In the Eye of the Storm (1984)
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Roger Hodgson - In the Eye of the Storm

The Setup: The higher-pitched half of Supertramp’s songwriting/vocal duo strikes out on his own, hoping to prove the whole was less than the sum of its parts.

The Delivery: Mostly successful, actually. Hodgson scraped the Top 40 with “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)” and “In Jeopardy,” both fine songs in their own right, but the rest of the record is also pretty solid. After splitting album space with Rick Davies for nearly 15 years, Hodgson was bound to have built up a sizable backlog of material, so this wasn’t a shock; what came as a pleasant surprise was the one-man band approach he took to the album, choosing to record most of the instruments himself. In the grand scheme of ’80s rock records, Storm is a mostly forgotten release, but in terms of solo debuts, it’s a minor classic — and it beats the pants off anything Supertramp ever went on to do without him.

What You Didn’t Hear: Try the ‘tramp-ish “Hooked on a Problem” (download) and “Give Me Love, Give Me Life” (download).

The video for “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)”:

Hai Hai (1987)
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Roger Hodgson - Hai Hai

The Setup: Three years removed from In the Eye of the Storm, Hodgson does a 180 degree turn, releasing a bright, shiny collection of L.A. pop-rock nuggets.

The Delivery: Rather foul. There are some bright spots, but the bulk of Hai Hai is held down by the dumbest lyrics of Hodgson’s career (as anyone who’s ever heard “Right Place” and/or “My Magazine” can tell you) and brittle, synth-laden production. In the weeks leading up to the album’s release, Hodgson shattered both of his wrists in a fall, which sidelined him for years — but it also relieved him of any promotional duties for this stupid thing, so, you know, silver lining and all that. He distanced himself from Hai Hai in later years, claiming to be “about 30%” satisfied with it in one interview; this seems overly generous, but it’s close enough.

What You Didn’t Hear: “You Make Me Love You” (download) is vapid, but catchy, and the old Supertramp non-album cut “Land Ho” (download) points the way toward what this album could have been.

The video for “London”:

Rites of Passage (1997)
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Roger Hodgson - Rites of Passage

The Setup: After a ten-year layoff, Hodgson dips his toe back in with this set, which is, as far as I know, the only live album ever recorded in Nevada City, CA.

The Delivery: Yes, we normally ignore live albums here, but this one’s more interesting than most, if only because it’s so heavily weighted toward previously unreleased material. Hodgson includes “In Jeopardy” and some old Supertramp songs, but for the most part, Passage is an unusually forward-looking live set. It’s also low-key, to a fault — it must have given Hodgson a kick to yield the mike to his son Andrew for a song, but fans weren’t paying to hear his kid sing, nor were they clamoring to hear the lead vocals of guitarist Mikail Graham on two numbers. Still, he’d been away for an awfully long time, and this was a welcome, albeit limited, return. (Certain fans, however, are still waiting to hear the results of Hodgson’s aborted project with Trevor Rabin.)

What You Didn’t Hear: You didn’t hear any of it, but start off with “Every Trick in the Book” (download) and “Time Waits for No One” (download).

Open the Door (2000)
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The Setup: Hodgson cashes a check from Sony’s European branch and uses it to assemble his first studio album in 13 years.

The Delivery: It’s uneven — and in no way deserves to be trading used at $100-plus — but even if it isn’t as consistent as In the Eye of the Storm, it’s still got plenty of high points. Aside from a full-fledged reunion, Open the Door is probably about as close as Supertramp fans are going to get to a 21st-century approximation of the band’s classic sound; sure, there’s no Wurlitzer, but it’s still closer in spirit than the stuff his old band was doing without him.

What You Didn’t Hear: Give “Along Came Mary” (download) and “The More I Look” (download) a try.

The video for “Hungry”:

The Coda: Since Open the Door came and went, Hodgson has been mainly a live act; he joined Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band for a summer and has toured sporadically on his own (a live DVD is for sale at his website). There don’t seem to be any new recordings on the horizon, but fans moved to do so can pester him about this at his fucking MySpace page.

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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