Eight Undeniable Facts About Supertramp's "Breakfast in America"

Supertramp Breakfast in America cover art
Photo Credit
(A&M Records)

Having come up in the ranks of the UK prog-rock scene, Supertramp would streamline their sound on the band's sixth studio effort, Breakfast in America. Released on March 29, 1979, it would be a huge success. The record would top the Billboard album charts for six weeks, and sell more than four million copies in the US. Featuring a slew of hits, it went on to be cited as the fifth biggest album of 1979.

Digging beneath the surface of Breakfast in America unearths a clutch of facts that range from the identity of the album's cover star, to how the record plays in an elaborate conspiracy theory. Let's have a look...

1. "The Logical Song" comes with the sound from one of the most popular toys of the late '70s
A quick way to tell if someone is of a certain age is if they can identify the digital beeping sound that crops up in the song exactly once, around the 3:24 mark. The sound comes from Mattel's Electronic Football handheld game, originally released in 1977. It turns out that band member Rick Davies loved to play it between takes. "We'd hear that sound echoing around the studio all day," fellow Supertramp member Rodger Hodgson said in a 2016 interview. "So we put it in the run-out after I sang the word 'digital'."

2. A conspiracy theorist once claimed that the Breakfast in America album cover predicted 9/11.
Breakfast in America does boast one of the most iconic album covers in rock history: a grinning waitress with a glass of orange juice on a tray, standing in front of the New York skyline, circa 1979. According to the conspiracy theory, there are 9/11 clues found all over the image, from the glass of orange juice representing a fireball to a reversed image of the cover allegedly revealing the numerals "911" directly over the World Trade Center.

Supertramp BIA reversed

3. The woman on the cover of Breakfast in America was an actress who appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Coincidence, or fuel for another conspiracy theory? Kate Murtagh started performing with her sisters as a child act before moving on to feature films like Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), The Night Strangler (1973), and Doctor Detroit (1983). She would also have a cameo in Supertramp's video for "It's Raining Again," from the 1982 album, ...Famous Last Words... Murtagh died in 2017 at the age of 96.

4. "Goodbye Stranger" was a top 20 hit in America. The title track was not. 
The song that was either about indulging in one-night-stands, or the strained relationship between Supertramp's Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, was definitely a hit on the US charts. Where the song "Breakfast in America" only peaked at #62 on the Hot 100, "Goodbye Stranger" would cruise all the way up to #15.

5. "Take the Long Way Home was a "last-minute surprise"
"I think I wrote that during, or right before we went into the studio to record the album," Hodgson told Acoustic Storm. "It was a last-minute surprise for me. 'Take the Long Way Home' for me is home on two levels. I mean, I'm talking about not wanting to go home to the wife, take the long way home to the wife because she treats you like part of the furniture, but there's a deeper level to the song, too. I really believe we all want to find our home, find that place in us where we feel at home, and to me, home is in the heart and that is really, when we are in touch with our heart and we're living our life from our heart, then we do feel like we found our home."

6. The back cover of Breakfast in America was shot at a place called Bert's Madhouse in L.A.

7. "Casual Conversations" was about the strained relationship between Rick Davies and Rodger Hodgson.
"That song, for me, is deeply personal," songwriter Davies told NME when the album was released. "It can obviously relate to people, as well as boy-girl. I suppose it’s me and Roger to a degree; me not being able to communicate with him, wanting to get out at times.”

8. "Child of Vision" was Roger Hodgson's version of "Gone Hollywood"
“It was written with two things in mind," Hodgson would admit in an interview "I think it was a little bit, maybe my equivalent of ‘Gone Hollywood.' Maybe looking at America and seeing how Americans are living and possibly, also a song to Rick a little bit too, because we did live totally different lives.”

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