Air Supply Biography

Formed around the partnership of Russell Hitchcock (15 June 1949, Melbourne, Australia; vocals) and Graham Russell (b. 1 June 1950, Sherwood, Nottingham, England; guitar, vocals), soft rockers Air Supply turned out a solid string of seven US Top 5 singles between 1980 and 1982. The duo first came together in Sydney, Australia, during 1975 while performing in a production of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar. They formed Air Supply with Chrissie Hammond (vocals), who was soon replaced by bass player Jeremy Paul. After signing a recording contract with CBS Records, the band recorded their debut album with a line-up comprising Hitchcock, Russell, Paul, Mark McEntee (lead guitar), Adrian Scott (keyboards) and Jeff Browne (drums). The single ‘Love And Other Bruises’ reached the Australian Top 10. Nigel Macara and Rex Goh (b. 5 May 1951, Singapore) replaced Browne and McEntee on 1977’s The Whole Thing Started. The band undertook a North American tour supporting Rod Stewart, gaining important international exposure, but this coincided with the departure of Paul who went on to form Divinyls with McEntee. Hitchcock and Russell were joined by David Moyse (b. 5 November 1957, Adelaide, Australia; guitar), Brian Hamilton (bass, vocals), and Ralph Cooper (b. 6 April 1951, Coffs Harbour, Australia; drums) on 1978’s Life Support, which also featured contributions from Frank Esler-Smith (b. 5 June 1948, London, England, d. 1991; keyboards).

Air Supply’s international breakthrough came about after they signed an American distribution deal with Arista Records in 1980. The band’s debut for the label, which featured new bass player Criston Barker, included three US Top 5 hits with the title track, ‘All Out Of Love’ (their only substantial UK success, reaching number 11) and ‘Every Woman In The World’. The US number 10 album The One That You Love yielded three more major American Top 5 singles, with the number 1 title track, ‘Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’. By now the line-up had stabilised around Hitchcock, Russell, Moyse, Cooper, Goh, Esler-Smith, and David Green (b. 30 October 1949, Melbourne, Australia; bass). ‘Even The Nights Are Better’ reached US number 5 in 1982, but the attendant Now And Forever was a poor collection. In 1983, they achieved their second US number 2 with ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’, taken from their hugely popular Greatest Hits album. The line-up on 1985’s self-titled set featured Hitchcock, Russell, Esler-Smith, Cooper, Ken Rarick (keyboards), Wally Stocker (b. Walter Stocker, 17 March 1954, London, England; guitar, ex-Babys), and Don Cromwell (bass).

Towards the end of the decade the popularity of Air Supply declined although they continued to tour regularly. They disbanded in 1988 but Hitchcock and Russell re-formed the unit in 1991. Subsequent releases failed to reach the charts in most overseas markets, but were remarkably popular in Asia. The two mainstays continue to play the US and Asian concert circuit with a varying line-up of musicians. Out of their occasional studio forays 1997’s The Book Of Love is the strongest since the band’s early 80s heyday.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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