Essentials: Supertramp ‘Crime of the Century’ 40th Anniversary Edition

Once regarded as the only rival to Pink Floyd, Supertramp delivered a sonic marvel with their remastering of Crime of the Century.

Back in 2014, Universal Music released the 40th anniversary editions of Supertramp‘s 1974 album Crime of the Century, including a 3LP vinyl box set.

The original album was remastered across all formats and the two-CD deluxe edition and 3LP vinyl box added a previously unreleased concert from London’s Hammersmith Odeon in March 1975. During this gig the band play Crime of the Century in its entirety as well as new tracks from what was their forthcoming album, Crisis . . . What Crisis? This concert has been mixed from the original tapes by Crime’s original producer Ken Scott.

The limited edition vinyl box came with two 10 x 8 images and an eight page booklet featuring a 7,500 word essay by Phil Alexander of Mojo Magazine, featuring new interviews with many of the key players. The albums were pressed on 180gm vinyl and the box came with a download card.

The remastered sound is stunning in its clarity; it’s a dramatic improvement over what has always been regarded as one of the sonic marvels of vinyl record-making. The digital format is surprisingly good, sounding as uncompressed and as dynamic as one could hope for in that platform. The real triumph, though, is in the vinyl sound. It’s rivalled only by audiophile masterings of Pnk Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and/or Wish You Were Here.

The album came out in 1974 to immediate acclaim, being less pretentious and less solipsistic than then-current Floyd efforts. Their later 1979 album Breakfast in America is seen by many as Supertramp’s masterwork, but Crime of the Century still has the power to move new audiences.

Ambitious in concept, dramatic in execution, this album is a hallmark of conceptual thinking and art rock production, simply one that demands to be auditioned from beginning to end in one session.