become more interesting as the music develops. My least favourite song on the album but still not a total write off. I much prefer "Asylum" which, like "School" reverts to quiet piano whenever the music builds to a climax. Richard Davies insane howls and hollers at the end fit right in with the music. 

I'll have to admit that listening to "Dreamer" on the album is not so bad and in fact the song goes through some twists and changes so that the annoying "Dreamer / Your nothing but a dreamer" is actually a small part of the song. The middle part where Richard Davies sings is much more enjoyable and more in tune with what Supertramp seemed to be trying to do with their music at the time. There's also a lot of subtle instrumentation I can hear on the CD that I missed by walking away from the radio every time the song came on at work back in the 90's. 

A word of mention should go towards "Rudy", which starts off pretty quietly but builds again in a beautiful fashion and really hooks me when the 70's strings come in in the last 3 minutes or so. When Davies and Hodgeson trade vocal lines the song really reaches its apex. 

The album overall intrigues. It's not highly technical prog nor is it really very rock-like except for that guitar in "Bloody Well Right". There's a lot of piano and organ and not much guitar. The drums and bass also are pretty standard for the day and neither would make it to a list of top ten for the instruments. But the song-writing, and the musical construct shows great creativity and attention to detail. Supertramp show that they can alternate between the loud and the soft within a single song. The whole band can come in to hit a single note and then drop out, leaving just the piano or organ. There are rises and swells, peaks, and sudden punctuations of silence. The songs are not entirely predictable and tease by going toward straightforward pop but only briefly. It's an album for those who can appreciate very fine song writing and crafty music that doesn't aim to be loud and technical but rather cleverly creative and full of poignancy and emotion. 

The eight songs on the album alternate between Roger Hodgeson's and Richard Davies' lead vocals. I personally enjoy Richard Davies songs more but not so much more. I just prefer the timbre of his voice more over Hodgeson's. The piano parts are often skillfully composed and sometimes a stand out feature in a song, like the closing of the title track. 

I will admit that because the music doesn't rock out except for on "Bloody Well Right", Supertramp don't appeal to me as much as the other bands mentioned above. However, that doesn't stop me from appreciating the artistic merit and musical talents on this album. I'll give it a solid four stars, hesitating with that one extra FragileKings ...~ 

'Crime Of The Century' is the third studio album of Supertramp and was released in 1974. It's the first Supertramp's album to feature its classic line up and was co-produced by Ken Scott, an English experienced record producer and recording engineer, who previously worked with other famous artists and bands like David Bowie and The Beatles. 

The line up on 'Crime Of The Century' is Roger Hodgson (vocals, guitar, keyboards and pianos), Rick Davies (vocals, keyboards and harmonica), John Anthony Helliwell (vocals, saxophones and clarinets), Dougie Thompson (bass) and Bob Siebenberg (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Christine Helliwell, Vicky Siebenberg and Scott Gornham (backing vocals) on 'Hide In Your Shell', an unaccredited and unknown street musician (musical saw) on 'Hide In Your Shell' and Ken Scott (water gong) on 'Crime Of The Century'. 

While not properly a conceptual album, there is much recursion and referencing among the tracks. Lyrically, many of these tracks deal with themes of youth, isolation, loneliness and mental stability, leaving many to initially compare the group to Pink Floyd. So, we have education with 'School', dream with 'Dreamer', love with 'Rudy', shyness with 'Hide In Your Shell' or authority with the title track. However, the musicianship and style of Supertramp is obviously distinct, which has become evident over the past four decades. Every track is instantly recognizable as Supertramp, and the album, as a whole, runs together perfectly well, as we can expect from all the greatest albums. 

'Crime Of The Century' has eight tracks. All songs were written by Hodgson and Davies. The first track 'School' has lead vocals by Hodgson and Davies. It's an amazing and fantastic song to open the album. I always loved this song, and as far as I can remember this was the first song I heard from the group. For me, it's one of the best songs composed by this fantastic duo. The second track 'Bloody Well Right' has lead vocals by Davies. It's the second song of the album released as a single, after 'Dreamer'. For the type of music of Supertramp, we may say this track is almost a hard rock song with a little funky rhythm. Despite be a very good song, this isn't one of my favourite songs on the album. The third track 'Hide In Your Shell' has lead vocals by Hodgson. This is without any doubt one of the highest points of the album, and consequently, it's one of my favourite songs too. This song is a real masterpiece of the melodic progressive rock with a supreme musical melodic structure. It's one of the best progressive melodic songs ever made. The fourth track 'Asylum' has lead vocals by Davies and Hodgson. It's an interesting and nice melodic song mostly performed on piano. It's a song very well composed with good orchestration, but like 'Bloody Well Right', isn't also one of my favourite songs on the album. The fifth track 'Dreamer' has lead vocals by Hodgson and Davies. It's the song chosen to be the hit single of 'Crime Of The Century'. It's an irresistible melodic song that became a big hit, reaching the top of the charts. Its impact was so big that we can say that 'Dreamer' was one of the most popular singles made by any progressive band. It only can be compared with 'Money' of Pink Floyd. It's the pop touching on the album. The sixth track 'Rudy' has lead vocals by Davies and Hodgson. It's another great song and it's the lengthiest too. It's one of the most progressive, sophisticated and elaborated songs on the album. It has rhythm changes and instrumental breaks, which makes of it a fantastic progressive track. The seventh track, 'If Everyone Was Listening' has lead vocals by Hodgson. It's probably the most melodic and beautiful song on the album. It has a light and easy listening tune and beautiful vocal harmonies. The orchestration is also really beautiful. It's the living proof that it's possible compose very beautiful songs with great quality. The eighth track is the title track, 'Crime Of The Century'. It has lead vocals by Davies. It's the song which closes the album, perfectly. This is another highlight on the album and it's also one of my favourite songs. For many, this is also its best track. It's the magnum opus of the album. It's a wonderful song with an orchestration completely divine. This is one of the best final tracks I've ever listen on any album. What a song! 

Conclusion: As I said before, 'Crime Of The Century' was my first introduction to Supertramp. It's a great progressive melodic album where many of the songs have some complex structures with strong melodies. 'Crime Of The Century' is without any doubt one of the most progressive albums of the group and it's also one of their best musical workings. It's one of the landmarks of the 70's and is among some of the best progressive studio albums ever made. The sound of 'Crime Of The Century' just takes you into another world. It's one of the few albums I know that perfectly combines catchy songwriting with the epic darkness of the progressive rock music. I don't think any of Supertramp's other albums come anywhere close to this. I love some of their other stuff too, but there is just something special about this album. It isn't simply a progressive rock album. It's a piece of art. This is really why I like progressive rock music. 

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*) VianaProghead ...~ 

Supertramp came into their own on their third album, 1974's Crime of the Century, as their lineup gelled but, more importantly, so did their sound. The group still betrayed a heavy Pink Floyd influence, particularly in its expansive art rock arrangements graced by saxophones, but Supertramp isn't nearly as spooky as Floyd -- they're snarky collegiate elitists, an art rock variation on Steely Dan or perhaps a less difficult 10cc, filled with cutting jokes and allusions, best heard on "Bloody Well Right." This streak would later flourish on Breakfast in America, but it's present enough to give them their own character. Also present is a slight sentimental streak and a heavy fondness for pop, heard on "Dreamer," a soaring piece of art pop that became their first big hit. That and "Bloody Well Right" are the concise pop moments on the record; the rest of Crime of the Century is atmospheric like Dark Side of the Moon, but with a lighter feel and a Beatles bent. At times the album floats off into its own world, with an effect more tedious than hypnotic, but it's still a huge leap forward for the group and their most consistent album outside of that 1979 masterwork, Breakfast in Stephen Thomas Erlewine ..~ 


Surprise, everyone, I realized as I started doing the cue for this week that I accidentally put in concept albums for the entire week. So, this week's Concept Album Week. Today, we're going to talk about what might perhaps be the most criminally underrated band to ever have sold fucktons of albums and have one of their albums be the best-selling English-language record in France (yes, this is very specific, but bear with me): that would be art rock band Supertramp. 

Supertramp is my fucking jam; Breakfast In America is probably in my top 50 or top 40 (definitely in my top 100 though) favorite albums ever, and I'd have trouble knowing anyone who'd actually consider "The Logical Song" bad (assuming I could come upon anyone who heard it): back in the latter end of the 70's, they were a really huge sensation, their albums selling better than their own singles. Hmm, maybe I was wrong about people caring more about punk in the late 70's than they did prog. Maybe post-punk stayed underground until Blondie put out "Heart Of Glass". 

Originally, however, Supertramp was a prog band that didn't sell shit, because their first two records (the former, simply named Supertramp, is honestly really goddamn good, you should check it out if you're interested in more obscure peak-era prog) came out in 1970 and 1971 respectively, at a time when King Crimson was still a thing (yes I know they barely sold for shit but it's KC) and prog was in full force, which meant they were quickly swept in the undercurrent. 

Most of the members left in the wake of their second record Indelibly Stamped, leaving only founding member/vocalist/keyboardist Rick Davies and vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist/bassist Roger Hodgson, who got to work getting new members and recording a third album. That new album, Crime Of The Century, kicked success in the ass and shot up to #4 on the UK Charts, making it their big commercial breakthrough a bit all over the world. 

Let's see if it's good. 

The Album 

Oh, sorry, did I say this was a concept album? Sorry for the misunderstanding, but there actually isn't one. More precisely, members of the group have insisted that Crime Of The Century had no concept, and that, aside from overarching themes of loneliness and mental stability, and a minor link between the first two songs, "School" and "Bloody Well Right", it was up to listeners to interpret a connection between the songs. 

That certainly didn't stop people from spreading around the possible concept of the album, but I'll only briefly talk about it, since it doesn't have much bearing on the record's quality itself: the main gist of it is that it talks about someone named Rudy, a student who grows so mad at the system and the fact that no one seeks to change it that he hides in a solitary mental shell and gets incarcerated in a mental asylum. The latter part of the album involves his getting out and eventually reluctantly going with the flow, sad that he was unable to make a difference either. 

It works, but since this albeit common interpretation doesn't directly play upon the album itself, it's not much more than an interesting tidbit. What is relevant, however, is the music, which is really damn good. I'm a fairly big fan of Supertramp myself (I got Breakfast In America on vinyl, and I will remain proud of that even with one of my brothers' disapproval), and this album doesn't disappoint in displaying their brand of art rock, which heavily involves the piano. 

Now, let's go into the opener: "School" begins with a lone harmonica part, perfectly setting the tone for this record's foreboding atmosphere. It definitely takes its sweet time (almost 2 minutes) before going into the song proper, and even when the track sets in, it fades back out for more build-up, but those wandering Pink Floyd-like guitar tones, along with the sound of school children in the background, work marvelously. The song itself is wonderfully frenetic, and mean as hell around the end. Very good opener. 

"Bloody Well Right" demonstrates an aspect of Supertramp I like a lot also: they sometimes take inspiration from groovy barroom ragtime and/or jazz tunes (melodic jazz, don't expect Bitches Brew), and the piano technique that is required to successfully channel such a thing is always there in spades. Other bits of the song are more oriented towards hard rock, but the song manages to make the translation between both genres with ease. 

We then get to "Hide In Your Shell": it's got all sorts of great tones, and, just like "Bloody Well Right", it shows lots of grooviness and cool sounds. My one complaint would probably be that it's kind of long (clocking in almost at 7 minutes), but I'd let this one pass because the melodies are exciting enough to satisfy me for that length. "Asylum" lasts, likewise, almost 7 minutes, but yet again, this pseudo-uplifting (they had a talent for making cheerful songs about pessimistic subjects) track that turns into a full-on dramatic rocker in the last two minutes manages to bring in enough to somewhat warrant its length. 

We get to the second half of the album with "Dreamer", which starts off as a kind of childish tune with Roger Hodgson's vocals and some keyboard playing, but the track grows into its own thing via overdubs and other parts being thrown into it: it only ends up having a full arrangement around the end, but the optimism of the track manages to shine through even when there is little backbone other than the keyboard playing. 

After that comes the longest song on the record, "Rudy": surprisingly enough, this one isn't a problem at all in terms of length. In fact, this song feels almost like a mini-epic, featuring some very solid piano playing and definitely not any cheerfulness. The first half is more reminiscent of Pink Floyd (but you know, far from plagiaristic), while the second digs straight into the groove aspect of the group and gives us an amazing, driving guitar line that compliments the rest of the tune up until the last minute, where violins handle the job of closing out the song (and they're very good, in fact). 

"If Everyone Was Listening" is a striking melancholic tune (that's the part where Rudy supposedly gives up, after all), thanks yet again mostly to the piano, although instruments like the saxophone also give out remarkable performances. This song is also, sometimes, reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but those continual resemblances are understandable: Dark Side Of The Moon came out one year before, so chances are they picked up some production tricks from that album (even if, admittedly, the "let's make our album sound full as shit without actually putting anything in there" technique is something only Alan Parsons managed to master). 

But with all those songs ranging from very good to great, my vote for best track will have to go to the closing title track, the one song from the album which I always come back to: the vocal part is very good, yes, but the main attraction here is the stellar instrumental, playing out the album with an unforgettable sprawling flourish, which suits perfectly this album's pseudo-conceptual edge (it may not have an explicit story, but it sure has a progression that would lead you to think that). Along with that, take a close listen at the end and you can hear the harmonica line from "School"! 


Hmm... now, here's an interesting paradox. This is, for sure, one of the better Supertramp albums, but this is the one I come back to the least out of all the ones I have listened to, and even then, I generally focus on the title track. That would probably be because, aside from the two first songs and the last, this is the pure "Supertramp formula": piano-centric art rock. In their subsequent releases, they would refine their style and fuse it with other genres: while they only ended up equaling and surpassing Crime Of The Century with Breakfast In America, those other albums make up for the lesser quality by having much more recognizable identities (and more recognizable songs!). 

This must have grown off me after this much time, but growing off does not necessarily a bad album make. This could perhaps be the hardest Supertramp album to get into if you've gotten into them via their more successful and more developed records, but if you manage to get into it, you'll come out with at least two masterpieces (the opening and closing numbers), if not an entire record's worth of great songs (well, either that or 6 great songs and 2 very good, but overlong ones). It's no Starless And Bible Black (which came out the same year), but it's certainly 

When it comes to today’s generation of pop groups, it’s the letter B that gets all the glory when it comes to naming influences. The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds tend to get the most credit for inspiring musicians to pick up an instrument and start emulating; from there, there’s Big Star, the Bee Gees, and Badfinger. 

These are pretty obvious (and valid) picks, all of them. 

There are, however, some influences who’ve quite a bit of influence as well, even though they don’t tend to get mentioned in the same breath on quite as regular a basis. 

You’ve got your Queen, who produced quite a bit more than just “We Will Rock You”, “We Are the Champions”, and “Another One Bites the Dust”. You’ve got your 10CC, who said “I’m Not in Love”, then waxed lyrical on “The Things We Do for Love”. And, of course, you can never forget ELO, mostly because Jeff Lynne won’t let you. 

But you’ve also got your Supertramp. 

Album-oriented radio, as it’s done to countless other artists, has diminished the impact of Supertramp over the years, though, leaving the casual listener with the impression that the band had a few good tracks, but, ultimately, not much else. Most folks who didn’t come of age during the ‘70s probably couldn’t even tell you the name of a single Supertramp album, though they might ask, “Does The Very Best of Supertramp count?” 

But if actually you lived through the ‘70s, then not only would the phrase Breakfast in America erupt through your lips, but you could probably identify its album cover from half a block away. 

A&M Records has taken to re-issuing the band’s seminal work in re-mastered form, and, when you’re talking about Supertramp, “seminal” begins with their third album. 

I’m not sure how this piece of trivia got past me for lo these many years, but until researching the band’s history for this review, I was unaware that Supertramp actually got its start courtesy of a young Dutch millionaire named Stanley August Miesegaes. Miesegaes, it seems, was friends with Rick Davies, and, though it sounds suspiciously like an apocryphal anecdote, the story goes that, in 1969, the poor little rich boy offered Davies the opportunity to form a band and put the cost on his tab. 

After an ad in Melody Maker, Supertramp was born. And, then, after two not-very-successful albums (a self-titled debut, followed by Indelibly Stamped, neither of which warranted re-mastering in A&M’s eyes), Miesegaes withdrew his financial support, leaving Supertramp without much in the way of money or fans. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. 

But then 1974 rolled around, and the band released the aforementioned third album, Crime of the Century. And unlike its predecessors, Crime of the Century had far less in the way of prog-rock noodlings, instead showing the band evolving toward more of a pop sound. Indeed, this was the album that produced “Bloody Well Right” and “Dreamer”; it also contains the lesser-known album track “If Everyone Was Listening” a song which, though it didn’t make the cut for the band’s first best-of, scored inclusion on Volume 2. 

Next up was Crisis? What Crisis? , which showed the band finding their way closer and closer to the middle ground between prog and pop, though it doesn’t possess any song that screams “hit single”. Certainly, the album possesses a stellar pair of openers in the form of “Easy Does It” and “Sister Moonshine”. “Ain’t Nobody But Me” may not be any great shakes, but “A Soapbox Opera” more than makes up for it. Meanwhile, Jellyfish missed an opportunity by not covering “Poor Boy”. (In fact, when you come right down to it, when you look at their song arrangements after listening to these re-issues, it becomes clear that Jellyfish were probably just as inspired by Supertramp as they were by Queen, or anyone else for that matter.) 

Even In The Quietest Moments followed much the same format as its predecessor, although it did remedy one error right up front, providing the band with an unforgettable hit single in the form of “Give A Little Bit” as the album’s opener. The instrument that graces the album cover is no coincidence because the material is almost entirely piano-based. Although some of the songs are a bit long (the album only has seven songs, and four of them are over 7 minutes in length), each track is a pop symphony unto itself. “Fool’s Overture”, the album’s closer, is positively epic in scale (10+ minutes), with a keyboard bit somewhere around the 3-minute mark that may or may not have been cribbed by the Buggles for their song “Living in the Plastic Age”. 

Still, as strong as Even in the Quietest Moments may have been, it was its follow-up that was the band’s defining moment. Of course, it was also the watershed album in the band’s career, because, y’know, how can you top Breakfast In America? 

The answer, inevitably, is that you can’t. 

And Supertramp didn’t. 

When they finally got around to releasing the follow-up studio album, Famous Last Words, the best song they could muster as a single was “It’s Raining Again”. No, it’s not a bad song, but when you compare it to Breakfast in America‘s “The Logical Song”, “Goodbye Stranger”, and “Take the Long Way Home”, it’s certainly not up to those standards. 

Neither history nor the majority of Supertramp’s fans would deny that Breakfast in America is the strongest album in the band’s discography. From “Gone Hollywood” all the way through the grand finale, “Child of Vision”, this is an unabashedly melodic record. Almost entirely free of pretense and limited in pomposity, it’s just good old-fashioned pop music. It might not be a generation-defining album like Frampton Comes Alive, but very few individuals escaped the ‘70s without having the melodies from at least one or two of this album’s tracks stuck in the back of their mind for the rest of their lives. 

It’s pretty easy to rank these four re-issues. Start with Breakfast in America and work your way back. And ignore anyone who says you only need a best-of collection. Once you’ve actually heard it, you’ll find that, unlike the albums that came before and after it, Breakfast in America is absolutely indispensable. 

Still, it’s a shame about the name, don’t you think? I mean, honestly: Supertramp? Even now, that’s got to rank as one of the 10 worst band names ever....Classic Rock Review...~ 

An occasional series. 

The low wail of the harmonica rose and sang to me as I sat in the basement of my uncle’s home in Mead. It was 1974, and I had just entered high school. My brother was with me, and my older cousins were playing us their latest musical find, Supertramp’s “Crime of the Century.” 

I was 15, just starting to feel my way through life, and I so identified with the words of these songs, and it was as if Supertramp had somehow gotten inside of my head and read my thoughts. 

“School,” the album’s opening song, led out with the harmonica for almost a full minute before the vocals of co-lead singer Roger Hodgson began to tell the story, about his experience going to school. Conformity. Don’t question authority. “They tell you not to hang around and learn what life’s about. And to grow up just like them.” 

I wouldn’t understand what conformity meant for years to come, or that going through a public school system was designed to produce a certain kind of kid end-product. But I did know enough to identify with the feelings of fear, confusion, competition, and all of the rest. 

My love of this album continued through the decade. Just out of Mead High School in Spokane, I was hired for a Spokane Falls Community College work-study job, and I saved all of my wages to buy a high fidelity stereo. 

The first album I bought? “Crime of the Century,” only I bought the expensive “Original Master Recording” version – $20 was a lot of money almost 40 years ago. 

By this time, I was 19, and on my new stereo I was connecting with different songs from the album – “Hide in Your Shell” was especially hitting home. The song’s lyrics “But what you see is just illusion,” “You’re surrounded by confusion,” and “To feel that you are alone” described my interior condition, one of wondering what life was all about. Because I wasn’t figuring it out very well and I’d taken to hiding the real me, just like in the song. 

On April 15, 1979, Supertramp’s tour visited the Spokane Coliseum to introduce their new album, “Breakfast in America.” As I think back now, it’s hard to believe I’d never been to a concert before. Supertramp was my first. 

I hadn’t bought their latest yet, but most of the music they played came from the album I loved so much. “Asylum.” “If Everyone was Listening.” “Dreamer.” “Rudy.” This latter song, one of my all-time favorites, commenced with its singular, crisp piano notes while the fog rolled out and a movie started projecting on a screen behind the band. 

Supertramp’s concert finale was the titular song from “Crime of the Century.” Once again, the screen lit up with images, this time displaying a film of slow movement through a galaxy of stars. As the five-minute song started to reach its climax with the sax and the piano crying to one another, an image started to appear in the distance, indefinable at first, but slowly taking shape and growing until it filled the entire screen. The outline of a prison cell window, fingers grasping the bars. The perfect picture for this album, the representation of our condition, our humanity hemmed in inside of ourselves. 

In the decades that followed, I didn’t think much about my favorite adolescent album until this past summer when I attended Lauren Gilmore’s book launch in downtown Spokane. In reading from her “Outdancing the Universe” collection, Lauren recited her poem, “My Dad’s Favorite Supertramp Album,” and then I remembered. Forgot again, but then remembered again when a fellow college student talked about listening to Supertramp with her father. I downloaded the album from iTunes. 

As I’ve re-listened to the music, I’ve come to realize what this album had meant to me back in my youth. By speaking of feeling alone, trapped, and maybe even being crazy, Supertramp had paradoxically helped tell me that I wasn’t alone, wasn’t trapped, and that I wasn’t crazy. It helped me, back then. It still resonates. 

And by hearing two daughters speak of their father’s love for “Crime of the Century,” I’ve realized that I wasn’t the only kid in the 1970s who’d understood its Deniston...~ 

Όταν ακούτε για έναν concept progressive rock δίσκο που με τους στίχους του πραγματεύεται θέματα όπως η καταπίεση των μαθητών στο σχολείο, η παραφροσύνη, ο πόλεμος, η μοναξιά και η απάθεια, τι σας πρωτοέρχεται στο μυαλό; Αν απαντήσατε το "The Wall" των Pink Floyd είναι απολύτως λογικό, όχι όμως και απολύτως σωστό. Γιατί περίπου πέντε χρόνια πριν την κυκλοφορία αυτού του μνημειώδους, το δίχως άλλο, δίσκου, οι Supertramp είχαν προλάβει να κλέψουν τα πρωτεία με το "Crime Of The Century". 

Το συγκρότημα που φτιάχτηκε από τους Richard Davies και Roger Hodgson, αρχικά με τη στήριξη (λέγεται και χρηματοδότηση) ενός Ολλανδού επιχειρηματία, είχε ήδη δύο, μάλλον αποτυχημένους, δίσκους στο ενεργητικό του πριν την εν λόγω κυκλοφορία. Ψάχνοντας ακόμα τον ήχο του και βολοδέρνοντας σε φλύαρα progressive και ελάχιστα εντυπωσιακά μονοπάτια, το συγκρότημα βρισκόταν μεταξύ φθοράς και αφθαρσίας πριν ανασυνταχθεί με την προσθήκη νέων μελών και κυρίως του σημαντικότατου, όπως η Ιστορία απέδειξε, John Helliwell στα πνευστά. Η τρίτη και πιο κρίσιμη, όπως όλα έδειχναν, κυκλοφορία τους έμελλε να είναι όχι μόνο η πιο ποιοτική που θα ηχογραφούσαν ποτέ, αλλά και αυτή που θα έβαζε τις βάσεις για την τεράστια εμπορική επιτυχία που ακολούθησε και είχε ως κορύφωση το "Breakfast In America". Τόλμησαν να απλοποιήσουν τον ήχο τους, προσθέτοντας όμως γερές δόσεις Beatl-ικών μελωδιών, επενδύοντας ταυτόχρονα σε ένα χαλαρό concept που εστίαζε στην πικρόχολη απαισιοδοξία. Αν και η έννοια της ενιαίας ιστορίας δεν υπάρχει εδώ, στο βαθμό τουλάχιστον που τη βρίσκουμε σε δίσκους όπως για παράδειγμα το προαναφερθέν "The Wall", παρ' όλα αυτά δε λείπει η συνοχή και η αφηγηματική μορφή του άλμπουμ. 

Η έναρξη του δίσκου με την κλασική, πλέον, εισαγωγή της φυσαρμόνικας για το "School", την πρώτη επιτυχία που θα σημείωναν οι Supertramp, είναι εντυπωσιακή. Οι τολμηροί, για την εποχή, στίχοι καταπιάνονται με το αυστηρό εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα της Μ. Βρετανίας και τη μαζοποίηση των μαθητών. Τα falsetto φωνητικά του Hodgson σε κερδίζουν εξαρχής, ενώ είναι πραγματικά απορίας άξιο πώς ένα τραγούδι που αλλάζει τόσους πολλούς ρυθμούς τόσο συχνά, μπόρεσε ταυτόχρονα να είναι και τόσο εμπορικό. Τα πλήκτρα ήδη φαίνεται ότι θα κυριαρχήσουν σε σχέση με την κιθάρα, χαϊδεύοντας έτσι ακόμα περισσότερο τα αυτιά. Hodgson και Davies εναλλάσσονται σε φωνή και keyboards (με τον πρώτο να αναλαμβάνει και την κιθάρα), κάτι που θα τηρηθεί καθ' όλη τη διάρκεια του άλμπουμ, ενώ αναφέρονται και ως οι αποκλειστικοί συνθέτες στα πρότυπα των συγγραφικών διδύμων Lennon/McCartney ή Jagger/Richards, παρόλο που είναι φανερό, λίγο ως πολύ, ποιος είχε πραγματικά γράψει τι. 

Το "Bloody Well Right" θα ανεβάσει τις στροφές, όντας το πιο rocker (ας πούμε) τραγούδι του δίσκου, και θα δημιουργήσει μία ευχάριστη ατμόσφαιρα που έρχεται σε πλήρη αντίθεση με τον κυνισμό των στίχων. Εδώ για πρώτη φορά αναλαμβάνουν και ιδιαίτερα ενεργό ρόλο τα πνευστά του Helliwell. Το ρυθμικό "Hide In Your Shell", με όπλο το κολλητικό ρεφρέν, συνεχίζει την αφήγηση για να αποτελέσει την καλύτερη δυνατή σύνδεση με το κλειστοφοβικό "Asylum". Η ατμόσφαιρα που δημιουργεί το τελευταίο πιστώνεται σε μεγάλο βαθμό στη φωνή του Davies που, αν και υπολείπεται σε χαρακτηριστική χροιά σε σχέση με αυτή του Hodgson, αποδεικνύει εδώ ότι δεν υστερεί καθόλου σε εκφραστικότητα. Παίρνοντας το ρόλο του πρωταγωνιστή που ζει στα πρόθυρα της παράνοιας, ερμηνεύει με εκπληκτικά ρεαλιστικό και πειστικό τρόπο τη δεύτερη (χρονικά) εξαιρετική στιγμή του δίσκου. 

Καθόλου τυχαία μετά το βαρύτερο, τόσο σε ήχο όσο και περιεχόμενο, τραγούδι ακολουθεί μία σχεδόν παιδική σύνθεση, όπως εξάλλου όφειλε να είναι, έχοντας την ονομασία "Dreamer". Ακόμα και σε αυτήν τη, φαινομενικά, απλή pop τσιχλόφουσκα, η δομή του τραγουδιού, τα πολλαπλά φωνητικά και η πολυεπίπεδη ενορχήστρωση αναδεικνύουν μία διαφορετική ποιότητα στο τραγούδι. 

Η μεγαλύτερη σύνθεση του άλμπουμ έχει τίτλο "Rudy", είναι διάρκειας επτά περίπου λεπτών και ακολουθεί τη φιλοσοφία του "song within a song". Ξεκινάει και κλείνει σα μία τυπική μπαλάντα με το πιάνο σε πρώτο πλάνο. Στα μισά όμως ένα βραδυφλεγές jamάρισμα οδηγεί τη σύνθεση σε τελείως διαφορετικούς κόσμους, απογειώνοντας το κομμάτι για να επαναφέρει τελικά στα προηγούμενα και να κάνει τη μετάβαση προς το λυρικό "If Everyone Was Listening" ομαλή. 

Το προαναφερθέν προετοιμάζει μελαγχολικά τον ακροατή για την κορύφωση του κατηγορητηρίου που υφαίνουν σχολαστικά οι Supertramp από το πρώτο δευτερόλεπτο και θα αποδοθεί πολύ γλαφυρά στο ομώνυμο τραγούδι μέσα από τους στίχους "Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory? / Rip off the masks and lets see / But that's not right - oh no, what's the story? / There's you and there's me". Ο δίσκος θα κλείσει με το outro του εν λόγω τραγουδιού να αποτελεί μία ακόμα αναφορά στο progressive παρελθόν τους. 

Διαθέτοντας ένα λυρισμό που παραπέμπει στις καλές στιγμές των Genesis και μία ατμοσφαιρικότητα που θα μπορούσε να ανήκει στους Pink Floyd, οι Supertramp κατάφεραν να συγγράψουν τραγούδια με την έννοια που οι Beatles προσέδωσαν στον όρο. Η ταμπέλα του prog rock είναι πολύ στενή και πολύ γενική ταυτόχρονα για να αποδώσει πλήρως τη μουσική τους. Ανήκουν σε μία ξεχωριστή σχολή που συνδημιούργησαν με τους Barclay James Harvest και το "Crime Of The Century" στέκει περήφανος εκπρόσωπός τηςΚώστας Σακκαλής ...~ 
Line-up / Musicians
Richard Davies / lead & backing vocals, keyboards, harmonica
- Roger Hodgson / lead & backing vocals, guitar, pianos
- John Anthony Helliwell / saxophones, clarinets, backing vocals
- Dougie Thomson / bass
- Bob Siebenberg / drums, percussion

- Christine Helliwell / backing vocals (3)
- Scott Gorham / backing vocals (3)
- Vicky Siebenberg / backing vocals (3)
- Anonymous street musician / saw (3)
- Ken Scott / water gong (8)
- Richard Hewson / string arrangements

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. School (5:35)
2. Bloody Well Right (4:26)
3. Hide In Your Shell (6:52)
4. Asylum (6:30)
Side 2
5. Dreamer (3:19)
6. Rudy (7:07)
7. If Everyone Was Listening (4:05)
8. Crime Of The Century (5:20) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..







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“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958

“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958