Crime of the Centuryby Supertramp
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 America.
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Performance CreditsSupertramp Primary Artist
Roger Hodgson Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Rick Davies Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
John Helliwell Clarinet,Saxophone,Vocals
Bob C. Benberg Drums,Percussion
Dougie Thompson Bass
Dougie Thomson Bass
Technical CreditsRoger Hodgson Composer
Ken Scott Producer,Engineer
Rick Davies Composer
Richard Hewson String Arrangements
John Jansen Engineer
Michael Diehl Reissue Design
Fabio Nicoli Art Direction
Paul Wakefield Cover Design
Beth Stempel Reissue Production Coordination
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Supertramp's best album!!! This is a true masterpiece! All of the songs are just flawless! NO WEAK MOMENTS! Get this album NOW!!!
Supertramp's third overall studio LP from 1974 kicks into high-energy overdrive. The first block of hits came with this LP: "Dreamer" (didn't chart as a single in the US until 1980) and "Bloody Well Right". Other hits, though not singles, are also my personal faves: "Rudy" (was a B-side single to "Take The Long Way Home" released in 1979, the A-side taken from "Breakfast In America"); "Hide In Your Shell", "School" (the opening song - Rick Davies opens up with his harmonica; Roger Hodgson sings "I can see you in the morning when you go to school/Don't forget your books/You know you've got to learn the golden rule" - there are several long-winding instrumental breaks; Dougie's rumbling bass in the second break builds up before Bob Siebenberg's drums fade in); and the closing title track "Crime Of The Century" (a mysterious water gong is heard - provided by Supertramp's co-producer Ken Scott: "Water gong-ing is when you hit a large gong and then submerge it into a vast amount of water, slowly altering the pitch"). A non-hit, not even with FM radio, though a personal fave, is "Asylum" (another track over 6 minutes [6:30] long - the only attempt in which Rick Davies does his jarring screaming near the end ["Not quite right!"] and then howls out before the instrumental break fade). Perhaps "Rudy" stands out from all above - it is a little over 7 minutes long (7:07) in length; an orchestra is heard (conducted by Richard Hewson); Roger's keyboards are terrific as well as his ever-favorite wah-wah guitar trick. A train station announcement is heard as the bridge builds up ("The 19:45 train to Bristol Parkway...") - recorded at Paddington Train Station. The other rare sounds are a Mozart violin concerto and people rambling around (someone calls for a taxi, among these) before the song fades out, after Rick (or Roger?) sings this bar: "Now he's come out of the movie/Numb of all the pain/Sad, but in a while/He'll soon be/Back on his train").
Although most believe that "Breakfast in America" is Supertramp's best album, I find the better album to be "Crime of the Century". Hits take up a larger portion of this album than "Breakfast in America" according to the "Very Best Of" compilations. The album opens with the obscure "School", which I personally would not say is a hit (even though it is), but then it goes into one of their big mega-hits, "Bloody Well Right". Some people (with the excemption of die-hard fans) would probably not recognize "Hide in Your Shell" very easily, but it is one of my favorite Supertramp songs and is extremely catchy. Moving on to "Asylum", the only song that sadly did not make the "Very Best Of" compilations, even though it still is a good song. The second side opens with the catchy up-beat hit, "Dreamer" (later remade for the "Rocky & Bullwinkle" movie); though it is dissapointingly short, it is, nonetheless, a hit. Following that is the depressing 7-minute "Rudy". Following that is the sweet sound of "If Everyone Was Listening". The title track makes a perfect finale for this album. It doesn't matter what kind of Supertramp compilation or live album you get; you will always run into at least one song from this album.