...Famous Last Words...

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...Famous Last Words...
Supertramp - Famous Last Words.jpg
Studio album by Supertramp
Released October 1982
Recorded November 1981 to summer 1982 at Unicorn, Nevada City, CA; The Backyard, Encino, CA; Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA; Bill Schnee's Studios, North Hollywood, CA
Genre Progressive rock, art rock,[1] pop rock
Length 47:35
Label A&M
Producer Peter Henderson, Russel Pope, Supertramp
Supertramp chronology
Paris
(1980)
...Famous Last Words...
(1982)
Brother Where You Bound
(1985)

...Famous Last Words..., the seventh album by progressive rock band Supertramp, was released in October 1982.

Overview[edit]

...Famous Last Words... was the studio follow-up to 1979's Breakfast in America and the last album with vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Roger Hodgson who left the group to pursue a solo career, thus it was the final album to be released by the "classic" Hodgson/Davies/Helliwell/Thomson/Siebenberg lineup of the band.

...Famous Last Words... reached number 5 on the Billboard Pop Albums Charts in 1982[2] and was certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000 copies there.[3] It also peaked at number 6 in the UK[4] where it was certified Gold for 100,000 copies sold.

A remastered CD version of the album was released on 30 July 2002 on A&M Records. The remastered CD comes with all of the original artwork and the CD art features a green pair of scissors and a black background.

Background and recording[edit]

Though Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson had long been writing their songs separately, they had always conceived the theme and overlying direction for each album together. ...Famous Last Words... became the exception to this rule: having been living in different parts of California in the months leading up to the recording, they each conceived their own vision for the album. Hodgson wanted to do another pop album in the vein of Breakfast in America, while Davies had envisioned a heavy progressive rock album with a 10-minute song called "Brother Where You Bound" as its centerpiece. According to Bob Siebenberg, "In the end, they both kind of changed their formats and their picture of what they thought this album should be. It became a diluted version of what it started out to be. It was really neither here nor there."[5] In particular, the band decided to leave out "Brother Where You Bound", since it was too "heavy" to fit alongside Hodgson's pop compositions.[5] Supertramp used "Brother Where You Bound" for their next album, though it had by that point evolved from 10 minutes to 16 and a half through the addition of some new sections.

As usual, the songs are all officially credited as being written by Davies/Hodgson. However, the sleeve notes color-code the songs' lyrics by individual author. The lead vocalist on each song is the same as its writer: "Crazy", "It's Raining Again", "Know Who You Are", "C'est le Bon", and "Don't Leave Me Now" were written by Hodgson, and "Put on Your Old Brown Shoes", "Bonnie", "My Kind of Lady", and "Waiting So Long" were written by Davies.

The album was mainly recorded and mixed at Hodgson's home, Unicorn Studios in Nevada City, California, as he did not want to leave his wife, his then two-year-old daughter Heidi, and newborn son Andrew behind. Davies wound up recording his vocal parts at his home studio, The Backyard Studios, in Encino, California. Other overdubs were at Bill Schnee Recording Studios in Los Angeles.

Hodgson later said that he regrets recording the album, calling it "a last-ditch attempt to try and make things happen" after the life had gone out of the band.[6]

At the time of the album's release, many interpreted the title and cover art as thinly-veiled hints that Supertramp were breaking up. In fact, there was no threat of a break-up at this point in the band's history. To help dispel the rumour, John Helliwell explained the actual meaning of the title: "We wanted a phrase that bore some relationship with what we were doing but was enigmatic at the same time. We always like to have enigmatic titles like Crime of the Century... This last LP we thought was going to be real quick. We thought we were going to rehearse it and record it real quick and it ended up taking longer than any other so we had to eat our words again. For the past three or four LPs we've been saying, 'Let's be well prepared.' So the title sprung out of that as well. I can't remember who first thought of it. The graphic design came directly from the title."[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[7]

Allmusic, in an out-of-context review (written decades after the album's release), found the album overly tailored towards commercial success, claiming that the group in general and Roger Hodgson in particular were too fixated on producing more hits, and that as a result "romantically inclined poetry and love song fluff replaces the lyrical keenness that Supertramp had produced in the past, and the instrumental proficiency that they once mastered has vanished."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Crazy"   Hodgson 4:44
2. "Put on Your Old Brown Shoes"   Davies 4:22
3. "It's Raining Again"   Hodgson 4:24
4. "Bonnie"   Davies 5:37
5. "Know Who You Are"   Hodgson 4:59
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
6. "My Kind of Lady"   Davies 5:15
7. "C'est Le Bon"   Hodgson 5:32
8. "Waiting So Long"   Davies 6:35
9. "Don't Leave Me Now"   Hodgson 6:24

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel

  • Claire Diament – backing vocals on "Don't Leave Me Now"
  • Ann Wilson – backing vocals on "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" and "C'est Le Bon"
  • Nancy Wilson – backing vocals on "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" and "C'est Le Bon"

Production[edit]

  • Producers: Peter Henderson, Russel Pope, Supertramp
  • Engineer: Peter Henderson
  • Assistant engineer: Norman Hall
  • Mastering on original issue: Doug Sax, Mike Reese
  • Mastering on 2002 Remaster: Greg Calbi, Jay Messina
  • Concert sound: Russel Pope
  • Technician: Bud Wyatt
  • String arrangements: Richard Hewson
  • Art direction: Mike Doud, Norman Moore
  • Design: Mike Doud, Norman Moore
  • Cover design: Mike Dowd, Norman Moore
  • Cover art concept: Mike Dowd
  • Artwork: Mike Dowd
  • Photography: Jules Bates, Tom Gibson
  • Cover photo: Jules Bates, Tom Gibson
  • Sleeve photo: Tom Gibson

2002 A&M reissue:
The 2002 A&M Records reissue was mastered from the original master tapes by Greg Calbi and Jay Messina at Sterling Sound, New York, 2002. The reissue was supervised by Bill Levenson with art direction by Vartan and design by Mike Diehl, with production coordination by Beth Stempel.

The intro to "Bonnie" contains a glitch in the piano part on the 2002 remaster, and has never been fully explained (whether it was a mastering error, or an intentional alteration to the track).

Singles[edit]

Singles – Billboard (North America) [2]

Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Crazy" Mainstream Rock 10
"Don't Leave Me Now" Mainstream Rock 32
"It's Raining Again" Adult Contemporary 5
Mainstream Rock 7
Pop Singles 11
"Waiting So Long" Mainstream Rock 30
1983 "My Kind of Lady" Adult Contemporary 16
Pop Singles 31

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[25] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[26] Platinum 503,500[27]
Germany (BVMI)[28] Platinum 500,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[29] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[31] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic Archived 21 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "allmusic ((( ...Famous Last Words... > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  3. ^ RIAA - Home - 9 May 2014 Archived 21 July 2007 at WebCite
  4. ^ "Chart Stats – Supertramp – Famous Last Words". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Melhuish, Martin (1986). The Supertramp Book. Toronto, Canada: Omnibus Press. pp. 167–175. ISBN 978-0-9691272-2-2. 
  6. ^ (2009). 30th Anniversary Breakfast in America Feature, In the Studio. Archived 8 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b "allmusic ((( ...Famous Last Words... > Review )))". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5. 
  9. ^ "Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words... – austriancharts.at" (ASP). Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 37, No. 17" (PHP). RPM. 11 December 1982. Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words..." (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 1 June 2013. Note: user must select 'Supertramp' from drop-down.
  13. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1983" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 978-4-87131-077-2. 
  15. ^ "charts.org.nz Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words..." (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2014-02-27. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words..." (ASP). Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "swedishcharts.com Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words..." (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Supertramp > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Album Search: Supertramp – ...Famous Last Words..." (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Archived from the original on 2014-02-23. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 25 December 1982. Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1982 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Austriancharts.st – Jahreshitparade 1983" (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2013-08-20. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. 24 December 1983. Archived from the original on 2013-08-20. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Billboard BIZ: Top Pop Albums of 1983". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Supertramp – Famous Last Words". Music Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "French album certifications – Supertramp – Famous Last Words" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 1 June 2012.  Select SUPERTRAMP and click OK
  27. ^ "Les Albums Platine". Infodisc.fr (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Supertramp; 'Famous Last Words')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Supertramp – Famous Last Words" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Supertramp – Famous Last Words". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 June 2012.  Enter Famous Last Words in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  31. ^ "American album certifications – Supertramp – Famous Last Words". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 1 June 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Love over Gold by Dire Straits
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
13 – 20 November 1982
Succeeded by
Kinderen voor Kinderen 3 by Kinderen voor Kinderen
Preceded by
Business as Usual by Men at Work
Canadian RPM 100 number-one album
11 – 25 December 1982
Succeeded by
Business as Usual by Men at Work
Preceded by
Rock Classics by Peter Hofmann
West German Media Control Chart number-one album
10 January 1983 – 6 February 1983
Succeeded by
The Getaway by Chris de Burgh