“I’m a big techno fan. I love that thumping kick drum,” Graham Russell reveals.
“We heard a version of ‘Lost in Love’ and it was thrash metal. It sounded cool!”
Not exactly the type of admission one would expect from half of Air Supply, the Australian duo beloved worldwide for its catalog of evergreen love songs.
Russell and Air Supply partner Russell Hitchcock celebrate the act’s 35th anniversary (they met May 12, 1975 while both were performing in “Jesus Christ Superstar”) with the release today (May 4) of “Mumbo Jumbo,” the twosome’s first album of new material in eight years.
“Dance With Me,” the first single from the Odds On Records release, is bubbling under Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.
Air Supply roared onto the Billboard Hot 100 with “Lost in Love,” which peaked at No. 3 in 1980. The song initiated a run of seven consecutive top fives in a little more than two years, including a trip to the top with “The One That You Love” in 1981. The pair added the No. 2-peaking “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” in 1983.
On the Adult Contemporary chart, the duo has inked 10 top 10s, with “Lost in Love,” “Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)” and “Even the Nights Are Better” having reached the summit.
Air Supply’s “Greatest Hits” album has been certified for sales of 5 million since its release in 1983, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“I don’t think either of us has ever taken (our success) for granted, because we’ve lived through the work, and the travel and all the things you have to throw yourself into to make it happen,” says Hitchcock.
“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.”
Russell was recently honored with a BMI Million-Air Certificate recognizing more than three million performances of Air Supply’s 1980 No. 2 Hot 100 hit “All Out of Love.”
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.
With the release of its new album, which features fellow Australian and former “American Idol” contestant Michael Johns and was mixed by Sean O’Dwyer (Pink Floyd, Randy Newman, Blink 182), Air Supply adds to its legacy of romantic refrains.
The pair attributes its fortunes to a friendship and chemistry that has endured for three-and-a-half decades.
“It’s hard for people to believe that we’ve never had a disagreement,” says Hitchcock. “Our roles in Air Supply are very well-defined. Graham writes the songs and produces the recordings. The music vision is his, and I get to sing great songs on the road and record great songs in the studio.
“It’s just a great relationship all around.”