Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell met in May 1975 when cast together in an Australian production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” As a side venture, the two began performing together outside the show and in 1976 formed Air Supply with bass guitarist Jeremy Paul. Their first single, “Love and Other Bruises,” was a Top 10 hit in Australia and other releases followed. However, despite ongoing concert receipts and record sales, Hitchcock and Russell claimed they earned very little money. In one interview, they reported having to scour the backs of hotel sofas for change simply so they could buy bread to make toast. Various singers and musicians drifted in and out of Air Supply (Paul left in 1977) but the two remaining founders stuck it out just to see what might happen.
In April 1979 Air Supply released a concept album, “Life Support,” which included the nearly six minute “Lost in Love,” which Russell had written in 15 minutes. After “Lost In Love” became an Australian hit, Arista Records’ Clive Davis picked up the U.S. release rights, had the single remixed and watched it soar to #3 stateside in early 1980. Two more Top 5 hits were pulled from that same LP (which was retitled “Lost In Love” in the U.S.): “All Out of Love” and “Every Woman in the World.”
Air Supply’s soft-rock romanticism resulted in ten more American hits through 1986 including one chart-topper. It was the title song from their next album, “The One That You Love” (1981). Others to reach the Top 5 in 1981 from that LP: “Here I Am (Just When You Thought I Was Over You”) and “Sweet Dreams.”
In 1982 Air Supply’s “Now and Forever” album featured the hits “Even The Nights Are Better,” “Young Love” and “Two Less Lonely People in the World.” A Jim Steinman song, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” was the one new track on their 1983 “Greatest Hits” release. It reached #2 as a single while the LP went on to sell more than seven million copies.
Air Supply’s final singles to reach Billboard’s Hot 100 charts were “Just As I Am” and “The Power of Love” (both in 1985) and “Lonely Is The Night” 9in 1986). The following year the group released a Christmas album before temporarily “taking a break” and disbanding.
In 1989 the founding duo reteamed, hired yet another group of backing singers and musicians, released the LP “The Earth” on Giant Records and embarked on a global tour. Although their U.S. success had faded, Air Supply continued to score hits elsewhere in the world, especially Asia. They even performed in Cuba, making them one of the few foreign acts allowed to stage shows in that Communist country. When Billboard’s published their Hot 100’s 50th Anniversary edition in 2006, Air Supply was named “the 83rd best musical act of all time.”