“Crime of the Century” by Supertramp (1974)
Release Date: September 1974
Produced by Ken Scott, Supertramp
Genre: Art-Rock, Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock, Classic Rock
Chart Positions: #4 (UK, Canada), #5 (Germany), #12 (New Zealand), #15 (Australia), #19 (France), #21 (Spain), #25 (Netherlands), #38 (US)
Certifications: Diamond (Canada), Platinum (France), Gold (US, UK, Germany, Switzerland)
Singles and Chart Positions:
“Dreamer” (#10 France, #13 UK, #34 New Zealand, #47 Australia)
“Bloody Well Right” #34 New Zealand, 335 US, #49 Canada)
“School” (#27 Netherlands, #1 France)
Singles Certifications: N/A
Other Charting Tracks: N/A
Best Tracks: All tracks – Entire album excels
“Crime of the Century” is the third studio album released by Supertramp. It spawned three hit singles “Dreamer,” “Bloody Well Right” and “School.” “School” was released as a single ten years after the album’s release in 1984 throughout Europe. “Crime of the Century” was Supertramp's commercial breakthrough in both the US and UK, aided by the UK hit "Dreamer" and the U.S. hit "Bloody Well Right."
Crime of the Century is a concept album that tells the story of Rudy. In "School," Rudy has lamented that the education system in England is teaching conformity above education (boy, Rudy, you should see America).
The album's dedication reads "To Sam", which is a nickname for Stanley August Miesegaes, the Dutch millionaire who supported the band financially from 1969–72.
After the failure of their first two albums and an unsuccessful tour, the band broke up, and Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson recruited new members, drummer Bob C. Benberg, woodwinds player John Helliwell, and bassist Dougie Thomson. This new line-up were sent by their record label, A&M, in particular A&R man Dave Margereson (who would become their manager for the next ten years) to a seventeenth-century farm in West Dorset in order to rehearse together and prepare the album. While recording the album, Davies and Hodgson recorded approximately 42 demo songs, from which only 8 were chosen to appear on the album. Several other tracks appeared on later albums (Crisis? What Crisis?, ...Famous Last Words...).
This new lineup recorded "Crime of the Century" with in a three and a half month period. Upon it's release the album became Supertramp's breakthrough album giving them their first hit singles and their first album to reach the Top 40 (and higher) throughout the world.
"Bloody Well Right" was Supertramp's first charting hit in the US, while it failed to chart in the UK. One theory on why the song didn't chart in their UK homeland has it that Brits were still offended by the adjective "bloody" in 1975. These days it is considered a mild expletive throughout the UK. Written by Supertramp leaders Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, Davies sings lead on this one. The song deals with youthful confusion, class warfare, and forced conformity in the British school system (kind of like Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall (part II)"). This anti-establishment take was a theme of the album. "Bloody Well Right" is actually an answer song to the previous song on the album, "School."
“Dreamer” is about a guy with big dreams who is incapable of acting on them, so they never come true. As was custom with Supertramp, it was credited to their founding members Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, who wrote separately but shared composer credits. "Dreamer" was written by Hodgson, who also sang lead.
The following is a review which appeared in the December 7, 1974 issue of Billboard Magazine:
Rather old mix of rock in the more traditional vein, strong electronic and horn sounds and some humorous moments from British quintet who can rock with the best or move through quiet harmonies. Best material seems to be the up-tempo things that allow the band a chance to rock, but it all works well. Not really an AM group in the "singles" sense of the word, but one that should find a quick home on any station willing to play some LP cuts. One would also imagine that this kind of band would benefit greatly from a tour. Fairly unique in material and sound, which is worth a listen to itself these days.
Best Cuts: "Bloody Well Right," "Hide In Your Shell," "Dreamer," "Crime of the Century"
Bloody Well Right (1974)