Songs of 74: Dreamer / Supertramp

This year Radioinfo will take you back 50 years to the songs that were released and charted in 1974. It was a mighty fine year for music.

Supertramp didn’t chart in the top 40 in Australia until 1979’s ‘The Logical Song’ and would only do so once again with 1982’s ‘It’s Raining Again’. They wouldn’t even make the top ten until Scooter’s 2002 cover of ‘The Logical Song’ went to No. 1. Yet I would imagine that some of you are humming this or one of their many iconic songs in your head right now.

Gosh I feel compelled to add, ‘well, can you put your hands in your head? Oh no!” to that last sentence.

The story of the inception of Supertramp is extraordinary and also somewhat mystifying. A Dutch millionaire called Stanley August Miesegaes was funding a band called The Joint which keyboard/vocalist Richard (Rick) Davies was a part of. Miesegaes was unimpressed by their output but liked Davies and decided to invest in solely in him to form a new band.

Imagine that!

Davies put an ad in Melody Maker for people to audition, and one who did was Roger Hodgson. They were chalk and cheese. Davies was a blue-collar blues man. Hodgson a private school pop fan. Together they created magic and, like Lennon / McCartney before them, even though usually only one of them wrote their songs, both were credited on the albums. Davies now is the copyright owner of all of Supertramp’s recordings.

Dreamer was written by Hodgson, at his mum’s place, when he was just 19 and remains one of his favourite compositions.

It was released in Australia with ‘Bloody Well Right’ as the B side. In the US someone decided to flip the single over, an action that has made many B sides famous over the years which won’t ever happen again with singles so longer released in this fashion, and the B side became this UK band’s first US hit.

Supertramp would also release a live version of ‘Dreamer’ as a single in 1980. That time it would chart in the US. In my chart book, both times, 1974 and 1980, ‘Dreamer’ peaked at No. 47.

Back to the Dutch millionaire.

Stanley August Miesegaes, who was apparently known affectionately as Sam, funded Supertramp’s first two albums. Crime of the Century was their third and commercial breakthrough. Much, much bigger things were to come. Their Breakfast in America album was a phenomenal success with several of the songs still in daily rotation on Australian radio.

Crime of the Century was where ‘Sam’ tapped out. If he went on to support other fledgling bands or artists, nothing is known of it. Or indeed about him. Maybe he never existed? Either way he does get a little acknowledgement on the back of the Crime of the Century album (image below) separate to other notes and thanks.

By Jen Seyderhelm – Radioinfo Writer, Editor and Music Trivia Buff.

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