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What Is the Meaning of Breakfast in America by Supertramp?

What Is the Meaning of Breakfast in America by Supertramp?

It’s time for Breakfast in America Supertramp style. 

This band has a unique and easily identifiable sound. And when you listen to their lyrics, you’ll hear some clever stories. Through their various lineups, they remained a popular group with great songs still enjoyed today.

We’re checking out this chart-topping band and its super hit. 

Let’s go!

Who Originally Wrote Breakfast in America?

Charles Roger Pomfret Hodgson is an English musician, singer, and songwriter best known as a founding member of the band Supertramp. The group was an English rock band that formed in London in 1969. During their active years, they played progressive rock and pop styles. 

A wealthy financier stopped supporting a band called The Joint. But one musician the investor felt had been bogged down by the group but had great potential was keyboardist Rick Davies. So, with financial backing, Davies assembled a new group that included Hodgson. 

Ironically, both men came from diverse backgrounds. Davies was from the working class and specialized in blues and jazz. Hodgson had an English private school background and played pop. Despite the differences, these opposites worked well together. 

Hodgson and fellow band founder Davies composed most of the songs. However, over time, their chemistry fizzled, and they wrote separately. Hodgson wrote and sang most of the band’s hits, including Breakfast in America.

What Is the Meaning of Breakfast in America?

Hodgson was a teenager in England when he began composing Breakfast in America. The lyrics describe an English youth who dreams of going to America, then becoming famous. Incidentally, Supertramp did precisely this. 

The lead singer played around with the lyrics by putting himself in character for the song. He wrote down anything that came to mind and strung it into the lyrics. The Beatles’ trip to America around that same time also helped inspire him. 

The album Breakfast in America had several songs written by Hodgson. Fun fact: he bought an old pump organ, which you pedal with your feet. With it, he also coined other tunes for the album, including the beginning of Logical Song. 

Interestingly, Davies never really liked the song. The line, “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got,” felt too trite. While they tried playing around with it, they couldn’t find anything else that worked.

Who Has Covered Breakfast in America?

Hodgson typically doesn’t like it when someone tampers with his compositions. However, we think he approve of each of these covers.


The English indie rock band Gomez covered Breakfast in America. They play the traditional version of the song. However, their cover is smoother without the pump organ, and a tambourine provides a steady but not-so-intense feel. Olly Peacock sings the lead vocals and plays melody on the keyboards. Her voice is full and rich throughout the tune.

48th St. Collective

The genius band 48th St. Collective take popular classics and put a signature jazz vibe to them. You can hear their sexy Breakfast in America version on their album Jazz and ‘70s. 

You’ll recognize the song instantly through the sophisticated piano. The horn play on the bridge is very relaxing. The arrangement is very clever and oh-so-smooth.

John Wetton, Larry Fast, Billy Sherwood, Scott Connor

John Wetton, along with Larry Fast, Billy Sherwood, and Scott Connor, created an all-star tribute to Supertramp. In their album Songs of the Century, they play the classic song. 

Their version of Breakfast in America starts with a solid up-and-down syncopated beat. The bridge sounds like a kaleidoscope of carnival music.

What Song Samples Breakfast in America?

Gym Class Heroes was an American rap-rock band from New York. Active from 1997 to 2012 and briefly from 2018 to 2019, the group infused various styles, such as hip-hop, funk, and rap. 

They created popular hits by sampling songs. Bits of lyrics and melodies from famous songs were inserted into the upbeat alternative funk rap their fans loved. Think of it as the early days of mashups.

Cupid’s Chokehold is part of the album The Papercut Chronicles, released in 2005. The lyrics sample heavily from Breakfast in America. The song reached number one on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40. 

The band wrote their own lyrics but kept the main chorus, “Look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I’ve got.” The original beat morphs well into their rap style. 

Supertramp founder Hodgson told Songfacts, “Funny enough, normally I don’t like my compositions being tampered with, but there was something just very infectious about what they did, and I actually enjoyed what they wrote juxtaposed against what I wrote.”

We love it too.

What are Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson Doing Now?

Over the years, the two men drifted apart due mainly to their stylistic differences. 

Roger Hodgson left Supertramp in 1983 to spend more time with his family and pursue a solo career. However, after a hiatus, he returned to touring in 1997. He writes about spiritual and philosophical topics that are meaningful to him. 

On Thanksgiving 2022, Roger posted, “For those of you who have enquired, my health is good. After twenty years of continuous touring, I have needed time off the road to take care of some other important things.” You can follow him on his website and social media pages. 

Rick Davies remained the only consistent member of Supertramp since its inception. He owns Rick Davies Productions, the copyright holder of the band’s recordings. 

He continually toured with the group until 2015, when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Despite his illness, Rick still plays and enjoys a good jam with Ricky and the Rockets. Get their latest information from their website or Facebook page.

Keep the Dream Alive

The innovative style and musicality of Supertramp created unforgettable songs. And Breakfast in America is surely one to remember. It reminds us all to keep our dreams alive because we never know what can manifest from them. This great hit even makes us want to go out and get our own pump organ. 

Do you have a favorite Supertramp song? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Ken Beiser

Sunday 5th of February 2023

Crime of the Century

But I like almost all Supertramp. Breakfast in America came out about 1979 when I moved west to Colorado in my 1953 GMC five window with Craig cassette stereo blasting Supertramp above the wind noise.


Monday 6th of February 2023

What a great memory!