As the colder weather returns it’s time to change back to the hot comforting beverages; so mine is a tea today. On the turntable this week is an album with arguably the most iconic cover art to ever grace a vinyl cover. Our album of choice this week is by an English prog-rock group who were moving into the world of pop and the most successful period of their career. The band is of course Supertramp and the album is Breakfast in America.
Released in 1979 the album was initially going to be called ‘Hello Stranger’ and was going to be about relationship and idea conflicts between Rick Davies (Vocals and Keyboards) and Roy Hodgson (Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards) who also both wrote all tracks on the album. As the album developed the conflict idea was tossed aside in favor of a more fun album. Davies wanted to hang on to the original title but was eventually convinced by Hodgson to change it to Breakfast in America. Hodgson commented later: "We chose the title because it was a fun title. It suited the fun feeling of the album.”
As much as the band would state that the album was just fun there are still those that feel it is a satire of American culture. The very over the top front cover features the New York skyline as diner items such as condiment bottles and a very American diner-esque waitress as the Statue of Liberty. Members of the band have stated that although there are repeated references to the US they are purely coincidental and that there was no plan for a satirical theme when writing and recording the album. I guess that there will always be those conspiracists that will keep the story alive.
The band had started to stray away from their prog-rock sound on their third album ‘Crime of the Century’ but it wasn’t until ‘Breakfast in America’ that all the pieces fell into place. There are stories of Hodgson parking a camper van outside the studio for the last two months of completing the album so he could spend as much time as possible on the mixing of the album. He has stated that at the time he “felt it could be a big album” and was proven right with its success. They released four singles off the album, all achieving top 20 positions in the US chart and the album itself hit the top spot.
The Final Word
So, who is Breakfast in America for? Well, if you like you early eighties pop or keyboard driven tunes then this is your dream album. With massive and instantly recognisable hits a plenty, this is an album for music lovers. As we sit here with the end of our tea, unfortunately we must pick the track to play us out. For me it has to be the title track 'Breakfast in America', which I feel perfectly sums up the idea the band were trying to achieve.
“I'm a winner, I'm a sinner
Do you want my autograph
I'm a loser, what a joker
I'm playing my jokes upon you
While there's nothin' better to do”
Until next time Brewers, remember to visit us over at Twitter @Vinyl8Records
Next Week's Brew
Next Sunday's brew is Madness's One Step Beyond
. Why not add this gem to your collection so we can listen together next week!