"I am a child of inner-city Melbourne who grew up very poor and who, fortunately, now gets to sing some of the greatest songs ever written." Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply)
Beloved Australian duo, Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell, better known as Air Supply, the band that have been delivering impeccably produced love songs for almost four decades, will be inducted into the ARIA HALL OF FAME at the 27th Annual ARIA Awards, held at The Star Event Centre on Sunday, December 1, 2013.
Denis Handlin AM, ARIA Chairman & CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia & New Zealand and President, Asia said: “On behalf of the ARIA Board we are honoured to induct Air Supply into the ARIA Hall of Fame on Sunday 1 December at the 27th Annual ARIA Awards. With their many timeless songs that have crossed generations and led to ground-breaking success overseas, Air Supply are one of Australia's most unique and successful musical stories.”
Upon hearing the news of the ARIA HALL OF FAME induction, Russell Hitchcock said, “It is a great honour for us, and it was something that was totally unexpected. We are certainly excited to come home to Australia and to have fun with everybody and we want to say thank you to all who participated in our ARIA Hall Of Fame induction. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Graham Russell, and Air Supply partner, Russell Hitchcock met in Sydney on May 12, 1975 while both were performing in Jesus Christ Superstar. They became instant and lifelong friends with their common love for The Beatles and, of course, singing.
After they came off stage at 10.30pm from the Jesus Christ Superstar shows, Russell and Graham would play pizza parlors, coffee bars and night clubs with just one guitar and two voices. They quickly gained a reputation for great harmonies and for original songs that Graham was constantly writing. They made a demo on a cassette of two songs, ‘Love and Other Bruises’ and ‘If You Knew Me’ and CBS, who admired their unique style signed them. Air Supply was born!
That same year, they opened for Rod Stewart across Australia and then throughout the U.S. and Canada playing all of the famous huge venues before Rod would take the stage. They found new fans, but did not break the U.S. market.
Back in Australia they had to start again and made a record called ‘Life Support’. On this record were some treasures of songs, including ‘Lost in Love’ that somehow found its way to music industry executive Clive Davis in New York.
Clive immediately signed Air Supply to Arista Records and in 1980, ‘Lost in Love’ became the fastest selling single in the world and Air Supply roared onto the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Lost in Love’, which peaked at #3 in 1980. The song initiated a run of seven consecutive US top fives in a little more than two years, including their #1 hit, ‘The One That You Love’ in 1981. (Source: Billboard, May 4, 2010) Air Supply at that time had equaled The Beatles' run of consecutive top five singles.
Air Supply’s albums ‘Lost in Love’, ‘The One That You Love’, ‘Now & Forever’, and ‘The Greatest Hits’ have sold in excess of 40 million copies. ‘Lost in Love’ was named Song of the Year in 1980, and, their singles have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. ‘Lost in Love’, ‘All Out of Love’, ‘The One That You Love’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, and ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’ have each achieved multi-million plays on the radio.
The trademark sound of Russell Hitchcock's soaring tenor voice and Graham Russell's simple yet majestic songs created a unique sound that would forever be known as Air Supply.
Russell Hitchcock told Billboard on their 35th anniversary, "In the beginning, we said they probably thought we were going to be a one-hit wonder. Then, we were a two-hit wonder, then a seven-hit wonder, and then a 10-hit wonder…Here we are, all these years later, loving what we do just as much as when we began."
However, it is the live shows that always hold audiences captive around the world, and Air Supply continue to play more than 150 shows a year worldwide. They were the first Western group to tour China, Taiwan, and countless other countries that before would not allow pop music across their borders. In 1983 they recorded ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’ by Jim Steinman that solidified the group as a permanent force in modern music. This song went to #2 on the Billboard Charts and was released on ‘The Greatest Hits’ album that soared past 7 million copies.
In 1988, Air Supply was asked to participate in Australia's bicentennial celebration and to play for HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Diana, where they learned both were already ardent fans. This engagement would be one of their most treasured moments in their career.
As Glenn A Baker wrote in the liner notes of Air Supply’s 1992 ‘Greatest Hits’ album, “It is appropriate that Australia does remember and celebrate the achievements of this major force in international chart music of the early 80’s. For it is an undeniable fact of history that Air Supply ranks with the Bee Gees, AC/DC, Little River Band, Men At Work and INXS [all ARIA HALL OF FAME recipients] as one of the five most successful groups to have emerged from Australian pop/rock. And you certainly can’t make that sort of success out of nothing at all.”
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2013 ARIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES | AIR SUPPLY
• ‘Love and Other Bruises’ went to #2 on the Australian Charts.
• 18 studio albums, 6 Greatest Hits compilations and over 40 million records sold.
• Seven consecutive Top 5 Billboard charting singles: ‘Lost In Love’ (#3), ‘All Out Of Love’ (#2), 'Every Woman In The World' (#5), ‘The One That You Love’ (#1), ‘Here I Am’ (#5), ‘Sweet Dreams (#5), ‘Even The Nights Are Better’ (#5).
• In the 1980's, Air Supply claimed eight US top five singles, four multi-platinum albums and their Greatest Hits album achieved 7x platinum sales.
• BMI Wins for: ‘All Out Of Love’, ‘Lost In Love’, ‘The One That You Love’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Making Love Out OF Nothing At All’, ‘Here I Am’, ‘Even the Nights Are Better’, ‘Two Less Lonely People In The World’.
• BMI Million-Air Certificate recognising more than three million performances of Air Supply's ‘All Out of Love’ and ‘Lost In Love’. Billboard (May 4, 2010) wrote the following about this achievement: BMI explains that three million plays is equivalent to 17 years of continuous play time. Thus, since the lush ballad's release 30 years ago, it has essentially been heard for more than half that span… “And the other half (has been) 'Lost in Love'," says Russell with a chuckle, noting another of his compositions previously honored by BMI for three million plays.
• Air Supply performs 150 shows per year worldwide.
• Air Supply were the first Western group to tour China and Taiwan.
• Air Supply’s Greatest Hits album has been lovingly repackaged into ‘The Ultimate Collection’ containing all of their hits from across the years, including liner notes telling the story of Air Supply by Glenn A. Baker. Available on iTunes here
The ARIA Awards and ARIA Week are proudly supported by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.