If you’ve been holding out for a Supertramp reunion — who are you, exactly? — best direct your energies elsewhere, as the likelihood of that ever happening is infinitesimally small. The odds are probably better that you’d win tonight’s record Mega Millions jackpot.
Founding co-member Roger Hodgson tells Billboard that Supertramp will never reunite. “Unfortunately, the door was closed,” says Hodgson, who left the band for a solo career in 1983. Ray Davies, with whom Hodgson had shared songwriting and lead vocal duties (akin to a Lennon-McCartney relationship), continued on with Supertramp, with members since added and subtracted.
Back to my question at the start. I can’t imagine that anyone is still clamoring for the original Supertramp lineup to get back together, but I also can’t imagine my childhood without a few of their songs — “The Logical Song” (that sax is indelibly marked upon my psyche), “Goodbye Stranger,” “Take The Long Way Home,” and “It’s Raining Again.” The first three are all hits from Supertramp’s breakthrough album, 1979’s Breakfast In America, while “Raining” was from 1982’s …Famous Last Words…, the band’s last set with Hodgson. Though that single was a particular favorite (it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100), I’d never bought the 45.
Building my CD collection in college, I picked up a Supertramp greatest hits collection — one of those no-frills A&M Classics compilations — and was disappointed to discover that “It’s Raining Again” wasn’t as magical to me a decade later. But the others, especially “Take The Long Way Home,” remained amazing. The sound of Hodgson’s lyrics — Does it feel that your life’s become a catastrophe? — are as much a part of the melody as the music itself. And then there’s the harmonica, of course.
Roger Hodgson is currently on his Breakfast In America tour. Though named after the Supertramp album, Hodgson won’t be performing it in full, as he and Davies made a gentlemen’s agreement years ago not to perform the other’s songs in concert. That means no “Goodbye Stranger,” for one.