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FAMOUS LAST WORDS

Supertramp

Crossover Prog


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Supertramp Famous Last Words album cover
3.11 | 215 ratings | 30 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crazy (4:32)
2. Put on Your Old Brown Shoes (4:20)
3. It's Raining Again (4:25)
4. Bonnie (5:37)
5. Know Who You Are (4:58)
6. My Kind of Lady (5:12)
7. C'Est le Bon (5:32)
8. Waiting So Long (6:32)
9. Don't Leave Me Now (6:25)

Total Time: 47:22

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Hodgson / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Rick Davies / keyboards, vocals
- Clair Diament / vocals, vocals (bckgr)
- John Helliwell / keyboards, saxophone, vocals
- Richard Hewson / string arrangements
- Bob Siebenberg / drums
- Ann Wilson / vocals, vocals (bckgr)
- Dougie Thomson / bass
- Nancy Wilson / vocals, vocals (bckgr)

Releases information

A&M Records #393 732-2, 1982

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to chris s for the last updates
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SUPERTRAMP Famous Last Words ratings distribution


3.11
(215 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
28%
Good, but non-essential (44%)
44%
Collectors/fans only (15%)
15%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

SUPERTRAMP Famous Last Words reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
1 stars Famous First Dowhfall

As with other groups before and after them, the stratospheric success of their BIA album and its grueling promotional tours brought some friction between the songwriters/creators. Most likely spawned by the hit-making count, now heavily favoring Roger, and the choice of singles brought forward to the public, this album was definitely not a worthy successor to BIA, either saleswise or artistically. Prophetically-titled Famous Last Words, it sounds like it was probably (I'm extrapolating, here) the last Supertramp album, until Davies decided to keep going, once Hodgson was leaving for a solo career. It didn't look like it at the time, but the situation would eventually grow to immense almost-Floydian proportions, as the Waters/Gilmour feud hasn't much to envy the Hodgson/Davies one. Surprisingly enough, the guest list is including the Wilson sisters of Heart fame.

A rather poor album, graced with an almost-prophetic tightrope artwork, this album was also the first try at Supertramp dealing with the videoclip fad and the two or three examples they produced for MTV exposure only dealt them a lack of credibility among many core fans, if not alienation. It didn't help either that the main "hit" It's Raining Again was another whiny/wanker Hodgson melody, like the BIA t/t, Give, Lady and Dreamer, and this time the equally-atrocious C'est Le Bon is in the same area, so that makes two of them. But Davies' attempt at commercial tracks was close to ridicule ? My Kind Of Lady is a bad doo-wop unwilling pastiche (help Frank Zappa ;o)))) and Brown Shoes a clumsy attempt at rock'n roll.

Even the last two numbers can't save this one from sinking, although they are much better than the rest of the album, they only manage to remind you of other albums and makes this one even more horrendous. Indeed, the 6-mins+ Davies-penned Waiting So Long is one of the only track of this album that would find space (as a filler) on any of their previous albums (bar Stamped, of course), but it has its charms, including a certain moodiness (reminding a bit Asylum) and enough musical passages (among which a Hodgson wailing guitar solo) and drama to please progheads. And the Hodgson-penned Don't Leave Me Now (why did you, Roger?) is also a worthy closer (not sure this album deserved one, though), even if it doesn't match its predecessor, but its melancholic ending is pleasant enough.

I suppose that those dumb MTV videoclips did not help me in not-liking this album, despite the last two tracks. Don't get me wrong, this album is not as bad as I might seem to hint at, but compared to previous works, it sucks the bone. Unlike those, this one is depressingly average, which made me get rid of the album quick. No wonder something drastic would happen after such a mediocre album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27682) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record has been made after the wonderful "Breakfast in America". Fans expected something great. But the result is a rather disappointing album. The vocals are still excellent like on the previous studio album. IMO there is only one song that is at the level of "Breakfeast in America": it is "it's raining again". The guitar solo on "Waiting so Long" is absolutely amazing. There is still this saloon piano and those saxes, but the compositions seem to have decreased quite a bit in quality and inspiration. The song are not as catchy, and we feel they took it easy. The record is not bad, but SUPERTRAMP did better.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#27686) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Cutting the chord

Noted primarily for the hit single "It's raining again", "Famous last words" was the last album by Supertramp on which Roger Hodgson performed. Its relative lack of success is hard to explain, but may have been a contributing factor in Hodgson's departure. Whether the title itself is a deliberate reflection of what was about to happen, or nothing more than an unfortunate co-incidence, is open to speculation. The sleeve image of a trapeze wire being cut does however add to the evidence that it may already have been known within the band that this would be Hodgson's swansong. Hodgson is dominant throughout the album, his distinctive vocals enhancing most of the tracks (Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart are listed as guest vocalists). Instrumentally, there are some great moments, such as the sax solo on "My kind of lady", the rock guitar on "Waiting so long", and the softer lead guitar on "Don't leave me now".

The tracks on side one of the album are generally shorter and more basic. Side two allows the band to stretch themselves more, away from the singles orientated music they had been moving towards on albums such as "Breakfast in America".

"Famous last words" was a fine offering from the band, with many strong tracks. It deserved far greater success than it ultimately achieved.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#27690) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good is a decent adjective for Famous Last words. Nothing great on here, tons of middle of the road fare and Hodgson really irritated me on this album. To be brutally honest I do not think Supertramp would have survived with Roger Hodgson's musical evolution after this and IMHO he had already began to drag the group down in one form or another.His daprture then was all for the better because the four studio works released since this have ranged from good to excellent. Highlight on here would have to be ' Don't leave me now' , ' Put on your old Brown Shoes' and ' Waiting so long'. ' My kind of Lady' works commercially but nothing could sink as low as ' Crazy' and ' It's raining again'. Hai Hai perhaps!!

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27691) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Previous reviewers think that the band knew that this was their last album with Roger Hodgson. I read in some good websites dedicated to Supertramp (their official website isn`t interesting for me because they only announce their new albums there and how to buy them!) that the band knew that this album was their last with Hodgson, because he said during the recording sessions that he was going to leave the band after the tour for this album. I read some concerts reviews from 1982-83 and in these reviews the reviewers wrote that Hodgson was announcing in the concerts in that tour that he was going to leave the band after the tour.So, it seems to me that the title and the cover of the album are about Hodgson leaving the band. It seems that the rest of the band decided to continue without him even before this album was released. For the first time in a Supertramp`s album with Hodgson, the songwriting credits are "Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson", but with the names of the songwriters printed in different colours and this happens in the lyrics printed in the inner sleeve, too, maybe to make clear who wrote which song. Hodgson composed five songs alone ("Crazy", "It`s Raining again", "Know Who You Are", "C`est le Bon" "Don`t Leave Me now"), and Davies four ("Put On Your Old Brown Shoes", "Bonnie", "My Kind of Lady" and "Waiting So Long"). It seems that Hodgson wasn`t happy with the songwriting credits anymore as being by "Davies/Hodgson", because he wrote more songs for other albums than Davies, with the exception of the "Breakfast in America" and "Crime of the Century" albums in which the songwriting was equal by both musicians. I bought this album in December 1982. It is a "sad album", really,as most of the songs are sad. "Crazy" has a very good piano by Hodgson and a great sax solo by Helliwell. "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" is a Blues, with an Harmonica played by Davies and with the Wilson sisters (from the band called "Heart") in backing vocals. "It`s Raining Again" is a Pop song which I like, and it has a Video which I saw on T.V. once in 1983. "Bonnie" is a song about a fan of an actress and how this fan loves her and wants to know her. This is one of my favourite songs of this album. Helliwell is credited with playing keyboards in this album (for the first and only time in all Supertamp`s discography!), something he did on tours and maybe in previous albums too. This song doesn`t have wind instruments, so I think that Helliwell played keyboards in this song. "Know Who You Are" is a "real" solo song by Hodgson, with very good lyrics. He plays acoustic guitar and sings, with a "sad" string arrangement by Richard Hewson (who also worked with the band in the "Crime..." and "Crisis?..." albums, and also with The Beatles in the Phil Spector version of the "Let It Be" album). "My Kind of Lady" is a good song, too, with a great sax solo and very good keyboard arrangements. This song also has a Video which I have never seen. My favourite song in this album is "C`est Le Bon", another "sad song" with a great clarinet (is it a clarinet?) solo by Helliwell and with the Wilson sisters again on backing vocals. It also has interesting lyrics, at least for me:"I never wanted the responsibility/I still remember what they tried to make of me/they used to wonder why/they couldn`t get through to me/`cause all that I had was this music a-coming to me/and all that I had was this rhythm a-running through me...". This section of the lyrics means to me that some people who wants to be musicians and work as musicians have "hard times" to explain to their families and to the general society that they don`t want to "work in a factory" or to study more "Conventional" careers to survive. They want to work and live as musicians despite having sometimes hard times to survive. Hodgson seems to ask himself in this song what is the next thing to do in his life after leaving the band, but he knows that he still has "this music" in him,something that he still enjoys. Excellent song. The next songs are the most sad of this album, and are the songs which I don`t like to listen very often, really. "Waiting So Long" has a very good lead guitar but sad lyrics. "Don`t Leave Me Now" has a good piano section, backing vocals by Claire Diament, a very good lead guitar, and very good drums. But it closes the album in a sad mood, really. I read some interviews done separately with Davies and Hodgson in the 90s, and they were asked about a "reunion" of the classic line-up of Supetramp. Both said that in 1992-93 they tried to work together again, but that Hodgson wanted separated songwriting credits and a new manager, because he didn`t want the band to being managed by Davies`wife. Davies didn`t agree, so Supertramp appeared again in 1996- 97 to record a new album ("Some things never change") without Hodgson, and also without Dougie Thomson, who said in other interviews in the 90s that he wasn`t happy in the 80s playing Hodgson`s songs without him in the band, so he wasn`t invited by Davies to the new Supertramp line-up of 1996-97, but that he and Helliwell played some concerts with Hodgson in 1996-97. Hodgson is still in good terms with Helliwell, Thomson and Siebenberg, but not with Davies. But he mentioned in one of those 90s interviews that he went to see the band in concert once during the 1997 tour, and that he liked the new music of the band, but that he didn`t enjoy seeing the band playing his songs without him.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#27692) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After their 1979 commercial peak with "Breakfast In America", Supertramp returned with "...Famous Last Words..." in 1982, A darker and slightly more melancholic release. You can hear that the band isn't as happy anymore, mainly because that Vocalist/Guitarist/Keyboardist Roger Hodgson wasn't quite satisfyed with the band at that time, which resulted his departure from the band in 1983. The opener, "Crazy" is a great tune, with very catchy verses and chours and is among the best tracks here. "Know Who You Are" is a beautiful and sad acoustic ballad by Hodgson which nearly brings me to tears everytime I hear it. But the peak of this album is the two last tracks, which are among Supertramp's best tracks from the 80's!

The rest is good, only dragged down by "It's Raining Again", which is rather irretating!

This one is mostly for fans though. Though you could always give it a try if you have heard some of their other albums. Me personally, give it 4 stars. Very good album, imo.

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Posted Saturday, December 04, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars You would think that Rodger Hodgson would want to go out with a bang before his solo career began but it didn't happen, instead a hit single is what came of this album and that was the extent of this effort. "It's Raining Again" was a sleek pop production with all the hooks. No doubt it is one of the bands most memorable songs, alas this is surely not one their better albums. They abandoned their progressive sound for a straight-ahead, perhaps over produced, pop and rock format. This album has some strengths but very few, hardly anything nearly as consistent as previous studio efforts.

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Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars (3,5*) Supertramp's best album is for me, like most listeners, unquestionably Crime of the Century. After that it's quite hard to put them in order. I think their most succesful(?) Breakfast in America is slightly disappointing in the use of keyboards and this one often unjustly disliked. I may even prefer this one if they are compared song-to-song. 'Crazy' is better than 'Gone Hollywood'. 'It's Raining Again' is nicer than 'Goodbye Stranger' etc. Both albums have some uninteresting songs - maybe less in BIA, that's true. But if 'Child of Vision' is supposed to be BIA's grand finale, it has 2 superior counterparts here: 'Waiting So Long' and 'Don't Leave Me Now'. Both are among the strongest and most moving Supertramp songs.

I also like 'Know Who You Are' in its sad simplicity (compare 'Two of Us' in Crisis? What Crisis?). The band may have been about to break already but not a bad swansong of the fruitful Hodgson-Davies partnership. Sad that neither of them have been able to keep that high standard on their own (I don't now remember if Davies have had writing partners but the newer Supertramp albums haven't got my interest, and Hodgson's Hai Hai is unbeliavably bad album).

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#50081) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars Some of the greatest lineups in progressive music were undone in the 1980s by the personal and creative upheaval that characterized the early part of that decade. Unfortunately Supertramp was no exception. 'Famous Last Words' marked the departure of founding member Roger Hodgson and the dissolution of one of the truly memorable songwriting duos of modern music in Hodgson and Rick Davies. The split would leave Davies as the lone original member as well as the de facto (and legal) steward of the band's future direction. Hodgson would launch a solo career. Neither would achieve the kind of commercial or creative success that Supertramp did in the 1970s.

I got into Supertramp with 'Even in the Quietest Moments' and quickly discovered the much more dazzling 'Crime of the Century'. When 'Breakfast in America' released in 1979 I was swept up with the millions of other who gravitated to the band's unique blend of jazz, pop, nostalgia and brilliant songwriting as the album went quadrillion²-platinum or whatever it ended up selling. Three years later I still played the record regularly and several of the hits were still on the radio, but since the band didn't tour very heavily across the heart of America they weren't on my radar all that much.

Then out of nowhere comes "?famous last words?", and of course my curiosity was piqued. What had the boys come up with this time? Well, not more of the same, I can assure you of that. There is plenty of symbolism in this album that signals the pending breakup, and the overall mood is rather resigned and depressing. First is the cover itself, a picture of a circus performer on a tightrope looking nervously over his shoulder as an ominous hand reaches out to sever the rope with a huge pair of scissors. The album title suggests Hodgson and Davies knew people like me would be writing wistful memorials long after the band itself was no more. The splitting of songwriting credits to clearly distinguish between those of Hodgson and those of Davies was a first for the band; on previous albums, the credits were always shared in one way or another. The inside liner notes even have the lyrics color-coded to distinguish between the two writers. Inside the sleeve a picture of the band shows the five members, none smiling, and all tip-toeing nervously across their separate tightropes. And the lyrics nearly all reflect on watershed points within personal relationships in one way or another. There was no question whatsoever that this was the swan song for Supertramp, and that the breakup was not all smiles and hugs.

If you can get past the mildly depressing nature of the packaging though, there is actually some pretty good music here. Perhaps also symbolic, the track list both begins and ends with songs written by Hodgson. And knowing Hodgson's flair for drama, I think it's also intentional that the album begins on a pensive high note with "Crazy":

"Here's little song to make you feel good, put a little light in your day; these are crazy times, and it's all been getting pretty serious. Here's a little song to make you feel right, send the blues away; well it's a crazy game, tell me who's to blame ? I'm pretty curious";

And ends with the sad and melancholy "Don't Leave Me Now":

"Don't leave me now, leave me holding an empty heart. As the curtains start to fall? all alone in this crazy world, when I'm old and cold and grey and time is gone".

Pain is just a reminder that you're alive, I suppose.

"Crazy" is a typical opening number for the band, a peppy tempo with lots of piano, saxophone highlights and a short sax solo all wrapped up in Hodgson's slightly-mad-Englishman vocals, with complementary backing by Davies. In keeping with the trend in some of the band's other albums, the presence of Hodgson's guitar is secondary to the keyboards.

Davies wrote "Put on Your Old Brown Shoes", a kind of retro jazzy/blues number with what sounds like alto sax and an almost ragtime vibe to the piano. The Wilson sisters of Heart provide backing vocals, and overall this is not unlike some of the music on their 'Private Auditions' album of the same period. The lyrics are in keeping with the general breakup theme of the album, accented by a nice piano/sax extended instrumental passage in the middle of the song:

"You and me, we're helpless can't you see ? we've got to get away, get away. Got to move on, catch the next train and we'll be gone;

And the rest of our lives we'll be free".

Hodgson serves up one of his glossy pure-pop tunes with "It's Raining Again", which turned out to be another huge hit for the band. This is one of those songs you either love or hate, and I choose to love it. Like "Dreamer" or "The Logical Song" these are bitingly sarcastic lyrics set to an upbeat, almost danceable rhythm, and some of the most haunting saxophone work John Helliwell has ever done:

"It's raining again, you know it's hard to pretend. Oh no, it's raining again, too bad I'm losing a friend".

The children's chorus ending of nursery rhyme lyrics is a bit cheesy and self-indulgent on Hodgson's part, but clearly the guy was dealing with some pretty raw emotions at the time and this is how he often expressed those feelings in his music. The song contains one of the most striking lyrical passages Hodgson ever put on paper, in my opinion:

"You're old enough some people say, to read the signs and walk away. It's only time that heals the pain, and makes the sun come out again".

I still can't hear that passage even today without blinking back a few tears.

I personally think that "Bonnie" is a highly symbolic work by Davies to describe the intensely personal relationship between him and Hodgson. The lyrics read like the story of an obsessed fan of an old-time movie star who is longing to get closer to her, but I believe it also describes how Davies may have felt about Hodgson at one time.

Hodgson follows that one with the most achingly personal lament he ever penned ? "Know Who You Are". This is a mostly acoustic number with Hodgson strumming guitar and singing in a halting, pensive mood, and I can't listen to it without feeling like a gawking intruder into an intensely personal moment for Hodgson:

"Know who you are? there's a new song inside you. Weep if you can? let the tears fall behind you".

Davies counters with another retro-sounding light jazzy number, "My Kind of Lady". By now the stylistically different directions Hodgson and Davies were pursuing was becoming apparent. For me this is the weakest track on the album, with 50's-sounding backing vocals, rather tepid piano, and overall just a bit of unenthusiastic, plodding tempo. Perhaps part of the reason it fell flat was that neither Hodgson nor Davies were very enthusiastic about recording it.

This sets up one of the band's strongest album finishes though, with the remaining three tracks all being complex and highly memorable. Hodgson's "C'est le bon" is something of an autobiography, with gorgeous acoustic guitar accented by clarinet while Hodgson chants about having a heart full of music that just has to get out, regardless of the consequences. The Wilson sisters add touching backing vocals to give the song a timeless feel, making it one of the great forgotten Supertramp classics.

Davies' strongest work follows his weakest one with the horn-driven "Waiting So Long". Here again the listener cannot escape the tension in the band, with lyrics that are both biting and sad: "Did you get all you want? Did we see the whole show? So where's all the fun that we used to know? As the memories fade way out of view, I'd love those old days to come back to you". Hodgson offers his strongest guitar work on the album, heavy and brooding but full of life at the same time.

The album closes with the final emotional cry from Hodgson, the deeply resigned soul- sigh in "Don't Leave Me Now". Musically this is nothing new from the band ? melodic and beautiful piano and thoughtful saxophone, very little guitar, and the little-known Claire Diament with some very pleasant backing vocals. But the message is clear in the lyrics, and with the end of the album also comes the end of the band, at least as we all knew and loved them:

"Don't leave me now, leave me out with nowhere to go. As the shadows start to fall ?

Don't leave me now".

In some ways I see this album as a soundtrack to the end of an age, and a symbol of the much broader dissolution of a decade of wonderful music, incredible artistic creativity, and pleasant memories. It's a stark contrast to the band's 'Breakfast in America' peak, but also an incredibly poignant and personal look inside the souls of one of the great musical icons of an eclectic and artistic generation.

It pains me to listen to this album, especially today as those of us who came out of that generation and those times are now adults, and we are just expected to deal with some of the same kinds of heavy, somber emotions and complex relationships that once seemed so simple and straightforward. But it is also a reminder that once you get past all the extraneous trappings, life is really all about our relationships with each other. Hodgson and Davies understood that, probably still do today. And I cherish the many songs where they expressed this and shared their emotions with us willing listeners. I am confident I am a better man for it. Hopefully those who listen to this music today and contemplate all the layers of meaning it holds for our personal interactions will someday feel the same way.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#88231) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 26, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After their quite pop album "Breakfast", the Tramp needed a three years break to produce a new studio album.

With the opener "Crazy" one understands that the pop orientation will be deeply investigated again (too much to my taste). It is not a bad song as such but not a Tramp classic either.

The problem with this album is that the band is trying (but fails) to reproduce some of their early work. This one lacks in subtlety, harmony and genious which made them famous (they have lost their music if not their words...).

"Put on Your Old Brown Shoes" is a very good example; somewhere reminiscent of "Blody Well Right" but inferior.

"It's Raining Again" reminds us of "Give a Little Bit" but is not on par. And so on. It sounds as if a cover band was playing Supertramp.

This album it not really bad, but still the descent in quality goes on ...("Know Who You Are" being the perfect illustration : an insipid accoustic ballad).

The longest track of the album " Waiting so Long" written by Davies is the best one of the album (but it's the eighth track !).

Globally, on this effort, Davies'compositions are stronger than Hodgson ones. Is this a sign for the things to come ?

It is definitely not a must own record (even for fans). Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#111670) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Last words indeed

Between two fantastic albums Supertramp put out this effort. Similar in sound to their previous work, Breakfast In America this album offers up lush soundscapes with a good variety of songs to keep attention spans, but something is not right. Clearly, tension within the band was starting to grind on the members as was trying to follow up a number of overly successful previous albums and the band was rapidly searching for inspiration. Which you'd think that the boys would have after 3 years break from their Breakfast, but apparently not. No, instead we have a collection of songs that all miss their mark in some way or another.

Opening with Crazy there's still some signs of life from the band. Moody and well performed this is one of the standouts on the album, even if the repetition of Crazy... at the end of the track is a bit... off. But then it all goes somewhere completely else. Put On Your Old Brown Shoes is a boppy 50s sounding song which simply does not work well. Davies's performance does little to save the track as does the sax solo in the middle. Know Who You Are is a fairly pleasant song which unfortunately doesn't go anywhere and simply meanders around until it ends, although it is saved a bit by Hodgeson's vocals near the end. My Kind Of Lady is kind of in the same vein as the second track (50s boppy) and is once again mostly forgettable.

But at the point of absolute low we have the ''hit'' It's Raining Again . This upbeat and annoying song is the kind of thing that no prog-head will find themselves enjoying unless they really really like the band. Jumpy and pure pop (not the usual dark-pop that the 'Tramp produces so well) this one is especially brought down by the truly irritating end of the song which has a chorus of children repeating ''It's raining, it's pouring'' and so on. A track best skipped.

Now don't be totally fooled, this album has a couple very good songs on it. C'est La Bon offers a decent track with some good melodies by Hodgeson at the chorus, and Bonnie sounds like something from their Crime days with Davies at the vocal helm bringing the song into more dark territories. Waiting So Long is a song coming into the same grounds with it's dark tones and Don't Leave Me Now does the same with some very excellent parts to become the haunting standout of the album.

A potentially good album with a number of flaws. Blame the 80s, but the Tramp really missed a step here. Luckily, their next album would turn out to be utterly fantastic... but Hodgeson would leave after this one, making the band generally less attractive to some. This one is better for fans, who may find a lot of things to like about it as there's many good moments here. However, those who don't feel the need to buy a lot of Supertramp should just avoid this one. 2 stars -- good for fans, not so much for everyone else.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#168175) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nothing lasts forever, and even since the not so quiet moments of the pre-production process for the "Breakfast in America" album, this universal rule was on the brink of actual application for the Hodgson-Davies partnership/complicity. By the time the late 70s and early 80s were reshaping the rules for disseminating music, Supertramp had joyously refashioned their signature sound with patent AOR flourishes and a melodic drive that felt quite comfortable in its formulaic self-indulgence. This is true despite the fact that their amazing live album "Paris" comprised a repertoire dominantly devoted to the band's historical art-rock leanings. But no, the AOR orientations prevailed for the germination, recording and production of "... Famous Last Words...", Supertramp's last album with Roger Hodgson as a band member. Not unlike the "Breakfast" album, this is a musical work somewhat focused on the projection of hit singles and palatable songs, yet still containing pieces in which the band pursues more elaborated musical frameworks. A good yet uneven art-rock album, whose better moments are sure to please the friendly prog listener. 'Crazy' kicks off the album with energy and catchiness: the melodic line is easily memorable, so it bears a commercial potential indeed, but you can tell that the arrangements are clever and the performances are tighter than in your usual pop-rock hit single. This was actually the album's third single, and IMHO, this was the one that deserved more attention than the previous two did: Hodgson-penned 'It's Raining Again' and Davies-penned 'My Kind of Lady' are well constructed songs that are obviously radio-friendly. The Hodgson one follows in many ways the pattern of 'The Logical Song' but with a kinder motif (even the powerful sax solos by Halliwell and melodica solo by Davies echo the sugary moods provided by the vocal lines and the basic piano chords), while the Davies one is a relatively unsubstantial semi-ballad on a blues tempo, very Broadway, kind, gentle, but as I said, unsubstantial. A bit more powerful but also unsubstantial is 'Put On Your Old Brown Shoes', a song that doesn't do real justice to the Rick-side of Supertramp. 'Bonnie' does, although its overall arrangements and mood make it sound like a lost Billy Joel's song that didn't make it to one of his classic albums. This is, in itself, a clever "love song" in which one sentence from the lyrics reveals the real intentions behind the guy's apparent affection for his lady. Other Hodgson numbers are also formulaic under his acoustic spiritually-driven pattern - 'Know Who You Are' and 'C'est Le Bon'. Both are quite pleasant to me (with the former featuring delicious sting arrangements), but on the other hand, they don't seem to provide something particularly invigorating in the band's repertoire. The album's brightest moments are comprised in the last two tracks. Davies' 'Waiting So Long' refurbishes the standard of 'From Now On' and takes it to a more furious level, of course, in a constrained fashion much in tune with what Supertramp is all about at its best. The epic development of this song can also be connected with the classic 'Rudy' (arguably, the best Davies-written piece ever). The guitar solo is quite Gilmouresque, while the orchestrated keyboards and rhythm section bear a genuine progressive feel. Hodgson's 'Don't Leave Me Now' closes down the album with flying colors. Despite its pessimistic lyrics about solitude and fear of loneliness, this song displays a genuine sense of power. Halliwell's sax deliveries and Siebenberg's drumming are crucial to this factor, no doubt about it: but also, there is the fact that Hodgson was providing his last guitar solo ever in a Supertramp item, and he delivers with passion and strength. The ethereal fade- out, filled with soft female vocalizations and typical Davies harmonica lines, manages to bring an excellent ending for an album that is only very good in general terms.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#183573) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars How fickle the madding crowd can be. A mere three years after launching the wildly successful bombshell that was 1979's "Breakfast in America," (the album that sat at the number one position for weeks on end and spawned four top twenty hit singles still spinning in heavy rotation on classic rock radio stations three decades later) Supertramp released ".Famous Last Words" and the public shrugged. Despite rising to the #5 position on the album charts it came and went in a flash before drifting into anonymity. Having never heard it myself I was somewhat reticent to add it to my crossover prog collection but now that I've repeatedly listened to it for months I'm pleased to report that I think it's gotten a bum rap that it doesn't deserve. In fact, it's pretty dern good and beats the britches off of the higher-rated but rather boring "Crisis, What Crisis?"

Since Roger Hodgson bid the band adieu shortly after this record hit the stores it's not surprising to find the personality clashes and general turmoil that existed in the group surfacing in the writing of he and cohort Rick Davies. Roger tap-dancing into the wings after 13 years of partnership with Rick doesn't come as much of a shock at all. Actually, that kind of longevity is, in and of itself, amazing. But the "official" reason given for the split is that their wives didn't get along. Huh? Excuse me, but WTF? Are you pulling our collective prog leg? One of the most heralded writing duos of the 70s parted ways because the company Christmas party was awkward? Why not just tell the ladies that if they can't play nice they're forever banned from the rehearsal and studio sessions? Sounds pretty ticky-tacky and childish if you ask me. Still, despite the ridiculous soap opera backdrop, they managed to put together a collage of songs worthy of your attention.

By the time the first few notes enter your ear canals you'll know this is the one and only Supertramp. Their unique sound is unmistakable and "Crazy" is a prime example of their inimitable style. It's a well- written tune based on pounding piano chords, John Helliwell's lively saxophone and Hodgson's soaring soprano voice but, at the same time, the lyrics betray the tension within. "These are crazy times," Roger sings, "and it's all been getting pretty serious..." I especially like the way they allow the "crazy" refrain at the end to play itself out and not cut it short for the sake of radio friendliness. The bluesy, Wurlitzer piano-dominated sway of "Put on Your Old Brown Shoes" instantly identifies it as one of Davies' lite-rock compositions and, as such, one shouldn't really expect any surprises. Helliwell tactfully avoids overplaying during his sax solo and the tight horn/guitar riffs that color the song towards the end are delightful. I get the feeling that Rick is serenading the soon-to-be-departed with resigned lines like "you know you paid your dues/did all you could/time to move on/no more to say."

According to reputable sources "It's Raining Again" climbed up to the #11 spot on the Top 40 but it also did a splendid job of avoiding being played on the stations I was listening to at the time. Now that I've become acquainted with this catchy little ditty I'm confused as to why the great unwashed masses didn't embrace it the same way they did, say, "The Logical Song." It's just as memorable and follows the same poppish formula but it faded from view as quickly as the LP did. Of course, 1982 was the dawning age of the damned MTV virus and perhaps the lack of a "groovy" video clip retarded its growth (not to mention its dubious use of the made-up-in-order-to-complete-a-rhyme word uptighter.) "You're old enough some people say/to read the signs and walk away/it's only time that heals the pain/and makes the sun come out again." Roger sings, possibly to himself. "Bonnie" (Come on, Rick, you couldn't pick a classier name than that?) is next and if you're patient enough to get through its initial puppy-love schmaltziness you'll be rewarded with a transcendent, symphonic prog movement featuring an infectious melody flowing over deep synthesized strings that is heavenly. I adore the acoustic piano sound producer Peter Henderson and his engineering crew procure throughout the piece.

Another identifiable trait of the Supertramp modus operandi surfaces when Hodgson straps on his 12- string acoustic guitar for "Know Who You Are" and delivers an airy, delicate performance sans drums with a haunting melody that sorta reminds me of Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade." Richard Newson's sparse string arrangement adds a simple grace to the subtlety of the piece. Unfortunately, that quiet serenity is rudely interrupted by the pseudo doo-wop of "My Kind of Lady," the only throwaway track on the album. Okay, it's not horrific but it's definitely not my style and it resides miles away from Progland. Roger gets the 'Tramp train back on the rails with another 12-string extravaganza, the charming "C'est Le Bon." John's fluid clarinet and Dougie Thompson's easy-to- overlook-but-supremely-tasteful bass lines contribute to the number's allure as this one slowly builds to a full, towering chorus. Hodgson's poignant lyrics ring true for every musician who's had to swim against the current just to follow his artistic calling. "I never knew what a man was supposed to be/I never wanted the responsibility/I still remember what they tried to make of me/they used to wonder why they couldn't get through to me/'cause all that I had was this music/a-coming to me/and all that I had was this rhythm/a-coming through me." he sings.

Supertramp's prog leanings are very apparent on the last two cuts. "Waiting So Long" has a basic-yet- effective vocal/piano intro, then heavy accents add drama and gravity to the proceedings. The song utilizes a layer-by-layer construction that eventually leads to one of Roger's most emotional electric guitar rides ever and a menacing, thunder-in-the-distance finale. You can detect a palpable sorrow in Davies' voice. "Did you get all you want?/Did we see the whole show?/so where's all the fun/that we used to know?/as the memories fade/way out of view/I'd love those old days/to come back to you..." he laments, "But the blindness goes on, the blindness goes on..." The album ends with the equally despairing but nonetheless appropriate "Don't Leave Me Now." The stillness of the introduction is broken abruptly by strong, angry piano chords ala "Crime of the Century" and Helliwell's soulful saxophone wailing away. The heartbreaking words speak for themselves. "Don't leave me now/all alone in this crazy world/when I'm old and cold and grey/and the time is gone." Hodgson cries. As they wisely allow the tune to wander without hurry down its own lonely road you'll hear nostalgic strains of the harmonica from "School" wafting in the breeze. It's a classy touch. Accompanied only by funeral-like drums the music slowly disappears over the far horizon like a cemetery-bound procession mourning the death of a loved one.

Even if you're no more than a casual fan of Supertramp I advise you to give ".Famous Last Words" a fighting chance. You'll like it. It's not as accessible and internationally popular as its famous predecessor but few albums are. Actually, in a prog sense, it's more akin to "Even in the Quietest Moments." so its appeal to those who lean in that direction should be obvious. There's a lot here to enjoy. 3.6 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#202864) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2009

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Famous Last Songs by Supertramp

Supertramp with Famous Last Words continued with the clever-pop style Breakfast in America presented and succeeded with. However, Famous Last Words was definitely not in the heights of it's predecessor either in the song-writing or in comercial success, however we're not interested in the later, so let's focus on the former:

Like The Final Cut by Pink Floyd presented a very dark feel due to Roger Waters' domination over the band, with this release of Supertramp something similar was happening(even the year was close, this being from 1982 and Floyd's from 1983!), though neither Roger nor Rick dominated in the end, just both egos joined to create a blue pop record with some up's and downs, which after this album was done Roger left in pursue of his solo career just like Roger(Waters) did after releasing The Final Cut. Both bands continued without *one of their* essential song-writers, though showed vastly different styles to what they had been doing, Pink Floyd with Gilmour opened up a bit to new styles and contemporary production, while Supertramp with Rick developed Rick's roots, Blues with some Jazzy leanings.

''But is Famous Last Words a good sad pop record or a bad one?'' you may be questioning yourself. Before knowing my opinion, you must know that I really enjoy well-thought catchy pop songs. Once knowing that, I'll say that, yes, this is one good moody pop album while somewhat a copy of Breakfast in America in moments, Famous Last Words still can be differentiated from Breakfast in America since the later mainly based it's songs on Supertramp's classic keyboard sound, while this one(Famous Last Words) barely uses it, while replacing it with either piano or some nice simple organ.

As a conclusion, Famous Last Words is by no means Supertramp's strongest effort either in the Pop scenario or Prog scenario, but still it's a well done continuation to the style Breakfast in America offered in such a lovely way. Fans of either Breakfast in America or Supertramp in general will find this album no less than good for their own standards.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#243689) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 08, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars It almost seems to me that this album was made for contractual obligations. Roger Hodgson had already let the rest of the band know that he was leaving. And the group, on the whole, seems tired and out of ideas.

The majority of the album is made up of simple pop songs. And unless I'm reading too much into it, more than a few of the lyrics have Hodgson and Rick Davies writing about the breakup of the band.

This may sound like it could be a powerful album, but it's just not so. Despite a few fair songs, most notable Bonnie and Waiting So Long, the album is just tedious. And the lyrics, personal as they may be for the two songwriters, sometimes come across as petty sniping.

The one hit from the album, It's Raining Again, may be the most insipid of Hodgson's career. Perhaps that's why it still receives so much airplay.

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Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It's strange, you know. You create one of the monster album hits of the rock era, spawning a bundle of hit singles, in Breakfast In America, and, yet, your follow-up, in relative terms, is a bit of a flop. Famous Last Words didn't bomb, but it certainly did not get anywhere near the heights of its famous predecessor, something I find strange really, because most large acts tend to shift shed loads of albums, if nothing else, on the back of reputation and loyalty.

Anyhow, in musical terms, and Supertramp terms, this is most certainly not as good. The hit single, It's Raining Again, is a joy to listen to, and yet more proof, if any were needed, that the hit machine was now exclusively Roger Hodgson's. Quite why, after leaving the band at the end of this recording session, he agreed to waive performance rights to the Rick Davies vehicle which succeeded is anyone's guess. I rather think he must be waking up night after night in a cold sweat, personally.

In more than a few of my reviews, I have expressed my opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a prog band having commercial success, and this lot have provided me with so much pleasure over the years. Going back to my point earlier regarding relatively poor sales, when you listen to relatively mediocre fare such as Put On Your Old Brown Shoes and Bonnie, both continuing Davies' cod pop/jazz, you can see why. These tracks, in particular, for me simply exemplify the massive shift in an artist who provided us with gems such as Rudy, and the peerless Asylum, to, well, AOR blandness. Waiting So Long on the second side was a more thoughtful affair, but I was never to enjoy a subsequent Tramp album.

The highlight of the LP is the wonderful closer, Don't Leave Me Now, a song so dripping with melancholy and regret, you seriously think about that noose on the ceiling. It is beautiful, and clearly written with the departure of Hodgson in mind - he had, of course, announced his departure during this recording process. Of all of the rest, the Hodgson tracks stand out a bit more, with a personal favourite being the sad Know Who You Are. However, by this stage, all pretence as a songwriting collective had been abandoned (Davies and Hodgson always wrote separately, but at least there was a pretence of collective artistry prior to Breakfast In America).

Following this, neither party would ever reach anywhere near the commercial heights of yesteryear, even with the personal endorsement of Princess Diana as being her favourite band, and the feuding between the main protagonists made Waters and Gilmour look like a kindergarten bun fight.

Only two stars for this, I am afraid. I have it as a completist, and that is all it has to recommend itself, for two excellent tracks do not an excellent album make. A shame, really. Best to remember the good times

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#905142) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 02, 2013

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Has this artwork inspired Dream Theater's A Dramatic Turn of Events or Saga's Heads or Tails? I don't know but they are in similar context, I think. ...Famous Last Words was the last album that Roger Hodgson made with Supertramp before seeking a solo career, and he made sure that radio would take kindly to his last appreciation with the band. The album put two singles on the charts, with the poignant "My Kind of Lady" peaking at number 31 and the effervescent smile of "It's Raining Again" going to number 11. The album itself went Top Ten both in the U.S. and in the U.K., eventually going gold in America. The songs contained in the album were purposely positioned for Top 40 radio, delicately textured and built around overly bland and urbane choruses. It's of course not a good one for those who compare it with the debut album. The band was actually under tension to produce something as successful as its predecessor Breakfast in America but it failed to paint the elements of complexity or progressive music style.

The album was written under difficult circumstances: 1. at the height of personal tension between Roger and Rick (and reportedly their respective wives who were not best of friends). It's the first time they wrote and recorded their own songs in separate studios without any face to face collaboration, 2. It was a typical under pressure follow up album to the chart topping Breakfast in America.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#1066386) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013

Latest members reviews

3 stars Take your time, ladies and gentlemen ( and, of course, dear prog-lovers, friends and Supertramp-fans ), cause this review is going to be a loooong one. It's going to be two reviews in one, actually, and it has a long introduction as well, cause this album were the "Famous last Words" of Supertramp, ... (read more)

Report this review (#610384) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What a kind of disappointing album ! My second two stars rating, but the first one given without any internal conflict ! Crime Of The Century days had vanished in the past. Poppy approach are strong than ever. But if this strategy worked well for Breakfast in America, what worked wrong here ... (read more)

Report this review (#364311) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, this album is a problem to me. I really like it but I know that is almost pure pop rock. The prog feel is almost completely disappeared here. From Even in the quietests moments the prog sound of Supertramp was always downhill, until they returned with Brother where you bound. The Hod ... (read more)

Report this review (#300830) | Posted by genbanks | Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While you can't flash a vinyl in the toillette you can use it as a dart pointer-mark the songs between the pauses...1, 5, 10, 12, 20 and have fun... but that's another story and surely not concerning this unfairly judged record which was released in this so strange and fluidic decade such as the ... (read more)

Report this review (#221252) | Posted by Silent Knight | Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Compared to Breakfast in America, Even in the quietest moments, Crisis- what crisis, Crime of the Century, this album is slightly weak-- but not very weak. Its certainly way too stronger than Indelibly Stamped and definitely the best last album of this great band. Off course if Roger Hodgeson con ... (read more)

Report this review (#99882) | Posted by Sharier | Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hang-over & Break-up How do you follow-up the masterpiece "Breakfast in America"?? The answer was you couldn't have complete song-writing collaboration and unision like Supertramp enjoyed in BIA. The partnership of Rodger Hodgson and Rick Davies was pulling in all directions in this album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#67122) | Posted by chas2u | Saturday, January 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Anything featuring the Wilson sisters can't be all bad but for me the album is let down by the awful It's raining again which has to be one of my top 10 all time irritating tracks. Away from that there is some good music in places although its certainly no 'Crime of the Century'. 5/10 but I'l ... (read more)

Report this review (#50256) | Posted by Tonbridge Man | Thursday, October 06, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars As a big Supertramp fan I have waited so long for this album back in 1982. But I remember how dissapointed I was after listening several times to this album. Today I still got the same opinion. At first I thougt "don't leave me now" was a masterpiece but after a view listens I understand it is ... (read more)

Report this review (#50137) | Posted by J@pie Mol | Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars i absolutly liked this album for : c'est le bon : so great song , beautiful clarinet solo , nice verse, incredible bridge , and what a 12 strings nice guitar sound !! know who you are : IDEM, beautiful guitar sound, nice lyrics , nice sing... waitin so long, a "tango -rock" (!!) song, with a ... (read more)

Report this review (#27695) | Posted by | Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Supertramp's tellingly titled "Famous Last Words" album was the studio follow-up to their 1979 mega-smash "Breakfast In America." It came three years after "Breakfast" and carried with it a full platter of high expectations and news about the band's internal turmoil. The whole situation was a re ... (read more)

Report this review (#27689) | Posted by | Thursday, July 08, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album was not nearly as pitiful as some have suggested. I, infact, have grown to thoroughly enjoy it- track one to track nine. As always, lyrically and instrumentally, Supertramp has compiled a completely clever and brilliant album. Perhaps selected pieces by Bay City Rollers and such, ... (read more)

Report this review (#27688) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 02, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It's not as bad as people would have you believe, but of course it is nowhere near as good as their classic four. "Know Who You Are" is a gorgeous song, a true ballad that the Tramp never bettered, and the other numbers are decent but sound like a band going through the motions. SUPERTRAMP always cl ... (read more)

Report this review (#27685) | Posted by | Saturday, March 06, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I hate disagreeing, but I enjoyed this album. Actually, I have enjoyed it more and more over the years. The only true clunker was their top 40 hit ...Its Raining Again, which is a bit syrupy for my liking. This album is darker in scope overall, which is why that song doesnt belong in this set. ... (read more)

Report this review (#27683) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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