Tuesday 28 June 2011

Top Ten Supertramp Songs

I have another music top ten for you, dear reader. This time it will not alienate those of you who dislike rock and heavy metal.

You may be surprised to know that I am a huge fan of Supertramp. Their music rekindles a moment in my life when I was about to break free of the reins of childhood and embark on the road to the big bad world and all of its dangers and rewards.

At that time in the late seventies, I loved heavy metal but was still influenced by other major artists of the day. Supertramp in particular were one of those bands that wrote intelligent, meaningful and poignant music that was technically brilliant, yet managed to delve below the surface and touch my heart in ways that still resonate within, bringing great memories flooding back.

The moment a Supertramp song appears on my magic music machine (otherwise known as my mp3 player), I break into a huge smile and am overcome by a euphoria that few bands can summon. It is rumoured that Supertramp were one of the favourite bands of Princess Diana – at least we have that in common.

If you haven’t listened to Supertramp, I would urge you to just follow the links below and give them a try.

I present to you my top ten Supertramp songs. Here they are.

(10) Bloody Well Right (from Crime Of The Century)

I am indeed bloody well right - most of the time anyway. And I am tempted to alter the lyrics to this song, ever so slightly, in order to accommodate numerous rants that bubble beneath my laid back fa├žade. For a laugh – let’s just have a go (please indulge me, dear reader).

So you’re seeking fame and money
But you’ve no talent I can see
Your singing voice is really funny
It’s like a cat with dysentery

You know I’m bloody well right, I’ve got a bloody right to say

And me, I don’t care anyway!

(9) Give A Little Bit (from Even In The Quietest Moments)

I love the sentiment in this song. Supertramp were very good at writing feel good songs that give people a warm fuzzy feeling inside and this is a perfect example. I think perhaps if you look up the phrase “warm fuzzy feeling” in the musical dictionary of moods you will find Supertramp performing this song. Ah – a “musical dictionary of moods” – now there’s a concept for another post if ever I conceived one. More on that later, I think.

(8) The Logical Song (from Breakfast In America)

A friend of mine was obsessed with Supertramp and used to sing this song quite a lot, when he thought nobody was watching or listening. The problem was, he didn’t quite know the lyrics and occasionally he got them wrong – spectacularly wrong. I just wish I had had the foresight to try to catch him unawares with a cassette recorder and let you know what he actually sang. It certainly made me howl with laughter as a youth.

(7) Take The Long Way Home (from Breakfast In America)

When I was eighteen, three friends and I drove off to Bala in Wales, to spend a week at a cottage owned by one of the guys’ parents. All of us were unleashed for the first time, spending a crazy week isolated in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, a mile from Bala Lake and three miles from Bala itself (the nearest town). We had an absolute scream, doing the things that eighteen year olds do (drinking and playing stupid games) but also doing sensible things like hiking in the beautiful Welsh countryside, rowing on Bala Lake, fishing and all sorts of other activities.

Take The Long Way Home was a firm favourite and it seemed very apt at the end of the holiday because we all wanted to take the long way home.

(6) Dreamer (from Crime Of The Century)

Dreamer is another feel good song and we are entering “heart string” territory now. What am I talking about? I’m talking about songs that tug on your heart strings and make you almost tearful with delight. I can’t listen to this song without sniffling slightly – and with a huge grin. Why? Because I am a bit of a dreamer.

(5) School (from Crime Of The Century)

School is the first of the countdown to really grab my heart strings and yank them mercilessly. At the time this song was around, I was about to leave school myself and had a bit of a problem with authority – so the lyrics kind of struck a chord with me. Looking back, the guidance I received was fabulous but my school, in my opinion, tried to make me into something they could boast about rather than allowing me to do the thing I wanted to do in my own way. I can thank them for the “don’t do this and don’t do that” mentality now but I felt that although they were “old and wise” they were actually wrong about me in more ways than they can ever perceive. This song sums that up for me perfectly. Sniffle.

(4) Crime Of The Century (from Crime Of The Century)

Lyrics are meaningful to me and when combined with a fantastic tune you have a recipe for the perfect song. Crime Of The Century is high in my top ten mainly because of the music. I can’t put my finger on what appeals to me but the combination of piano, saxophone and violins at the end of the song elevates this song above most of the others. Many Supertramp fans I have spoken too don’t rate this song as highly as I do. Perhaps it’s just a personal preference.

(3) Child Of Vision (from Breakfast In America)

Now, dear reader, we are entering “shiver” territory, by which I mean songs that send a shiver up and down my spine. This song has everything I like about Supertramp; great lyrics and mesmerising keyboards and piano. Again, there are people who like Supertramp who don’t rate this song highly and I can’t understand that at all. It is almost the perfect Supertramp song – and it is only number three. Why? Because there are two songs that are even better (no shit Sherlock!). Here they are…

(2) A Soapbox Opera (from Crisis? What Crisis?)

On that trip to Bala, I mentioned earlier, Supertramp were high on the playlist chart and a lot of the time we chatted and sang when they appeared. Yet there were two songs we simply had to listen to and this was one of them. At the time I couldn’t drive so I sat in the back of the car listening to A Soapbox Opera and struggling to contain my emotions. You simply cannot allow yourself to blart in front of your mates – and I nearly did every time. This song is beautiful; as simple as that. But there is a song that is even better …

(1) Fools Overture (from Even In The Quietest Moments)

I am a massive fan of progressive rock; songs that experiment with sound and, typically, last for at least ten minutes. Fools Overture is, in my opinion, a progressive pop song that is an absolute triumph. Coming in at just under eleven minutes long, it captures everything I love about music; astounding music, incredible lyrics, experimentation and a massively catchy tune. If you have ten minutes, just relax, close your eyes and enjoy a true masterpiece. And yes, I am welling up as I am listening to it – what a big Jessie I am.

So that’s it, dear reader and over to you.

Do you like Supertramp? If so, do you agree with my selection?

I’d be very interested to hear what you think.

By the way, do you have a hankie? I think I have something in my eye.


Elephant's Child said...

Yup. And crime of the century was a brilliant album. How was Turkey? We (I) want a turkish post!!!

River said...

I'd totally forgotten about Supertramp. I vaguely remember liking one of their songs, but not which one, nor why I liked it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Crime of the Century is my favourite Supertramp album.

Turkey was hot and fabulous - and well worthy of a post.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

A lot of people truly have forgotten about them. I recently heard somebody sampling "The Logical Song". Shame they did it so badly - and I'll bet "fans" of it didn't realise that the original was much better.




Kath Lockett said...

Agree entirely. A classic album that often gets derided as middle of the road when it deserves a lot more praise.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Yes indeed - and the others I mentioned are pretty good too.