Graham Russell said he was already playing music and writing songs when he saw The Beatles perform, but that concert had a profound impact.
"They were the first band I ever saw live," said Russell, who would of course go on to make his own music waves as half of the duo that make up Air Supply. "I've seen a lot of musicians since, that was 50 years ago, but I will never forget that concert.
Air Supply, which has recorded such hits such as "Lost in Love" and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All," will perform at the Akron Civic Theatre on Jan. 31, starting at 8 p.m. Russell said that he and Russell Hitchcock plan to put on a memorable show.
"Especially for those who have never seen us live, they will get a surprise," Russell said. "Our live show is loud, it's lively, and it's very interactive. We talk a lot with the audience. It will be one of the greatest things they've seen, I think.
"I love performing live. It's in the moment. We don't plan on what we are going to sing. I think that's what people like about us."
Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock have been singing together as Air Supply since 1975. Discovered by Clive Davis in 1980, Air Supply signed to Arista Records. Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply at that time had equaled The Beatles' run of consecutive top five singles. The albums Lost in Love, The One That You Love, Now & Forever, and The Greatest Hits sold in excess of 20 million copies.
Russell said the music industry has changed considerably since Air Supply made its debut nearly forty years ago.
"It's changed incredibly," he said. "In the early days, you only had a few labels you could go to. The digital age has taken its toll on the record industry. It's easier to get music out, but there's a lot more traffic out there. It's so overwhelming. There is a lot of music out there now, but the cream still rises to the top of the bottle."
Russell said he was influenced by classical music composers.
"I grew up listening to classical music on the radio," he said.
Performing and recording take a lot of time, but Russell said that in his spare moments, he likes gardening.
"I love gardening," he said. "It's a strange thing for a musician, but I like working in the greenhouse, going among the flowers, getting my hands dirty."
Russell's advice to prospective musicians? Be prepared for a lot of hard work.
"They probably won't get rewarded for their efforts," he said. "Everything starts with a great song. You can't make a bad song sound good, you can only make a good song sound incredible."
Ticket prices range from $27 to $102and are available at the Akron Civic Theatre box office, by calling 330-253-2488 or online atwww.akroncivic.com.