Air Supply
GRAHAM RUSSELL

I was born in Nottingham England on June 11th 1950 in the then village of Arnold. I went to High Street primary school, the British school, and later when 12yrs old attended Carlton Le Willows Technical School until I was 17 and immigrated to Australia. At that time I was already playing in a group called the Nottingham Odd Fellas which later became Union Blues. I was playing drums at that time but was also writing songs and playing guitar, neither very well I may add!

Something happened in 1964 that changed my life forever. I saw the Beatles live at the Odeon cinema in Nottingham. After this nothing would ever be the same, the electricity in the air was something I would never forget, and have not seen or felt since It was this experience that told me to keep writing songs and that I wasn't crazy! Usually on Sundays my longtime school friend Tony would sit around my house for hours playing and singing my new ones. I had about a hundred then and after going for a few pints of double diamond at the White Horse we would sing for hours.

I was married at 17 and had a baby on the way. Simon was born on March 17th 1968. I felt that a new start would be a good idea at this time and my dad and sister were already in Australia so we went too to start a new life, even though the one I had had hardly started itself. We went by ship and all we had was a five pound note to our name. It was a relief having family around us, I had several jobs of no real interest, but I did start a new band that played around Melbourne, but the scene wasn't very exciting. I did occasionally play with some great musicians, Rob Mackenzie, and Tim Partridge, but it was playing old blues songs and it wasn't really my thing. I just loved the big harmonies, and simple songs that made you feel good. Playing round and round on a 12 bar blues was not for me. I decided to go on my own and play my songs with a few others thrown in to get people to listen. I was playing Poppas Pizza parlors, Traynors folk club in Melbourne, and also University campuses. I booked the shows myself and found I was doing really well and working regular which was good as another baby was coming, Samantha was born march 3rd 1972. I was living quite the suburban life, playing my own songs and doing the occasional T.V spot. I was also a voracious reader in my spare time, everything on the paranormal I could find! An elderly lady who was a dear friend, Dorothy Whittle, told me of auditions for Jesus Christ Superstar in Sydney, I had seen the add but didn't think I would ever stand a chance of getting a part. She said to me that she felt it would change my life forever, she was very tuned in psychically, and she insisted that I go and try.

On the first day of rehearsals most of the cast were in little chic groups as they all knew each other. I knew no one, except Chrissie Hammond who was a great singer from Melbourne who I had sung with on the occasional show. The one person who was also just hanging around and knew no one was this skinny guy with a big afro who I learnt very quickly had the best voice in the show, but they made him a soldier, and soldiers don't sing! His name was the same as mine, and he was a Gemini, we had something in common, it was Russell Hitchcock. We became instant friends and started to sing Beatles songs together after and during shows, one thing I noticed straight away was that we sounded really good, and everybody else noticed too. Air Supply was really born at that moment, we just didn't have the name yet that's all!

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