‘Breakfast In America’: Supertramp Dine At Rock’s Top Table

The album was platinum in America within four months and contained four irresistible singles.

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Breakfast In America Supertramp

Supertramp were the masters of overnight success that took years. The British band were formed in 1969 and released their self-titled debut album the following year, gradually building a loyal following with their sophisticated rock sound. Six years on, and with an evolved line-up, they had their first UK hit single with “Dreamer,” and first Top 10 success with its parent album Crime Of The Century. But on March 29, 1979, as they marked their tenth anniversary, their world truly changed with the release of Breakfast In America.

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The band had set the scene for their elevation to album rock’s top division by meticulously building their transatlantic audience. Even In The Quietest Moments, released in April 1977, went gold in the US just three months later. That was just before its signature song “Give A Little Bit” made the Top 20 there, as they toured the country extensively. The album was also their best-selling to date in many other countries.

Listen to Breakfast In America right now.

But it was Breakfast In America, the group’s sixth LP release, that saw the songwriting partnership of Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson reach full commercial throttle. Advertised by the lead single “The Logical Song,” also released in March 1979, the Supertramp sound was now entirely at ease with its great crossover potential. In co-producing with Peter Henderson, the band created a sound that won over pop radio around the world. It was a hit on both FM and AM formats in the country that the album was, cannily, named after, and where they now made their home, in Los Angeles.

“The Logical Song” became the first of four irresistible singles from the set, hitting the Top 10 in both the UK and US. It also topped the charts in Canada and gave the LP the perfect launchpad. Breakfast In America was gold in the States by April 9 and platinum by May 9, even before its title track became a second consecutive Top 10 winner in their home country. On May 19, the album started an aggregate six-week at the US summit, also hitting No.1 in Norway, Austria, Canada, Australia and France.

The subsequent singles “Goodbye Stranger” and “Take The Long Way Home” kept Supertramp on radios and turntables worldwide for the rest of the year, as the band’s tireless road work continued. Their show in late November at the Pavilion in Paris would be recorded as a permanent record of that touring season, released as the live album Paris in 1980.

The echoes of Supertramp’s astonishing worldwide conquest with Breakfast In America continued to be heard. In May 1980, “The Logical Song” was named Best Song Musically and Lyrically at the 25th annual Ivor Novello Awards in London. Then, in November 1984, the RIAA confirmed that the album had arrived at quadruple platinum status, for four million shipments, in the US alone.

“I always knew it was going to be a huge album,” Roger Hodgson told Melody Maker in 1979. “I knew our time had come and if it hadn’t happened, the big man in the sky was playing a trick on us. I felt that it had to happen, the mere fact that we had to struggle so long for it.”

Breakfast In America can be bought here.

Follow the official Supertramp Best Of playlist.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. duanephl

    March 29, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    40 years later still a masterful album. Not a bad song the LP. I was 7 years old when this album became the soundtrack of 1979 in my house. Along with Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”, and Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks”. And of course Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”. What a time to be a alive.

  2. Mike M.

    March 30, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    This album still sounds great after 40 years. We are lucky that Roger Hodgson still is touring with a great 4 piece band and is celebrating the 40 year anniversary this year. Roger is sounding as great as ever and the band rivals the original Supertramp line-up. Many dates have been announced for the European leg of the tour and we in the US are awaiting upcoming announcements for shows here, as well as Canada. All the tour dates can be found on Roger’s website.

  3. Bill

    March 30, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Breakfast is a fine album, but not as epic as Crime, Crisis, and EITQM.

  4. Robbie Stewart

    December 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    I’ve been listening to Supertramp’s Breakfest In America on and off since I first bought this album on vinyl back in 1979 when it was first released. It has always been a great album over the years and one that actually got me looking into Supertramp’s back catalogue and discovering songs like “School,” “Bloody Well Right,” and of course “Give A Little Bit.” I actually used to hear “Give A Little Bit” at night when I’d pick up WLS AM 890 back in 1976, but I never associated it with Roger Hodgeson or Supertramp until after “Breakfest In America” came out. Remember, we didn’t have Internet or even MTV back in those days. It was either Radio, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand on Saturdays, or Midnight Special on Friday nights. I’ve since gone on to having further copies of this album first on CD in 1984 when Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs re-issued it as part of their Original Master Recording series. As a cassettee 1991 after I joined the Columbia House Tape Club, and last but not least as a standard CD A&M Records pressing in 1995 as part of their Audio Masters Plus series. Because I had to move so many times, some of my copies have now been lost, so I’m mostly relying on You Tube for streaming at the moment. I’m glad to see that Roger Hodgeson has been finally been allowing more of his songs on You Tube with Covid-19 going on. So Roger, if you just happen to be reading this, thank you very much. And yes, this longtime fan knows you wrote them and NOT Rick Davies since you sung lead vocals on them. So, I’m not fooled by Rick Davies trying to do concerts under the Supertramp banner and performing your songs without your approval and neither are other fans either. Don’t worry, dude!! We know!!!

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