Northeast Times

Check your Air Supply

Rus­sell Hitch­cock (left) and Gra­ham Rus­sell of Air Sup­ply will per­form at Re­sorts Casino Hotel’s Su­per­star Theat­er in At­lantic City on Sat­urday. The Aus­trali­an duo re­leased sev­en con­sec­ut­ive Top 5 singles in the early 1980s.

Start­Frag­ment

With sev­en Top 5 singles to their cred­it, Air Sup­ply equaled The Beatles run of con­sec­ut­ive Top 5 singles, selling mil­lions and mil­lions of re­cords. And now the le­gendary band takes to the stage at Re­sorts Casino Hotel in At­lantic City this Sat­urday for one night only in the Su­per­star Theat­er.

It is the duo’s live shows that con­tin­ue to hold audi­ences cap­tive around the world, said Gra­ham Rus­sell, 62, one half of the le­gendary band (along with part­ner Rus­sell Hitch­cock, 63).

Air Sup­ply was the first West­ern group to tour China, Taiwan and count­less oth­er coun­tries that be­fore would not al­low pop mu­sic across their bor­ders.

“Our live shows have been the main fo­cus of our act for many years,” said Rus­sell. “Our shows are great be­cause there are no lights or bombs go­ing off. We keep it real, and our audi­ence knows it’s real. Of­ten, Rus­sell or I burst in­to tears be­cause we love the mu­sic so much. And we’re al­ways talk­ing to our audi­ence, do­ing a meet-and-greet after each show, and so we stay very close to them.”

Rus­sell moved to Aus­tralia from Eng­land when he was 18.

 “At that time, I was already play­ing drums and gui­tars in a group, and also writ­ing songs, but not do­ing too well,” he said. “My par­ents were already liv­ing in Aus­tralia, so I de­cided to go there too to start a new life.”

As luck would have it, he even­tu­ally did just that, meet­ing Rus­sell Hitch­cock in 1975 on the first day of re­hears­als for Je­sus Christ Su­per­star in Sydney, Aus­tralia. They be­came in­stant friends, es­pe­cially with all the things they had in com­mon.

“We both loved The Beatles and, of course, singing,” Rus­sell re­called. “We also shared the same name, and were born in the same month of June. We also were the only new­comers to Su­per­star and mu­sic­al theat­er in gen­er­al, so where the oth­er sing­ers kind of stuck to­geth­er, we did, too.”

After a show ended for the night, the two would play at cof­fee bars and nightclubs — any­where they could show off their voices. They quickly gained a repu­ta­tion for great har­mon­ies as well as the ori­gin­al songs that Rus­sell was con­stantly writ­ing. Es­pe­cially ap­peal­ing was an ori­gin­al song titled Love and Oth­er Bruises, which flew to the top of the charts, and Air Sup­ply was born.

That same year, they opened for Rod Stew­art in Aus­tralia, the U.S. and Canada, sure of their new­found suc­cess. But no such thing happened, and, ac­cord­ing to Rus­sell, they had to start all over again, un­til their Lost In Love song found its way to mu­sic in­dustry ex­ec­ut­ive Clive Dav­is.

“We had our ups and downs un­til he heard Lost in Love and wanted to buy the re­cord. I even­tu­ally found out he was prob­ably the world’s biggest icon in mu­sic, rep­res­ent­ing so many top stars. He re­leased our song, and we were fi­nally on our way. It went to No. 1 and we fi­nally star­ted to make some money. And that was fol­lowed by sev­en or eight top songs in a row, largely due to him,” Rus­sell said.

De­scrib­ing him­self as primar­ily a song­writer, Rus­sell said he’s done some chan­ging over the years, “es­pe­cially be­cause now I know what I’m do­ing. I’ve nev­er had any kind of form­al train­ing and am ba­sic­ally self-taught. But this is my fiftieth  suc­cess­ful year as a song­writer, and I’m very proud of that.”

And even if Air Sup­ply nev­er pro­duced an­oth­er re­cord, Rus­sell said he can con­tin­ue to write songs — and make a liv­ing out of it.

“How lucky am I that I can spend my days writ­ing songs, a pas­sion that has nev­er, ever left me, and con­tin­ues to this day to bring me great joy,” he said. ••

For show times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 1-800-745-3000.

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