Billboard magazine features a story about Jamaica’s love for the band Air Supply. In an interview with Billboard, Russell Hitchcock, the lead singer, acknowledged it was a surprise to discover than many Jamaicans know the band’s music well. Air Supply, a veteran soft rock group, played its sixth performance in Jamaica for the nonprofit Issa Trust Foundation on June 24, 2017, in Ocho Rios. The band made its Jamaican debut at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in 2007. The audience response then was enthusiastic, just as it was in June as fans rocked to their latest music. Hitchcock said that a large portion of Jamaica’s population likes the band’s music, which he finds “unusual” because the band is very romantic, and the island’s music is “very reggae.” As proof of the band’s popularity in Jamaica, many Jamaican artists perform cover versions of their songs. These include a reworking of the song “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” by Ghost; “Here I Am,” a staple in live performances by Sanchez; and “Just as I Am,” by L.U.S.T., which topped Jamaican and global reggae charts in 2008. The band also receives regular play on island radio stations. Singing Melody, one of the four voices in L.U.S.T., noted that Jamaica “has a long lasting love relationship with Air Supply.” Air Supply’s music is “one of the reasons we have so many kids here,” the singer joked. Island performances by the band are always packed, and Singing Melody suggested that the members should just buy houses on the island and live there “because the people love them so much.” The popularity of the group and their ability to attract large audiences in Jamaica resulted in its appointment as musical ambassadors for the Issa Trust. The organization was created in 2005 by Couples Resorts and was founded by the late Abe Issa, a major force in the development of the island’s tourist trade and the first president of the Jamaica Tourist Board. The Trust provides pediatric health care for children whose families cannot afford it. It also works with hospitals, health centers and other local Jamaican organizations to identify the health issues that are most critical for the population.
Photo Credit: Steve James