| ||Albums: Air Supply (CBS, 1976), The Whole Thing's Started (CBS, 1977), Life Support (Wizard, 1979), Lost in Love (Wizard/Big Time, 1980), The One that You Love (Big Time, 1981), Love and Other Bruises (reissue of first album, Harmony/CBS, 1981), Now and Forever (CBS, 1982), Air Supply's Greatest Hits (Big Time, 1983), Air Supply (Arista/BMG, 1985), Hearts in Motion (Arista/BMG, 1986), The Earth is . . . (Giant/BMG,1991), Feel The Breeze (CBS, 1992), The Vanishing Race (Giant/BMG, 1993), News from Nowhere (Giant/BMG, 1995), Now and Forever—Greatest Hits Live (Giant/BMG, 1995), The Book of Love (Giant/BMG, 1996).|
With international acclaim and eight Top 10 hit singles (including a #1) in the USA to its credit, Air Supply was one of the most successful Australian bands of the 1980s. US Billboard magazine hailed Air Supply as the biggest selling chart act of the decade. To date, the group has sold over 15 million records worldwide. In Australia, the band's soft rock sound, tight harmonies and clean image have generally been ignored and derided, despite the success of many of the band's singles and albums on the local charts.
English-born singer/songwriter Graham Russell, Russell Hitchcock and Chrissie Hammond formed Air Supply when the three musicians were cast members of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jeremy Paul (bass, vocals; ex-Soffrock) replaced Chrissie in 1976. CBS issued Air Supply's successful debut single, `Love And Other Bruises'/`If You Knew Me' (#6 in October 1976), and album, Air Supply (#17 in December). The second single, `Empty Pages'/ `Feel the Breeze' (February 1977), missed the national Top 40. The Air Supply line-up on the album comprised Hitchcock, Russell and Paul, plus Mark McEntee (lead guitar), Adrian Scott (keyboards) and Jeff Browne (drums). The band then set off on tour with a line-up of Hitchcock, Russell, Paul and Scott, plus newcomers Brenton White (guitar; ex-Skintight) and Nigel Macara (drums; ex-Tamam Shud, Ariel).
The line-up of Hitchcock, Russell, Paul, Scott, Macara and new lead guitarist Rex Goh recorded the album The Whole Thing's Started which came out in July 1977. The album produced the singles `Do What You Do'/`It's Automatic' (June), `That's How the Whole Thing Started'/`There's Nothing I Can Do' (October) and `Do It Again'/`Who Will Love Me Now?' (February 1978). The band's concerts during the second half of 1977 took in supports for Rod Stewart's Australian, USA and Canadian tours and a performance at the annual CBS conference in London with Chicago and Boz Scaggs. Jeremy Paul left at the end of 1977; he later formed Divinyls with another ex-Air Supply alumnus Mark McEntee. The Air Supply touring line-up at that point comprised Hitchcock, Russell, Macara and Goh, plus Robin LeMesurier (lead guitar), Joey Carbone (keyboards) and Howard Sukimoto (bass).
The early 1978 touring line-up comprised Hitchcock, Russell, Macara, Ken Francis (guitar), Rick Mellick (keyboards) and Bill Putt (bass; ex-Spectrum, Ariel). Air Supply stabilised in late 1978 with the line-up of Hitchcock, Russell, David Moyse (guitar; ex-Sailor), Brian Hamilton (bass, vocals; ex-Sailor) and Ralph Cooper (drums; ex-Windchase). The new line-up issued the album Life Support (April 1979), which yielded the singles `Bring Out the Magic'/`Just Another Woman' (November 1978), `Lost in Love'/`Believer' (April 1979) and `Just Another Woman'/`Bring Out the Magic' (October 1979). Helping out on the album sessions were Coz Russo and Frank Esler-Smith on keyboards, Tommy Emmanuel and Peter Walker (ex-Bakery) on guitars and Geoff Oakes and Mike Bukowsky on brass.
`Lost in Love' became the band's first Australian hit (#13 in June 1979) since `Do What You Do' had reached #32 in August 1977. Air Supply's USA breakthrough came in 1980 when Arista issued the Robie Porter-produced album Lost in Love (June) and the single `Lost in Love' (January). The line-up on the Lost in Love album featured Hitchcock, Russell, Moyse, Cooper and Criston Barker (bass, ex-Ash, Freeway, Hollywood), with guest players Esler-Smith and Sam McNally (ex-Stylus) on keyboards and Emmanuel on guitar.
With `Lost in Love', Air Supply became the first Australian band to reach #3 in the USA. `Lost in Love' also reached #4 in Japan. Air Supply followed up `Lost in Love' with four more US Top 5 hits `All Out of Love' (#2, June 1980), `Every Woman to Me' (#5, November) and `The One that You Love' (#1, July 1981) and `Here I Am' (#5, September). `All Out of Love' also reached #11 in the UK. Air Supply wrapped up its successful 1981 American tour with a concert at Los Angeles' renowned Greek Theatre. At the 1982 American Music Awards, Air Supply was voted Best Group for 1981.
The band's US chart run continued with the singles `Sweet Dreams' (#5, January 1982), `Even the Nights are Better' (#5, June), `Young Love' (#38, October), `Two Less Lonely People in the World' (#38, November), `Making Love out of Nothing at All' (#2, August 1983) and the albums The One that You Love (July 1981) and Now and Forever (June 1982). Both albums featured the line-up of Hitchcock, Russell, Moyse, Cooper, Rex Goh (guitar), Frank Esler-Smith (keyboards; ex-Doug Parkinson and The Southern Star Band) and David Green (bass).
Meanwhile, in Australia, `All Out of Love'/`Old Habits Die Hard' reached #9 in August 1980, `Every Woman To Me'/`My Best Friend' #8 in January 1981, `The One that You Love'/`I Want to Give It All to You' #10 in July and `Even the Nights Are Better'/`Taking the Chance' #35 in July 1982. The band's other Australian releases, `Here I Am'/`I've Got Your Love' (September 1981), `I'm Late Again'/`What Kind of Girl' (October 1982), `Two Less Lonely People in the World'/`One Step Closer' (November), `Now and Forever'/`Young Love' (May 1983) and `Making Love Out of Nothing At All'/`What Kind of Girl' (August) did not reach the Top 40. The One that You Love peaked at #10 on the Australian album chart in September 1981, while Now and Forever went as high as #22 in August 1982. Air Supply's Greatest Hits, however, went on to become the band's biggest selling album in Australia, when it reached #1 during August 1983. The album also made the US Top 10, on its way to selling three million copies.
The line-up on the 1985 album Air Supply was Hitchcock, Russell, Esler-Smith, Cooper, Ken Rarick (keyboards), Wally Stocker (guitar; ex-Babys) and Don Cromwell (bass). The album produced one US hit, `Just As I Am'/`Crazy Love' (#19, June 1985) and two flops, `The Power of Love'/`Sunset' (1985) and `Lonely is the Night'/`I'd Die For You' (1986) before the group disbanded. Hitchcock went solo for a time, issuing a cover of The Walker Brothers' `The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' backed by a cover of Jimmy Ruffin's `What Becomes of the Broken Hearted' as a single, followed by the album Russell Hitchcock in 1988.
Little was heard from Air Supply until the early 1990s when the albums The Earth Is . . . and The Vanishing Race came out. Although they failed to chart in Australia, both sold well throughout Asia. Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock continued to resurrect Air Supply periodically in order to play the American and (more lucrative) Asian concert circuit with great success. An example of the band's enduring appeal was the album Now And Forever—Greatest Hits Live, which had been recorded in Taipei, Taiwan on 15 and 16 June 1995. It sold 450000 copies in the region, and in Hong Kong stayed at #1 for 15 weeks. Air Supply also played six sell-out concerts in mainland China, at 20000 capacity auditoriums.
In July 1996, Russell and Hitchcock returned to Australia for Air Supply's first local tour in more than 15 years. The line-up included American musicians Guy Allison (keyboards), Cliff Rehrig (bass) and Mark Williams (drums). In June 1997, Russell Hitchcock joined Yothu Yindi's Mandawuy Yunupingu and The Seekers' Judith Durham for the joint single `I Am Australian' (penned by Seeker Bruce Woodley and The Bushwackers' Dobe Newton) which made its debut at #17 on the national single chart.