...Famous Last Words...

...Famous Last Words... is the seventh album by English rock band Supertramp and was released in October 1982. It was the studio follow-up to 1979's Breakfast in America and the last album with vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Roger Hodgson, who left the group to pursue a solo career. Thus, it was the final album to be released by the classic lineup of the band (Hodgson, Davies, Helliwell, Thomson, and Siebenberg).

...Famous Last Words...
Supertramp - Famous Last Words.jpg
Studio album by
Released7 October 1982
RecordedNovember 1981 – mid-1982
StudioUnicorn, Nevada City, California
The Backyard, Encino, Los Angeles
Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, Los Angeles
Bill Schnee's Studios, North Hollywood, Los Angeles
ProducerPeter Henderson, Russel Pope, Supertramp
Supertramp chronology
...Famous Last Words...
Brother Where You Bound

The album reached number 5 on the Billboard Pop Albums Charts in its third week on the chart dated November 27, 1982[2] and was certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000 copies there.[3] It also peaked at number 6 in the UK where it was certified Gold for 100,000 copies sold.[4]

A remastered CD version of ...Famous Last Words... was released on 30 July 2002 on A&M Records. The remastered CD comes with all the original artwork and the CD art features a green pair of scissors and a black background.

Background and recordingEdit

Though Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson had long been writing their songs separately, they had always conceived the theme and overlying direction for each album together. ...Famous Last Words... became the exception to this rule: having been living in different parts of California in the months leading up to the recording, they each conceived their own vision for the album. Hodgson wanted to do another pop album in the vein of Breakfast in America, while Davies had envisioned a heavy progressive rock album with a 10-minute song called "Brother Where You Bound" as its centerpiece.[5]

According to Bob Siebenberg, "In the end, they both kind of changed their formats and their picture of what they thought this album should be. It became a diluted version of what it started out to be. It was really neither here nor there."[5] In particular, the band decided to leave out "Brother Where You Bound", since it was too "heavy" to fit alongside Hodgson's pop compositions.[5] Supertramp used "Brother Where You Bound" for their next album, Brother Where You Bound (1985), though it had by that point evolved from 10 minutes to 16 and a half through the addition of some new sections.[citation needed]

As usual, the songs are all officially credited as being written by Davies/Hodgson. However, the sleeve notes color-code the songs' lyrics by individual author. The lead vocalist on each song is the same as its writer: "Crazy", "It's Raining Again", "Know Who You Are", "C'est le bon", and "Don't Leave Me Now" were written by Hodgson, and "Put on Your Old Brown Shoes", "Bonnie", "My Kind of Lady", and "Waiting So Long" were written by Davies.[citation needed]

The album was mainly recorded and mixed at Hodgson's home, Unicorn Studios in Nevada City, California, as he did not want to leave his wife, his then two-year-old daughter Heidi, and newborn son Andrew behind. Davies wound up recording his vocal and keyboard parts at his home studio, The Backyard Studios, in Encino, California. Other overdubs were at Bill Schnee Recording Studios in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

At the time of the album's release, many interpreted the title and cover art as thinly-veiled hints that Supertramp was breaking up.[5] In a 2015 interview, Hodgson confirmed that he and Davies decided on the title because "we weren't doing [a record] again".[6] He said that he regrets recording the album, calling it "a last-ditch attempt to try and make things happen" after the life had gone out of the band.[7] Conversely, John Helliwell said in 1986: "We wanted a phrase that bore some relationship with what we were doing but was enigmatic at the same time. We always like to have enigmatic titles like Crime of the Century ... This last LP we thought was going to be real quick. We thought we were going to rehearse it and record it real quick and it ended up taking longer than any other so we had to eat our words again. For the past three or four LPs we've been saying, 'Let's be well prepared.' So the title sprung out of that as well. I can't remember who first thought of it. The graphic design came directly from the title."[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [11]
Smash Hits8/10[12]

A contemporary review in Creem savaged the album for its nondescript nature, concluding "this stuff is so soddenly bland already that the Muzak folks are going to have their work cut out for them".[9] AllMusic, in a retrospective review, found the album overly tailored towards commercial success, claiming that the group in general and Roger Hodgson in particular were too fixated on producing more hits, and that as a result "romantically inclined poetry and love song fluff replaces the lyrical keenness that Supertramp had produced in the past, and the instrumental proficiency that they once mastered has vanished."[8]

Track listingEdit

All songs credited to Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson. Listed below are the respective writers, also lead singers of their songs.

Side one
1."Crazy"Roger Hodgson4:44
2."Put On Your Old Brown Shoes"Rick Davies4:22
3."It's Raining Again"Hodgson4:24
5."Know Who You Are"Hodgson5:00
Side two
6."My Kind of Lady"Davies5:15
7."C'est le bon"Hodgson5:32
8."Waiting So Long"Davies6:35
9."Don't Leave Me Now"Hodgson6:24


  • Rick Davies – piano (tracks 2, 4, 6, 8), Hammond organ (tracks 1, 7, 9), Wurlitzer electric piano (track 2), synthesizers (track 3), lead and backing vocals, melodica (track 3), harmonica (tracks 2, 9)
  • Roger Hodgson – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9), 12-string guitar (tracks 2, 5, 7), piano (tracks 1, 3, 9), pump organ (track 1), glockenspiel (track 3), lead and backing vocals
  • John Helliwellsaxophones (tracks 1-3, 6, 8, 9), synthesizers (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9), clarinet (track 7, 8)
  • Dougie Thomsonbass (tracks 1-4, 6-9)
  • Bob Siebenbergdrums (tracks 1-4, 6-9), percussion
    • This was the first Supertramp album for which Siebenberg was credited under his real name. All previous Supertramp albums on which he had appeared credited him as "Bob C. Benberg".

Additional personnel

  • Claire Diament – backing vocals on "Don't Leave Me Now"
  • Ann Wilson – backing vocals on "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" and "C'est le bon"
  • Nancy Wilson – backing vocals on "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" and "C'est le bon"


2002 A&M reissue:

The 2002 A&M Records reissue was mastered from the original master tapes by Greg Calbi and Jay Messina at Sterling Sound, New York, 2002. The reissue was supervised by Bill Levenson with art direction by Vartan and design by Mike Diehl, with production coordination by Beth Stempel.

The intro to "Bonnie" contains a glitch in the piano part on the 2002 remaster, and has never been fully explained (whether it was a mastering error, or an intentional alteration to the track).[citation needed]



Billboard (United States) [2]

Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Crazy" Mainstream Rock 10
"Don't Leave Me Now" Mainstream Rock 32
"It's Raining Again" Adult Contemporary 5
Mainstream Rock 7
Pop Singles 11
"Waiting So Long" Mainstream Rock 30
1983 "My Kind of Lady" Adult Contemporary 16
Pop Singles 31

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[30] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[32] Platinum 503,500[31]
Germany (BVMI)[33] Platinum 500,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[34] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ AllMusic Archived 21 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "allmusic ((( ...Famous Last Words... > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum". RIAA.com. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  4. ^ Tsort. "Albums from the Year 1982". tsort.info. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Melhuish, Martin (1986). The Supertramp Book. Toronto, Canada: Omnibus Press. pp. 167–175. ISBN 978-0-9691272-2-2.
  6. ^ ROCK ANTENNE (16 July 2015), Roger Hodgson: Will Supertramp reunite? - Wird es eine Supertramp Reunion geben?, retrieved 4 March 2018 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ (2009). 30th Anniversary Breakfast in America Feature, In the Studio. Archived 8 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
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  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 7 (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 857. ISBN 0195313739.
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob; et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 797. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Dellar, Fred. "Albums". Smash Hits (25 November – 8 December 1982). p. 35.
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