Air Supply, 80s soft rock stars, signing copies of “Free Love”
* 8/26/09 6:00 PM at J&R Music – Park Row. New York, NY.
Air Supply are a soft rock duo who had a succession of hits worldwide through the late 1970s and early 1980s. It consists of British guitarist and vocalist Graham Russell (born Graham Cyril Russell, 11 June 1950, Sherwood, Nottingham, England, UK) and Australian lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock (born Russell Charles Hitchcock, 15 June 1949, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia).
The two met in May 1975 while performing in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. Later that year, the duo, along with Chrissie Hammond and two others, formed Air Supply as a five-man group. Hammond left the band and was replaced by Jeremy Paul in time for the group’s first Australian hit single, “Love and Other Bruises.” It was followed by a debut album that reached gold in Australia, which featured keyboardist/arranger Adrian Scott, drummer Jeff Browne, and guitarist Mark McEntee. Singles during this period included “Empty Pages” and “Do What You Do”.
The group was invited to open for Rod Stewart during his tour of Australia; he was so impressed with their performance that he invited them to be the opening act during his tour of the United States. During this tour, Jeremy Paul left the band. (He later played with the original lineup of the Divinyls, led by Chrissie Amphlett and Mark McEntee.)
Eager to prove that they could succeed as a duo, Air Supply released the album Love & Other Bruises, which included re-recordings of many of their earlier hits. Although their music met with some success, Graham Russell on the 1995 DVD recalls that he and Hitchcock were so poor that they were reduced to checking the backs of hotel sofas for change so that they could buy bread to make toast.
Hitchcock and Russell started out fresh again in 1978, and the band that was to record almost all of the hit records was formed. It featured Frank Esler-Smith (arranger and keyboardist), David Moyse, and Rex Goh (guitars) as well as the rhythm section of David Green (bass) and Ralph Cooper (drums).
In 1979, the band released Life Support, a concept album that included a picture disc on its first printing. Produced by Charles Fisher, it was recorded in the tiny Trafalgar Studios in Sydney, Australia where, as Graham recalls on the 2005 DVD, he had half an inch between the end of his guitar and the studio wall. It was on this album that a five-and-a-half minute version of “Lost in Love” was introduced to Australian audiences. Written by Russell in fifteen minutes, the song caught the attention of music mogul Clive Davis, and his record label, Arista, remixed the song and released it as a single in the United States.