Roger Hodgson reflects on the awesome legacy of Supertramp

When do you know you’ve written a hit? Better yet, when do you know you’ve written an album full of them? 

It was 40 years ago this year that Roger Hodgson was putting together the finishing touches on what would go on to be Breakfast in America, the definitive legacy-making album by the band he co-founded, Supertramp. The album went on to go four times platinum in the US alone, and spawned singles that are world renown to this very day. At the time, though, Hodgson was just trying to make the best Supertramp record he could.

“I felt like the band was poised for something of ours to be successful,” he says. “We’d be touring consistently with the albums we’d made beforehand, I felt that we were definitely on the verge of a breakthrough. When I was recording the album, I was adamant about getting it right. I wouldn’t rest until the songs sounded the exact way they needed to. I felt like that’s what the songs deserved. This was a time when radio was king, and in order to have a successful record you needed to have a song that would get played. As luck would have it, Breakfast in America had about three or four that just ignited as far as radio was concerned.”

That fire still burns, decades on from Breakfast’s release in March 1979. Statistically, there probably hasn’t been a day on earth since where ‘The Logical Song’ hasn’t played on a station somewhere in the world. Or covered in a bar. Or sung at karaoke. It, along with its neighbouring tracks, have become part of the furniture. Even when the anniversary of the record wasn’t looming, Hodgson has been using Breakfast to promote his solo shows for years, performing highlights from the album to rapturous audiences across the world.

“Even something so little as having the phrase on the posters or in the tour name helps people to connect the dots,” Hodgson explains. “A lot of people obviously know the name Supertramp, and would knowingly associate these songs with Supertramp. By that same token, however, they may not necessarily know the name Roger Hodgson. By using Breakfast in America, we’re allowing audiences to understand who I am and the kind of show that we’re doing – and the word has spread. We’ve had a lot of old Supertramp fans come back to see us over the years.”

Besides everything else, Hodgson adds, the term Breakfast in America on its own has its own way of raising a smile. “It’s got such a sunny feeling to it,” he says. “In these crazy times, so full of fear and negativity, it’s a ray of positivity. That’s what I like about it. The songs came from a very deep, very vulnerable place in my heart. I can’t begin to describe what it means to know these songs have managed to touch that very same place for people all across the world.”

Hodgson returns to Australian shores as a part of the ongoing Breakfast in America tour through late January and early February, along with his full band. Hodgson has been a visitor to Australia on several occasions throughout his career, and has nothing but the highest of praise for the continent. “Oh, aren’t you all just the luckiest to live there,” he says with a sigh. 

“It’s an incredible country. It’s full of remarkable places, and it’s so expansive. The people are fantastic. Every time I’ve been, I’ve wanted to come back as soon as possible – even though that hasn’t always been possible to do. I’ve often come there and thought that this could be the place where I move after I retire. To think I’ve been able to travel to places like this, having rooms full of people that know who I am and that want to sing with me... all because of my music.”

Check out Roger Hodgson's full list of tour dates below:

Wednesday January 30, State Theatre, Sydney

Thursday January 31, State Theatre, Sydney

Saturday February 2, Palais Theatre, Melbourne

Monday February 4, Riverside Theatre, Perth

Wednesday February 6, Bonython Park, Adelaide

Roger Hodgson's Australian tour kicks off Wednesday January 30 in Sydney. Tickets via Ticketmaster