Supertramp In-depth Biography
Once upon a time in 1969, a young Dutch millionaire by the name of Stanley August Miesegaes gave his acquaintance, vocalist and keyboardist Rick Davies, a "genuine opportunity" to form his own band; he could form the band of his dreams and Miesegaes would pay for it. After placing an ad in Melody Maker, Davies assembled Supertramp alongside co-founders Roger Hodgson (vocals, piano, guitar, cello), Richard Palmer (vocals, guitar, balalaika), and former stage actor Robert Millar (percussion, harmonica). Supertramp released two long-winded progressive rock albums before Miesegaes withdrew his support, and by early 1972, Davies and Hodgson were the only founding members remaining. The pair began an extensive search for replacements and soon pieced together the lineup that would be responsible for Supertramp's definitive sound, comprising new members Doug Thomson (bass), Bob Siebenberg (percussion), and John Helliwell (woodwinds, saxophone, keyboards).
With no money or fan base to speak of, the expanded Supertramp was forced to redesign their sound. Coming up with a more pop-oriented form of progressive rock, the band had a hit with their third album, Crime of the Century. Throughout the decade, Supertramp had a number of best-selling albums, culminating in their 1979 masterpiece Breakfast in America. Breakfast in America marked their first album that tipped the scale completely in the favor of pop songs; on the strength of the hit singles "Goodbye Stranger," "Logical Song," and "Take the Long Way Home," it sold over 18 million copies worldwide. After that album, Supertramp continued to develop a more R&B-flavored style; the change in direction was successful on 1982's Famous Last Words, but the band soon ran out of hits. Hodgson left in 1983 to mount a solo career, and Supertramp continued to sporadically record and tour into the 21st century. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Andrew Leahey, Rovi