June 11: Guitarist and song writer, Graham Russell of Air Supply, is 60-years-old today.


Graham Russell was born in Sherwood, Nottingham, England. When he was 25 years-old in May 1975, he met Russell Hitchcock during the first day of rehearsals while performing in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. They became instant friends.

After the shows' performances at 10:30 they, along with female vocalist Chrissie Hammond - who was also in Jesus Christ Superstar - would play pizza parlors, coffee bars and night clubs with just one guitar and two voices. They quickly gained a reputation for their harmonies and for original songs that Graham was constantly writing.

Russell played guitar while Hammond and Hitchcock focused on singing. Hammond left to form Cheetah and was replaced by Jeremy Paul  on bass guitar and vocals in 1976.

Calling themselves Air Supply, They made a demo on a cassette of two songs, “Love and Other Bruises” and “If You Knew Me” and took it to every record company in Sydney. Everyone turned it down but one — CBS Records — who liked their unique style.

The group's first single, "Love and Other Bruises," peaked at No. 6 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart in January 1977. It was followed by their debut album, the self-named Air Supply, in December, which reached No. 17 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart and achieved gold in Australia. Other singles were "If You Knew Me," "Empty Pages" and "Feel the Breeze" but none reached the Top 40.

Their second album, The Whole Thing's Started, was released in July 1977. The album spawned the singles "Do What You Do," "That's How the Whole Thing Started" and "Do It Again" but neither album nor singles charted into the Top 40.

From late 1977, the group supported Rod Stewart during his tour of Australia. He invited them to continue on to U.S. and Canada giving fans on this side of the Atlantic their first look at Air Supply. 

Their third album, Love & Other Bruises, included re-recordings of some earlier tracks, was made mid-tour in Los Angeles in July–August and released later that year in US on Columbia Records. During this period, the group's lineup kept changing, with Graham and Hitchcock as the constants.

Although their music had some commercial success, Russell claimed, on a 1995 DVD, 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.

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Mumbo Jumbo


In April 1979, the band released Life Support, a concept album which included a picture disc on its first printing. Among the session musicians was Frank Esler-Smith as arranger and keyboardist. Esler-Smith had been the orchestral arranger for the production of Jesus Christ Superstar where Hitchcock and Russell had initially met, and he would maintain a long association with Air Supply throughout his life.

The album was recorded in the Trafalgar Studios in Sydney, Australia. The album had a five-and-a-half minute version of "Lost in Love," written by Russell in fifteen minutes; it was released as a single and peaked at No. 13 in Australia and No. 13 in New Zealand. The track caught the attention of Arista Records boss Clive Davis, who remixed the song and released it as a single in the US early the next year.

“Lost in Love” became the fastest selling single in the world, leaping to the top of all of the charts. Now Air Supply were on their way. The second single was “All Out of Love,” and that went up the charts even quicker.

Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply at that time had equaled The Beatles’ run of consecutive top five singles. The albums “Lost in Love," “The One That You Love," “Now & Forever," and “The Greatest Hits” sold in excess of 20 million copies. “Lost in Love” was named Song of the Year in 1980, and, with the other singles, sold over 10 million copies.

They were the first Western group to tour China, Taiwan, and countless other countries that before would not allow pop music across their borders. In 1983 they recorded “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” The song appeared on “The Greatest Hits” album which soared past 7 million copies.

In 1989, they recorded The Earth Is album selling over a million copies outside of the U.S. This album was followed by The Vanishing Race CD and, with the singles “Goodbye” and “It’s Never Too Late," again saw multi-platinum success.

The following albums, News from Nowhere, Yours Truly, and Across the Concrete Sky all gave their second greatest hits album multi-platinum status as they traveled the world each and every year.

In 2000, a new production company was founded to be devoted to Air Supply’s entire future product, called A Nice Pear, which gave them complete creative control.

In July 2005, their live DVD, “It Was 30 Years Ago Today” celebrated 30 years of success. That same month, Air Supply smashed attendance records when, in Cuba, at one show they played to 175,000 people. Also 2005 saw the release of The Singer and the Song, an acoustic album of many of their big hits which received critical acclaim.

In 2010, they released a new studio CD, “Mumbo Jumbo."



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