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WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
TICKETS: $35 and $45
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you ask him to explain it, Air Supply's Graham Russell doesn't know how, exactly, he writes the kind of songs he writes.
"I really don't know much about songwriting," he said. "I've been doing it for 50 years, but it's still a great mystery to me."
It's a mystery that more than once was lightning in a bottle for the soft-rock juggernauts best known for hits like "All Out of Love," "Lost in Love," "Here I Am" and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All." The duo, which performs Friday at the Clay Center, scored eight hit singles, one release after another, in the early 1980s.
In pop music, it is a remarkable feat and has been achieved by only a handful of bands, including the Beatles. Russell said neither he nor his musical partner, Russell Hitchcock, expected they'd do that.
"We used to think about that, what it would be like," Russell said. "We never expected it to happen."
And even when it did happen, they were really too busy to enjoy it.
"Those first five or six years, we were always on the road," he said. "We'd hop on a bus for nine months, come off, go home to Australia for three months, do another album and do it all over again.
"While we had all those hits, it was like we knew it was happening, but it was like we were watching it happen from the outside looking in."
Air Supply was founded in 1975 after Russell and Hitchcock met during a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in Australia. The group had moderate success there then suddenly hit big in the U.S. in 1980 with "Lost in Love." Two other singles followed that year, and the band became a musical phenomenon.
"There were a couple of groups like us," Russell said. "Like The Police, they were very big at about the same time. We were different genres, but the same kind of thing."
Air Supply's popularity waned somewhat in the United States toward the middle of the decade. The band charted fewer hits but still continued to release records and perform around the world.
Some of the places were new for acts known primarily in the English-speaking world. In 1995, Air Supply toured China.