Supertramp “Asylum”


Crime of the Century was Supertramp’s 3rd album and gave us the big radio hits “School”, “Bloody Well Right” and “Dreamer”. If you had a real good radio station to listen to you would also here the “Crime of the Century”, “Rudy” or “Hide in You Shell” and when the DJ was in the right mood every blue moon or so you could hear “If Everyone Was Listening” or “Asylum”. The other songs might have gotten all the air play but for me the number 1 song on the album was “Asylum” with “Crime of the Century” not to far behind.
Songwriting for the group was split between Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies but throughout most of this incarnation of Supertramp both were credit as writing the songs. After Roger Hodgson left the group around 1983 they (lawyers?) sat down and created a list of every song and and who could play what in the future and not play. In case you have seen the latest form of Supertramp or Roger Hodgson solo and wondered why certain songs were not played here is the primary songwriter list. As stories go Rick and Roger didn’t get along while they were part of a group so after the split the hatred moved over to who could play what.
For Crime of the Century the record company A&M Records had the boys stay in a 17 century castle together to write and rehearse all of the songs (hence some of the titles). Asylum is the fourth song off of the album and has song writer Rick Davies doing the lead vocals. His acoustic piano for most of the song is masterful. The lyrics where he and Hodgson split the sentences is perfectly timed and makes you think that the person is talking to himself. Add in Hodgson’s electric guitar, the drum work of Bob Siebenberg the bass playing of Dougie Thomson and on saxophones John Anthony Helliwell and you have the beautiful sounds of….
“Jimmy Cream was keen, his brain was always winnin’,
I can’t keep tabs on mine, it’s really quite a joke
I see him down the road, I ask if he’d be willing
To lend me 15p – I’m dying for a smoke…”