Lost in Love was the fourth studio album by Air Supply in Australia and the first to hit the charts in North America, it contained no less than three bona fide hits, and would cast the template for the duo’s future success, with a combination of easy-listening melodies and romantic lyrics set to sculpted, seamless, light orchestration. Lyrically Graham Russell would stick closely to a constant theme of the starry-eyed troubadour, reflecting on matters of the heart. The universal nature of this romanticism, frequently about the unrequited love of a guy who doesn’t get the girl, or even a second chance to prove the depth of his feelings, contributed to the band’s wide appeal. Their song titles alone evoked the sentimentalism that became the group’s hall mark – All Out Of Love, Lost In Love, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, were but three of the seven songs that Air Supply would take into the US top 40 charts that included the word “love” in the title.
The title song by Graham Russell from the album, previously released here in 1979, had been re-recorded and remixed and once released as a single in the US became the international breakthrough hit for the firmly middle-of-the-road Air Supply. The cover art looked like a futuristic pyramidal time machine with band members staring skywards awaiting the arrival of aliens, but they were just posing in front of the Tropical Centre of the Sydney Botanical Gardens, which was generally regarded as having all the architectural charm of a Tardis, was much derided by locals, fell into disuse, and was demolished in 2015.
The group’s Australian record label Big Time Records had sold Lost in Love to Arista Records for distribution in the US unbeknown to Russell or Hitchcock, in fact the duo were so dispirited about their lack of chart success, that they had decided to disband and go their separate ways. But this song proved to be the turning point in their career, the Robie Porter (below)/Rick Chertoff/ Charles Fisher – produced song became Air Supply’s first US hit at #3, #4 in Canada and Japan, #3 in NZ, #13 locally and a top ten hit in France.
Russell has revealed that he wrote the song in about fifteen minutes, and that like all his compositions he worked on the “keep it simple stupid” (kiss) principle “My songs are really straight ahead, real simple chords, the simpler the better. So a song like Lost In Love with four chords, there’s only two parts to it, there’s really no chorus, just a verse and a bridge. So something like that shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to write, you know.”
The album not only delivered the hits but also demonstrated the wide variety of styles and versatility of the group from classic soft ballads, to the disco-themed Just Another Woman, the hard-rocking I Can Get Excited, to the country-tinged Old Habits Die Hard.
Unsurprisingly Lost In Love is about the unrequited love of the singer who has lost the object of his affections and reflects on how he may retrieve the situation, the winning combination of Russell Hitchcock’s plaintive tenor and the drama of Graham Russell’s words and musical arrangement infused the song with just the right amount of theatrics and heartfelt sentiment to resonate with a global audience.
Two music videos exist for this song, the official version depicts Air Supply singing on a blue background and the other has the group performing the song in concert, the album was also a mega-hit reaching multi-platinum sales of over three million copies, it climbed to #3 US, #1 Canada, #3 NZ, #10 France, and #21 Aust, with two more top five hits to be lifted from it in 1980 – All Out of Love and Every Woman in the World.
At this time the private lives of both Russell and Hitchcock had become complicated as both seemed to be struggling to find lasting loving relationships, about which they frequently sang, it was a case of art imitating life, love and other bruises indeed. Graham Russell had wed his high school sweetheart Linda in 1967 and they had two children, Simon (1968) and Samantha (1972) but by 1978 they were getting divorced. He subsequently settled into new domestic arrangements in Utah in1986 with his second wife, former air hostess Jodi Varble, he was 36 years old and she was 21.
Russell Hitchcock had married air hostess Paula Fulmer in 1986 but they were divorced and in 2000 he married Laurie Parker and they had two children, a daughter Sydney Rose and a son Jon, but this union did not endure and they were also divorced. His third wife was Deanna Bracey and the couple set up house in Atlanta, Georgia, but unconfirmed reports indicate that they are now estranged. Air Supply fans have provided valuable assistance in confirming Russell’s marital details, and although other marriages have been mentioned, at this time only the unions between Paula, Laurie, and Deanna can be irrefutably documented, as well as the issue of two children, daughter Sydney Rose and son Jon. It was good to hear that Russell has emerged from quarantine after contracting COVID-19 in September this year, and is back performing.
Below left to right – Graham and Jodi Russell and Laurie and Russell Hitchcock at the 2013 G’Day USA Gala in Los Angeles in 2013.
4TR featured 15 Air Supply hits between Nov 16-25 2020, they’re all worth a look, cheers.