Air Supply Jukebox

Air Supply Jukebox

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Air Supply is a British-Australian soft rock duo, consisting of Graham Russell as guitarist and singer-songwriter and Russell Hitchcock as lead vocalist. They had a succession of hits worldwide, including eight Top Ten hits in the United States, in the early 1980s. They formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975 and have included various accompanying musicians and singers. They sold in excess of 100 million copies.Chrissie Hammond, Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell met in May 1975 while performing in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. With Hammond and Hitchcock on vocals and Russell on guitar, they formed a harmony vocal group in Melbourne, while the show was still playing. Hammond left the vocal group to form Cheetah and was replaced by Jeremy Paul (ex-Soffrok and later Divinyls) on bass guitar and vocals in 1976. Together, Hitchcock, Russell and Paul formed Air Supply. 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 Air Supply, their debut album, in December, which reached No. 17 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart and achieved gold in Australia. The album was produced by Peter Dawkins (Spectrum, Ross Ryan) with Air Supply line-up as Hitchcock, Paul, Russell and drummer Jeff Browne, guitarist Mark McEntee and keyboardist, arranger Adrian Scott. Other singles were "If You Knew Me", "Empty Pages" and "Feel the Breeze" but none reached the Top 40. A national tour followed with Hitchcock, Paul, Russell and Scott joined by Nigel Macara (ex-Tamam Shud, Ariel) on drums and Brenton White (Skintight) on guitar.

Their second album, The Whole Thing's Started, also produced by Dawkins, was released in July 1977 with White replaced on lead guitar by Rex Goh. The album spawned the singles "Do What You Do" (June), "That's How the Whole Thing Started" (October) and "Do It Again" (February 1978) 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 the United States and Canada. 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 with Jimmy Horowitz producing. During the tour, Paul left the band with a new line-up of Goh, Hitchcock, Macara, and Russell, plus Joey Carbone on keyboards, Robin LeMesurier on lead guitar and Howard Sukimoto on bass guitar. Paul, in 1980, recruited fellow Air Supply bandmate McEntee in the lineup of Divinyls, fronted by Chrissie Amphlett. Air Supply performed in London supporting Chicago and Boz Scaggs.

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. By early 1978 the line-up was Hitchcock, Macara and Russell, with Ken Francis on guitar, Rick Mellick on keyboards and Bill Putt (Spectrum, Ariel) on bass guitar. However, by mid-1978, only Hitchcock and Russell remained in the line-up backed by Ralph Cooper (Windchase) on drums, Brian Hamilton (ex-Sailor) on bass guitar and vocals, and David Moyse (Sailor) on guitar.

In April 1979, the band released Life Support, a concept album which included a picture disc on its first printing. Session musicians included Mike Bukowsky on brass, Tommy Emmanuel on guitar, Frank Esler-Smith as arranger and keyboardist, Geoff Oakes on brass, Coz Russo on keyboards and Peter Walker (ex-Bakery) on guitar.

Tags: air supply keyboardist utah rick mellick.

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