10cc


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-76)

- Lol Creme -- vocals, guitar 

- Kevin Godley -- vocals, drums, percussion 

- Graham Gouldman -- vocals, bass, rhythm guitar, percussion

- Eric Stewart -- vocals, lead guitar, keyboards, percussion 

 

  line up 1 (1972-76)

- Paul Burgess -- drums, percussion (1976-81)

- Mel Collins -- sax (1983)

- Lol Creme -- vocals, guitar (1972-)

- Vic Emerson -- keybaords (1983)

- Rick Fenn -- vocals, lead guitar, backing vocals

  (1977-81)

- Steve Gadd -- drums, percussion (1983)

- Kevin Godley -- vocals, drums, percussion (1972-)

- Graham Gouldman -- vocals, bass, rhythm guitar,

  percussion (1972-)

- Duncan Mackay - keyboards (replaced Terry O'Malley)

  (1978-81)

- Tony O'Malley -- vocals, eyboards (1977)

- Simon Phillips -- drums (1983)

- Eric Stewart -- vocals, lead guitar, keyboards,

  percussion (1972-)

- Mike Tomony -- keyboards (1983)

- Stuart Tosh -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

  (1977-81)

 

 

 

 

- Godley and Creme (Kevin Godley and Lol Creme)

- Graham Gouldman (solo efforts)

- Doctor Father (Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, 

  Graham Gouldman, and Eric Stewart)

- Hotlegs (Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman,

  and Eric Stewart)

- The Icicle Works (Paul Burgess)

- The Mindbenders (Eric Stewart)

- The Mockingbirds (Graham Gouldman)

- Eric Stewart (solo efforts)

- Wax (Graham Gouldman)

- The Whirlwinds (Graham Gouldman)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  10cc

Company: UK/London

Catalog: UKS 53105 

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5183

Price: $15.00

 

 

Though their American successes were brief, these guys have always been personal favorites.

 

Formed in 1972, the original 10cc line up featured singer/guitarist Lol Creme, drummer Kevin Godley, singer/bass player Graham Gouldman, and singer/guitarist Eric Stewart.  By the time the four started their 10cc collaboration, Creme and Godley had played in Manchester's The Sabres and were sought after sessions players, while Gouldman had been in The Mockingbirds, recorded a solo album, and become a well known songwriter.  Stewart's background included a stint with Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders and the post-Fontana Mindbenders.  All four had also been members of the studio entity Hotlegs (see separate entry).

 

In the wake of their Hotlegs successes the group split their time between studio sessions, recording their own demos, and tentative efforts to market those original songs.  An effort to woe Apple Records was rejected, but they subsequently attracted the attention of singer/promoter/label owner Jonathan King. Impressed by the demos, particularly the song 'Donna', King signed them to his London Records affiliated UK subsidiary and suggested the '10cc' name (reportedly inspired by the average size of a male ejaculation - meant to indicate how good the band was, 10cc was actually more than the average ejaculation).

 

As 10cc, the band debut with the 1972 single 'Donna' b/w 'Hot Sun Rock' (UK catalog number UK 49005).  A top-10 UK hit (it actually hit # 2), the single was followed by a string of  singles (only 'Rubber Bullets' and 'Headline Hustler' seeing a US release).

 

- 1972's 'Johnny Don't Do It' b/w '4% of Something' (UK catalog number 22)

- 1973's 'Rubber Bullets' b/w 'Waterfall' (UK catalog number UK 49015)

- 1973's 'Headline Hustler' b/w 'Speed Kills' (UK catalog number UK 49019)

- 1973's 'The Dean and I' b/w 'Bees In My Bonnet' (UK catalog number 48)

 

Building on their 45 successes, later in the year UK released the band's cleverly-titled debut.  Musically "10cc" served as a mixture of their earlier singles and new studio material.  The set showcased the group's unique blend of highly contageous commercial moves, more artsy stuff, and typically weird British humor.  Working in various pairings all four members contributed material with Gouldman and Stewat's songs tending to be the most mainstream ('Ships Don't Disappear In the Night (Do They?)'), while Creme and Godley opted for the more experimental stuff.  IN another show of democarcy, all four members also handled lead vocals.  Lyrically all four principals displayed a knack for the weird - witness tracks like 'The Hospital Song' which melded a top-40 melody with a plotline that found a scared and angry hospital patient plotting vengeance on his handlers by wetting his bed.  'Donna' and the follow-on single 'Johnny Don't Do It' revealed the band's affection for 1950s doo-wo.  The latter offered up a great contribution to the 'adolescent death rock' genre (kid steals motorcycle and wraps it around a truck).  'Rubber Bullets' showcased a penchant for 1950s-styled rockers.  It was certainly commercial, 

 

"10cc" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Johnny Don't Do It   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 3:37

2.) Sand In My Face   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 3:37

3.) Donna   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 2:54

4.) The Dean and I    (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 3:08

5.) Headline Hustler    (Gaham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 3:30

 

(side 2)
1.) Speed Kills   (Eric Stewart - Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 3:48

2.) Rubber Bullets    (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 5:18

3.) The Hospital Song   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 2:36

4.) Ships Don't Disappear In the Night (Do They?)   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:03

5.) Fresh Air for My Momma    (Eric Stewart - Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 3:02 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Sheet Music

Company: UK/London

Catalog: AUKS 53107

Year: 1974

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover; original inner lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5181

Price: $15.00

 

 

In the UK 1974's self-produced "Sheet Music" cemented 10cc's reputation as one of the coolest bands around.  It also spun off a pair of top-40 UK hits (see below).  Similarly the album should have  turned these guys into massive stars in the US.  The album actually charted in the States (hitting # 81), but didn't come close to breaking them nationally  ...  With all four band members contributing material, this album had it all - gorgeous top-40 pop ('Oh Effendi'), crashing guitar hard rock ('Silly Love') experimentation (''), wild lyrical flourishes ('Clockwork Creep'), weird English humor ('The Sacro-Iliac') ...  In other words, it was unlike anything American audiences were accustomed to.  So where to start?  It may have been tongue-in-cheek (or maybe not), but the rockin' 'The Wall Street Shuffle' should have provided them with a top-10 US hit.  'Hotel' was the first in a long string of 'internationally' inspired set pieces.  'Old Wild Men' showcased Eric Stewart's penchant for heart wrenching ballads.  'Clockwork Creep' stood as a precursor to 1977's 'I'm Mandy Fly Me' and managed to package a sinister lyric apparently about an airline bombing with a top-40 pop melody.  Elsewhere UK tapped the album for a series of singles:

 

- 1974's 'The Worst Band In the World' b/w '18 Carat Man of Means' (UK catalog number 57)

- 1974's 'The Wall Street Shuffle' b/w 'Gismo My Way' (UK catalog number 69)

- 1974's 'Silly Love' b/w 'The Sacro Iliac' (UK catalog number 77)

 

With 'The Wall Street Shuffle' just missing the US top-100, and the parent album generating rave critical reviews, they also got a chance to tour the States.

 

"Sheet Music" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Wall Street Shuffle   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:02

2.) The Worst Band In the World   (Lel Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 2:46

3.) Hotel   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 5:00

4.) Old Wild Men  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 3:18

5.) Clockwork Creep  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 3:30

 

(side 2)
1.) Silly Love   (Lol Creme - Eric Stewart) - 3:58

2.) Somewhere In Hollywood  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 6:38

3.) Baron Samedi   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:40

4.) The Sacro-Iliac   (Kevin Godley - Graham Gouldman) - 2:30

5.) Oh Effendi   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:49

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  100cc

Company: UK/London

Catalog: AUKS 53110

Year: 1975

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 2141

Price: $10.00

 

 

Reportedly having signed a recording deal for a then staggering $1 million, 1975 found 10cc having moved on to the greener creative and financial pastures offered by Mercury Records.   Sensing an opportunity to cash in, Jonathan King wasted no time raiding former label UK's archives for a premature 'best of'' compilation.  Drawn almost entirely from the group's first two studio sets, there were certainly plenty of UK hits to be found on "100cc" (I counted six), but it was the isolated  'B' sides and other obscurities that were of the most interest.  Highlights abounded, including the should've been a massive hit 'Waterfall' (one of the prettiest things they ever wrote), 'Fresh Air for My Momma' and the 'cleaned up'  version of 'The Worst Band In the World'.  The latter was funny in that the BBC banned it as obscene, even though the band never actually sang any nasty.  The original lyrics included  "but we don't give a ..." and "up yours, up mine, but up everybody's, that takes time".  In the face of the ban, the band rerecorded the lyrics as:  "but we don't give up ..." and "I'm yours, I'm mine, but everybody's, that takes time."    Listening to the set I'm always surprised to see and hear how much of their early sound and successes were a result of Lol Creme and Kevin Godley.   Folks tend to remember the creative drivers as being Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman.  These ten tracks will have you re-examining that train of thought.   As with any compilation you could argue with the song selection.  In this case  I've always wondered why their debut 45 'Don't Do It Johnny' and 'Headline Hustler' were AWOL (maybe it had something to with the fact neither was very good ...)   UK label head Jonathan King's enthusiastic and self-congratulatory liner notes were a hoot to read.  If you don't want to track down the first two studio sets, this is a pretty good substitute.  

 

For hardcore collectors the UK release was titled "100cc Greatest Hits of 10cc" and featured slightly different cover art.

 

 "100cc" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Old Wild Men   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 3:18

Showcasing Eric and Kevin on lead vocals, 'Old Wild Men' was simply one of the prettiest and most poignant tunes they ever recorded.  Always loved the gizmo effect on Lol's guitar.  YouTube has a 1974 BBC live performance of the tune at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEnViHtXNLI  It's also interesting for showing the Gizmo attachment up close.      rating: **** stars
2.) Wall Street Shuffle   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:30

Supposedly Lol Creme came up with the song title and concept when the band were driving around New York City in a limo and happened to cross the famed road.  While it was certainly one of their most accessible tunes, the lyrics were simply biting: 

Oh, Howard Hughes, 

did your money make you better?     

Are you waiting for the hour when you can screw me    

'cause you're big enough

Bet you'd sell your mother

You can buy another"

YouTube has another clip of the band performing the tune for a 1974 BBC concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw0G7H1EOho    It was tapped as a worldwide single:

- 1974's 'The Wall Street Shuffle' b/w 'Gismo My Way' (instrumental) (UK catalog number 45-49023)  rating: **** stars
3.) Somewhere in Hollywood  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 5:28

I'll readily admit it took time for me to warm up to 'Somewhere In Hollywood'.  Reflecting what was essentially a suite of interlocked melodies and plenty of Creme's Gismo effects, the tune was certainly dynamic and varied with hyper intellectual lyrics, references to Norman Mailer  ...  It just seemed too smart for my blue collars tastes.  Still, over the years I've learned to appreciate the song's structure and the lovely melodies.  Wonder how they escaped getting sued by Mailer ...   rating: **** stars
4.) Rubber Bullets  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) -  4:41

Ah, my introduction to 10cc - simply one of the strangest tunes I'd ever heard up till that time.  With flavor that was still highly catchy with a cool guitar sound, andt the lyrics that were totally bizarre, as were the abrupt song changes.  Inspired by a riot at New York's Attica Penitentiary, the title managed to offend the BBC who took the title as a comment about British actions in Northern Ireland (where policy were shooting rubber bullets at protesters) and limited airplay.  That action seemed to spawn sales with the band earning first UK chart topper. YouTube has a 1973 performance of the tune on Top of the Pops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyuwgPO2j8E  

1973's 'Rubber Bullets' b/w 'Waterfall' (UK catalog number 45-49015) # 73 US pop charts   rating: **** stars
5.) Waterfall   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:41

The best CSN&Y song they never recorded ...  Seriously, if you've never heard 'Waterfall' there's a good chance you'll find yourself having CSN&Y flashbacks.  Fantastic melody; great harmonies, and Creme's backwards guitar was seriously cool.   Regardless, this was easily the prettiest thing Stewart and Gouldman ever wrote.   A non-LP track, it originally appeared as the 'Rubber Bullets' flip side.  You had to wonder how it ended up lost there - my only thoughts are the song was simply too mainstream and commercial for the band.   Belatedly the song was released as a single in the UK and a couple of European countries::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- 1975's 'Waterfall' b/w '4% of Something' (UK catalog number UK.100)   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) The Worst Band in the World    (Lol Creme - Graham Gouldman) - 2:45

So, if you were going to pick a song that simultaneously showed how clever these guys and how irritating they were ...  Yeah, 'The Worst Band In the World' would be a great choice.   It's one of those tunes that I can admire, but not really like.  Clearly meant as a dig at the music industry, they even had the collective balls to release it as a single:

 

- 1974's 'The Worst Band in the World ' b/w '18 Carat Man of Means' (UK catalog number UK 57) .  There's also a promotion video for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sraKulMHZw   rating: *** stars
2.) Donna   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 2:54

I know this one's popular among the fan base, but the pseudo doo-wop patina has never had much appeal for me.  Abd while I can admire Creme's ability to churn out a falsetto that would give Frankie Valli and run for his vocal chords, I can't say I liked the results very much.    The band appeared on a June 1972 episode of Top of the Pops to promote the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ917bHHWUs 

- 1972's 'Donna' b/w 'Hot Sun Rock' (instrumental)  (UK catalog number 45-49005)  rating: **** stars
3.) The Dean and I   (Kevin Godely - Lol Creme) - 3:03

Nice reflection of  Godley and Creme's affection for 30s' and 40s musical genres.  Supposedly neither Gouldman, or Stewart like the song very much, finding it to "stage show--ish", but as a democracy they went along with the decision to record it.   Another one that I've grown to enjoy.  Maybe not in my top-10 list, but still worth hearing.   It served as the band's third single:

- 1973's 'The Dean and I' b/w 'Bee in My Bonnet' (UK catalog number UK.48)     YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song in 1973: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZuNiQ4Sq3U    rating: *** stars
4.) Fresh Air for My Momma  (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme - Eric  Stewart)  - 3:02

Another tune off their debut album, 'Fresh Air for My Momma' managed to blend their knack for sweet melodies, wonderful harmonies,  with some of the strangest lyrics you'll encounter ("the American way of dying ...").   Always thought this was one of Godley's best performances.  YouTube has a live 1974 BBC performance of the tune at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL6AeTtqOAI    rating: **** stars
5.) Silly Love   (Lol Creme - Eric Stewart) - 3:56

Showcasing Creme on lead vocals and guitar, 'Silly Love' was one of the hardest rocking things they ever recorded, yet it also retained their goofy edge - check out Stewart's short jazzy interlude.  One of my favorite 10cc tunes.  YouTube has a clip of the band doing the song for a 1974 BBC Live appearance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxELugJ52dI  

- 1974's 'Silly Love' b/w 'The Sacro-Iliac' (UK catalog number UK)   rating: **** stars

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  How Dare You!

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SRM-1-1061

Year: 1976

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5180

Price: $5.00

 

Okay, I'm bias, but this is the first 10cc LP I ever bought and to this day remains one of my favorites.  It wsn't perfect and lots of folks will opt to disagree, but so what ...  With all four members contributing material in various writing combinations, 1976's "How Dare You!" offered up a first rate mix of pop smarts ('Lazy Ways'), experimental moves ('I Wanna Rule the World'), and their unique brand of English subversive humor ('Iceberg').  Sure, similar to The Beatles "White Album" the results were kind of fragmented with Gouldman and Stewart's contributions underscoring a more conventional and commercial sense, while Creme and Godley brought a arty and experimental bent to the proceedings.  The funny thing is that this was a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of it's parts.  Over their ensuing careers none of the four  principals have managed to match this album.  Besides, how could you not like an album that included a song about a plane crash victim being saved by a fantasy stewardess ('I'm Mandy Fly Me') ...   This time out the singles were:

 

- 'Art for Art's Sake' b/w 'Get It While You Can' (Mercury catalog number 73725)

- 'I'm Mandy Fly Me' b/w 'How Dare You' (Mercury catalog number 73779)

 

"How Dare You!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) How Dare You! (instrumental)   (Lol Creme - Kevin Godley) - 4:14

2.) Lazy Ways   (Lol Creme - Eric Stewart) - 4:18

3.) I Wanna Rule the World   (Lol Creme - Kevin Godley - Graham Gouldman) - 3:57

4.) I'm Mandy Fly Me   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Lol Creme) - 5:22

 

(side 2)
1.) Iceberg   (Graham Gouldman - Kevin Godley) - 3:43

2.) Art for Arts Sake   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:59

3.) Rock 'n' Roll Lullabye   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:59

4.) Head Room   (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 4:21

5.) Don't Hang Up    (Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 6:19

 

The resulting successes also led Mercury to reach back to the earlier "The Original Soundtrack" album for another 45:

 

- 'Life Is A Minestrone' b/w 'Lazy Ways' (Mercury catalog number 73805)

 

Interested in marketing their Gizmotron (aka Gizmo) guitar modification and pursuing a different musical course, including a budding interest in video, Godley and Lol subsequently split off on their own.

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Deceptive Bend

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SRM-1-3702

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5179

Price: $5.00

 

1977 saw Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart reappear with their first post-Goodly and Creme release - "Deceptive Bends".  Ironically Gouldman and Stewart had begun writing material and recording demos at the band's recently completed Strawberry Studios prior to Goodley and Creme's departure.  Drummer Paul Burgess and various sessions players were subsequently brought in to fill the gaps.  In practical terms the personnel shake up had little impact on the band's patented sound.  With Gouldman and Stewart responsible for all ten tracks, the set was full of catchy melodies ('The Things We Do For Love'), shimmering harmonies ('You Got a Cold') and occasionally too-cute lyrics ('I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor').  The only minor difference from earlier work was a slight shift to a more commercial sound; some of the earlier experimentation and sense of lunacy seemingly absent (readily explained by Godley and Creme's departures).  Certainly not their most innovative set and in spite of a pretty melody the three part 'Feel the Benefit' kind of dragged, but otherwise fun all the way through.  Commercially the album proved a gold mine, spinning off a series of three hit singles:

 

- 'The Things We Do for Love' b/w 'Hot to Trot' (Mercury catalog number 73875)

- 'Good Morning Judge'' b/w 'I'm So Laid Back I'm Laid Out' (Mercury catalog number 73943)

- 'People in Love' b/w 'Don't Squeeze Me Like Toothpaste (Mercury catalog number 73917)

 

Backed by an international tour, the album proved their commercial zenith, going top-40 in the States (# 3 in the UK).

 

"Deceptive Band" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good Morning Judge   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

2.) The Things We Do For Love   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

3.) Marriage Bureau Rendezvous   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

4.) People In Love   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

5.) Modern Man Blues   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Honeymoon with B Troop   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

2.) I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

3.) You Got a Cold   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

4.) Feel the Benefit (Pars 1,2 and 3)   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) - 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Live and Let Live

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SRM2-8800

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; double 

LP set; cut lower right corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5178

Price: $12.00

 

A live two album concert set, 1977's self-produced "Live and Let Live" was clearly intended to give Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart some time to catch their creative breathes.  Recorded during a series of June and July 1977 dates at London's Odeon Theatre Hammersmith and the Manchester Apollo Theatre the album offered up a couple of Gouldman and Stewart penned oldies (fomer band members Lol Creme and Kevin Godley were only represented by the inclusion of 'The Second Sitting for the Last Supper' and ''I'm Mandy Fly Me') and a big slug of material from the recent "Deceptive Bends" LP.  While critics and fans tended to be lukewarm in their comments, I have to admit to actually liking the set.  The performances are all pretty good and forced to strip off some of their studio excesses, earlier material like 'Waterfall' (one of the first things and best things 10cc ever recorded), and 'You've Got a Cold' came off as much tougher and focused than the original recordings - a good thing to my ears. The extended band (drummer Paul Burgess, guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O'Malley, and drummer Stuart Tosh) also sounded surprisingly impressive, giving their live set considerable muscle.  Check out '' and 'Wall Street Shuffle' (the latter tapped by Mercury as an American single - Mercury also tapped the album for a single b/w 'You've Got a Cold' (Mercury catalog number 73980).  Highlights included a nice 'I'm Mandy Fly Me' and ''.  Sure it wasn't perfect.  O'Malley's lead vocal on 'Art for Art Sake' was painful and extending it to eight minutes plus was simply unnecessary. The inclusion of extended versions of 'Ships Don't Disappear in the Night (Do They?)' and 'Modern Man Blues' may have shown off the band's in-concert chops, but did little to hide the fact they were dull (and long).  Still, not a bad concert documentary and certainly better than most of the posthumously released live collections.  Given it was a double LP, the collection proved a modest seller, the set hit # 146 in the States.  

 

"Live and Let Live" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Second Sitting for the Last Supper   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Kevin Godley - Lol Creme) - 5:18

2.) You've Got a Cold   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:50

3.) Honeymoon with B Troop   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:01

4.) Art for Art's Sake   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 8:07

5.) People In Love   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:13

 

(side 2)
1.)
Wall Street Shuffle   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:12

2.) Ships Don't Disappear in the Night (Do They?)   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 7:26

3.) I'm Mandy Fly Me   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:52

4.) Marriage Bureau Rendezvous   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:38

 

(side 3)

1.) Good Morning Judge   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:06

2.) Feel the Benefit   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:12

3.) The Things We Do For Love   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:23

 

(side 4)
1.) 
Waterfall   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 7:25

2.) I'm Not in Love   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 6:34

3.) Modern Man Blues   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 9:15

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Bloody Tourists

Company: Mercury

Catalog: PD-1-6161

Year: 1978

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; cut lower left corner; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5177

Price: $8.00

 

1978's "Bloody Tourists" was the band's first studio set featuring their extended 'generation 2' line up (drummer Paul Burgess, guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Duncan Mackay, percussionist Stuart Tosh). While there were plenty of classic 10cc moments, overall the album sounded like a transitional effort - Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart still trying to acclimate themselves to the new lineup.  The album also found the pair sharing songwriting chores with some of the newbies. While 'Dreadlock Holiday' was reportedly inspired by a story they heard from The Moody Blues Justin Hayward, the rest of the album always struck me as sort of pseudo concept piece, the track listing's international flavor ('Tokyo', 'Life Line' and 'From Rochdale To Ochos Rios') possibly inspired by their recent international touring experiences.  At least to my ears, the big difference this time out showed itself in the form of this set being far more conventional and commercial than their last couple of studio sets.  With one of two minor exceptions ('Shock On the Tube (Don't Want Love)' and 'Anonymous Alcoholic'), the fun sense of experimentation that made earlier collections so much fun was largely absent.  Highlights included the hit ''Dreadlock Holiday (still one of the best slice of reggae ever recorded by a white band), the near perfect slice of pop 'For You and I', and Stewart's ominous 'Mister Time'. 

 

Released as a single 'Dreadlock Holiday' b/w 'Nothing Can Move Me' (Polydor catalog number PD-14511) hit # 44 in the States (# 1 in the UK). 

 

 

One of the band's prettiest and most conventional ballads, 'For You and I' was subsequently included in the soundtrack to the hideous John Travolta film "Moment By Moment".  It was then released as a US single 'For You and I' b/w 'Take These Chains' (Polydor catalog number PD 14528), providing the band with their final US hit (# 85).  

 

 

Propelled by generally favorable reviews and the hits, the parent LP hit # 69 in the States (# 3 in the UK).  Call it the last classic 10cc release ...

 

"Bloody Tourists" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Dreadlock Holiday   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:28

2.) For You and I   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:20

3.) Take These Chains   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 2:36

4.) Shock On the Tube (Don't Want Love)   (Eric Stewart) - 3:38

5.) Last Night   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 3:10

6.) Anonymous Alcoholic   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:38

 

(side 2)
1.) Reds In My Bed   (Eric Stewart - Stuart Tosh) - 4:08

2.) Life Line   (Graham Gouldman) - 3:26

3.) Tokyo   (Eric Stewart) - 4:29

4.) Old Mister Time   (Eric Stewart - Duncan Mackay) - 4:27

5.) From Rochdale To Ochos Rios   (Graham Gouldman) - 3:41 

6.) Everything You've Wanted To Know About!!! (Exclamation Marks)   (Eric Stewart) - 4:25

 

For 10cc fanatics, Polydor tapped the album for a follow-on English single: 'Reds In My Bed' b/w 'Take These Chains' (Polydor catalog number 6008 036)

 



Genre: rock

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  Look Hear?

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BSK-3442

Year: 1980

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: includes original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5176

Price: $8.00

 

   cover of UK pressing

 

Ending their long term relationship with Mercury, 1980's "Look Hear?" found the expanded line up signed to Warner Brothers.  Musically the album was instantly recognizable as a 10cc product, though as prime writers Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart seemed to be on automatic pilot.  That feeling was underscored by the presence of several tracks credited to second generation members Rick Fenn and Duncan Mckay.  Taken in small doses none of these ten tracks were outright bad (okay Rick Fenn's 'Don't Send Me Back' was pretty hideous).  At the same time with the possible exception of the pretty ballads 'It Doesn't Matter At All' and 'I Hate To Eat Alone' nothing here was particularly memorable or innovative.  Adding to sense of disappointment, pulling a page off of the earlier "Bloody Tourists" set, 'One Two Five', 'How'm I Ever Gonna Say Goodbye' and 'Dressed To Kill' all borrowed the earlier pseudo-reggae moves, though with far inferior results.  With little success Warner tapped the album for a single in the form of 'It Doesn't Matter at All' b/w 'Strange Lover'  (Warner Brothers catalog number 49266).   A commercial and creative disappointment the set peaked at # 180.

 

"Look Hear?" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) One Two Five  (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:10

2.) Welcome To the World    (Duncan Mackay - Rick Fenn) - 3:40

3.) How'm I Ever Gonna Say Goodbye    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 3:36

4.) Don't Send Me Back   (Rick Fenn) - 3:16

5.) I Took You Home   (Eric Stewart) - 5:13

 

(side 2)
1.) It Doesn't Matter At All
    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 3:59

2.) Dressed To Kill    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 3:26

3.) Lovers Anonymous    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 5:05

4.) I Hate To Eat Alone    (Graham Gouldman) - 2:53

5.) Strange Lover    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 3:40

6.) L.A. Inflatable    (Graham Gouldman - Rick Fenn) - 4:31

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Ten Out of 10

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BSK-3575

Year: 1981

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5175

Price: $8.00

 

Marking Eric Stewart's return to the recording fold after a near fatal 1979 car crash and some outside production work, in many ways 1981's "Ten Out of 10" stood as a 10cc comeback. Having previously fired the rest of their band, the album also stood as a true Stewart-Graham Gouldman collaboration; the pair co-producing the album (Andrew Gold credited with producing three tracks) co-writing the majority of the album, sharing lead vocal responsibilities, and handling most of the instruments themselves.  Their most energetic and impressive release since "Deceptive Bends", the album was full of killer material that should have burned up the charts, but somehow got lost amidst the public's ongoing fascination with punk/new wave.  Highlights abounded, including 'Don't Ask', 'Don''t Turn Me Away' and 'Run Away'.  Interestingly even though the collection marked a return to a distinctively commercial sound, the band's American label wasn't particularly thrilled with the original results, ultimately insisting on revamping the UK release prior to approving a US release.  In the process four tracks were dropped off of the UK album ('Action Man In a Motown Suit', 'Listen with Your Eyes', 'Lying Here with You' and 'Survivor').  In their place the company opted for the Stewart-Gouldman original 'Tomorrow's World Today' and a series of three Stewart-Gouldman/Andrew Gold collaborations ('Power of Love', 'We've Heard It All Before' and 'Run Away').  Warner also tapped the album for a US single in the form of 'The Power of Love' b/w 'Action Man In a Motown Suite' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7-29973).  It proved a lot of effort for minimal payback; the set failed to chart domestically.

Mercury marketed the album far more aggressively in the UK, pulling several singles off the collection:

 

- 'Les Nouveaux Riches' b/w 'I Hate to Eat Alone' (Mercury catalog number TEN 10)

 

 

- 'Don't Turn Me Away' b/w 'Tomorrows [sic] World Today' (Mercury catalog number MER 86)

 

- 'Run Away' b/w 'Action Man In a Motown Suite' (Mercury catalog number MER 113)

 

- 'We've Heard It All Before' b/w 'Overdraft in Overdrive' (Mercury catalog number MER 121) 

 

"Ten Out of 10" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Don't Ask   (Graham Gouldman) - 4:01

2.) The Power of Love   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Andrew Gold) - 4:14

3.) Les Nouveaux Riches   (Eric Stewart) - 5:12

4.) Memories   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 5:47

5.) We've Heard It All Before   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Andrew Gold) - 3:48

 

(side 2)
1.) Don''t Turn Me Away   (Eric Stewart) - 5:03

2.) Notell Hotel   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 4:56

3.) Overdraft In Overdrive   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman) - 3:22

4.) Tomorrow's World Today   (Graham Gouldman) - 3:14

5.) Run Away   (Eric Stewart - Graham Gouldman - Andrew Gold) - 4:07

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Windows In the Jungle

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SRM-1-4087

Year: 1983

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: UK pressing; small punch out hole

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5174

Price: $20.00

 

By the time 1983's "Window In the Jungle" saw an American release, the group's already US commercial heyday had come and gone.  That was unfortunate since this late inning release stood as a minor return to form.  With Gouldman and Stewart responsible for all eight tracks, the collection was originally slated to be a concept piece (big surprise), but with their recent sales proving disappointing, parent company Mercury apparently was in no mood to deal with the pair's more creative desires; instead pushing hard for a purely commercial release.  Though neither side was very happy with the final product, the results sounded very much like a compromise.  The band's instantly recognizable sound remained intact (glorious harmonies, incideously catchy melodies, jarring lyrics ('Americana Panorama')), with material like the eight minute lead off '24 Hours' and 'Taxi! Taxi!' served as an indication off what Gouldman and Stewart originally had in mind.  At the other end of the spectrum, the reggae-flavored 'Feel The Love (Oomachasaooma)', 'City Lights' and 'Food For Thought' were all short and commercial in nature.  The irony is that with backing from an all star cast of sessions players, Gouldman (almost invisible throughout the proceedings) and Stewart sounded bored and uninterested throughout.  In terms of sales the album didn't do bad, peaking at # 70.  It also marked a decade long hiatus for the band. 

 

Elsewhere Mercury tapped the LP for a series of singles:

 

- '24 Hours' b/w 'Dreadlock Holiday (live at Wembley)' (Mercury catalog number MER139)

 

 

- Feel the Love (Oomachasaooma)' b/w ' She Gives Me Pain' (Mercury catalog number 812 767-7) 

 

 

- 'Food for Thought' b/w 'The Secret Life of Henry' (Mercury catalog number 814 495-7)

 

 

"Windows In the Jungle" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) 24 Hours   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 8:09

2.) Feel The Love (Oomachasaooma)   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 5:10

3.) Yes, I Am   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 6:03

4.) Americana Panorama   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 3:45

 

(side 2)
1.) City Lights   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 3:34

2.) Food For Thought   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 3:34

3.) Working Girls   (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart) – 4:26

4.) Taxi! Taxi!    (Graham Gouldman - Eric Stewart)– 7:39


 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION


Call me a naysayer, but some of the recent talk concerning the resurgence of smoothness in popular music, inspired primarily by the slick stylings of US outfit Gayngs, just doesn't sit right with me. It smacks of a smirky, ironic approach to pop that I simply can’t get behind, being mere shorthand for a single aspect of the music under discussion - the ease with which it is digested and absorbed. What of the heartache, the poignancy, the darkness? In other words, the stuff that keeps the listener coming back to these songs, time and time again?

British art-pop pioneers 10cc have been namechecked as ‘smooth’ operators par excellence, largely due to the influence of their 1975 single ‘I’m Not In Love’ on the Gayngs aesthetic. But while that single wafted to the top of the charts on a cloud of multitracked vocal bliss, there's grit at its heart, a painful truth that belies its sonic perfection. In addition, I can’t help thinking that if ‘smooth’ is a summertime thang, then 10cc are more autumnal, delineating a liminal space between light and dark, warm and cold, sweet and sour... uh, you get the idea.

What's more, if we delve deeper into the oeuvre of the Manchester group (whose original configuration comprised Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley) we find that it's way weirder and more diverse than any one adjective can encompass, especially ‘smooth’. Bizarre near-dub experiments ('The Worst Band In The World'), interludes of music concrete ('Un Nuit De Paris', '24 Hours'), funk rock songs about common-or-garden ailments ('You've Got A Cold'), sinister confessionals from bombs planted on planes (‘Clockwork Creep’) and a recurring taboo-busting theme of money and power as the motivating factors in human activity ('The Wall Street Shuffle', 'Art For Art's Sake', ‘I Wanna Rule The World’) align 10cc not with Michael McDonald and James Taylor - but with perverse polymorphs such as Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren and Sparks.

It's telling that one of 10cc's later albums, 1980's Look Hear, came with the blunt enquiry 'Are You Normal?' emblazoned on its sleeve. This question could serve as an epigram for the group's career, during which they looked upon the human condition with a combination of prurience and bemusement. 10cc alchemised the mundane into the uncanny, as on the gorgeous, Beatles-esque 'I'm Mandy, Fly Me' which used an airline poster as the launchpad for an adventure in a fictional dimension. Their commentary might seem laconic, even cynical, but Strawberry Studios in Stockport, their original HQ, was evidently a space where dreams and nightmares were allowed to run amok before being corralled into exquisitely crafted pop songs with disarmingly odd angles.

Although the group have released albums only fitfully since their '70s heyday, they still tour with sole original member, the congenial but precise Graham Gouldman, at the helm. In addition, they have been sampled by Hip Hop producers such as El-P and the late J Dilla, whose 'Workinonit' from 2006's Donuts plays fast & loose with the elastic brilliance of 'The Worst Band In The World'.

10cc's music endures - outside the confines of the trad canon - not because it epitomises a single aspect of mainstream rock, but because it's damn near impossible to summarise in a single paragraph, let alone a single word.

Graham, tell me about your experience of writing bubblegum pop prior to forming 10cc.

Graham Gouldman: I was writing songs for other people during the '60s, people like The Yardbirds, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies. That was sort of '65, '66, '67. Then in the late '60s I met up with some guys called Kasenetz and Katz, who had a bubblegum record label. They wanted to legitimise their outfit and were talking to all kinds of different writers to work for them. At first I was thinking it wouldn't be right for me, but then I thought, "To hell with it." I was going through a bit of a quiet patch and it was also an opportunity to work in New York, which I wanted to do. Anyway, the upshot of it was that I did it and got fed up with it. I didn't like it. I said to the guys there, "I'd like to take all the songs that I've written and record them, I'm involved in a studio back in the UK and I've got some musician friends who I'd like to work with on these tracks." They said, fine, and that went some way to bringing 10cc together. That was my brief, but actually quite useful, encounter with the bubblegum industry.

You mention that it was a useful experience. Did it feed into 10cc?

GG: I think everything you do seeps into everything else you do. For example, we were lucky enough to do two albums with Neil Sedaka. We did one prior to forming the band and one just after. And there's no doubt about it, that was a good example of learning from one of the masters. Just about general musicianship, the way he played and sang... it was inspirational to be with him, as well as to work with him. I think we learned a bit about songwriting craft as well. But then you learn from everyone you work with.

When you worked with Neil, were you given a brief of some kind?

GG: Well, all that happened was that our manager had met him in New York and told him about the set up we had with our own studio. We were like a kind of self-contained music unit, at that point 10cc were virtually the house band at Strawberry Studios, so we'd play on lots of different sorts of records, do backing vocals, write football records, do loads of stuff, you know. Another thing, which also applies to the bubblegum period, was that it brought business to the studio, we needed to keep working, we were all involved in it and wanted to make good. So that affected what we did as well. We decided, look, you know, "We're not interested in making football records but if we're going to make one, let's make a bloody good one!" So we didn't really refuse anything. I think that attitude was healthy. But Neil at the time was working at Batley Variety Club, a massive luxury working men's club up in Yorkshire, and our manager said, 'The boys are in Stockport, which isn't that far, why not do a trial recording with them and see if you like it?' Well, he did like it, so we did the whole album, then another after that. His aim was simply to do a good album. He had these great songs, and we did everything very simply in those days. I went to Leeds to sit with him, got all the chord charts, then we went in the studio and Eric [Stewart] would engineer, Lol [Crème] and I would play guitar, Kevin [Godley] would play drums, Neil would play piano and sing the lead vocal. Then afterwards, we'd go, "Right, we'll put some bass and backing vocals on, some extra guitar, maybe another keyboard, some of the tracks had strings on..." Whatever it needed.

So Strawberry Studios was the Brill Building of Northern England?

GG: There was a little element of that. I suppose the only difference was that because it was a commercial concern, we couldn't pick and choose what we recorded. We'd have your Auntie Edna coming in, wanting to record all the songs she'd learned as a kid, then we'd have The Sid Lawrence Orchestra coming in and doing a session. It was a real mix, as it was in most studios. It was full of people that just wanted to make records.

The proto-10cc outfit Hotlegs - whose heavily rhythmic hit single ‘Neanderthal Man’ sounds oddly krautrock-ish in retrospect - featured Creme, Godley and Stewart but not you, at least initially...

GG: Hotlegs started, I think, when I was in New York with Kasenetz and Katz. I got involved with it because the boys had a big hit with 'Neanderthal Man' and they were going to go on the road, and they asked me to join them on tour. That kind of petered out but the four of us were left thinking, 'There's something happening here.' We were involved in the studio and when the studio wasn't working we started writing songs together, just for fun, really, and recording them, until we hit 'Donna' and we thought, "Ooh, we might have something really special here," although that was originally going to be a b-side for a track that Eric and I had written called 'Waterfall'. That song was going to be released on the Apple label. We were waiting to hear whether that was going to happen and while we were waiting we thought we might as well do a b-side for it, and as Eric and I had written the a-side, Kevin and Lol wrote the b-side. As soon as we'd recorded it we knew it was more commercial than the other track.

Did you have any idea of the direction the band would take?

GG: The point of the band was that we didn't have any orientation or plan, we just did what we wanted to do. We didn't think. We just did.

Which resulted in something unique. Take the subject matter of your songs, for example... just taking three songs from the debut, 'Iceberg', 'Clockwork Creep' and 'Ships Don't Disappear In The Night (Do They)' are hardly traditional Top 40 pop/rock fodder.

GG: Well, we always wanted to keep ourselves amused and stimulated by what we did. There didn't seem much point in doing anything that anybody else had done. We had no A&R man breathing down our necks. We were lucky because we were completely self-contained, we had our own studio, we played and sang everything ourselves, Eric engineered as well. It all worked out that there was no outside influence for us at all. That was one of the main elements of the band, that we had complete freedom. We also had an attitude towards each other's work that was always very, very positive.

There was no rivalry between the four talented songwriters in the group?

GG: I think there was unconscious rivalry between the two writing teams, which was always very healthy, I thought.

Did you ever have arguments in the studio?

GG: No. Because the idea was that we would record everything that anybody wrote. The principle being that if you thought it was good enough to record, then I'll go along with that. However... if I can think of a way to make what you've done better, I will tell you what I think should happen. In other words, whoever wrote the song, it was adopted by the four of us, as if it was all our own. Once you're stuck with this song, whether you like it or not, what are you going to do? You can't sit there and say, 'Well, I don't like it.' You've got to say, 'Well, I think we can make it better by doing this.'

So instead of doing each other down, you'd bring each other up?

GG: Correct. Yeah. And it worked brilliantly... for quite a long time.

But it eventually stopped working...

GG: Yes! But the original split when Kevin and Lol left [in 1976] wasn't to do with that, it was to with a certain element... it was a bit of a treadmill, a constant cycle of writing, recording, rehearsing, going on the road, then starting again. Which to me, was everything I'd ever wanted! To me that was not a problem, it was absolutely brilliant. But there was an element of Kevin and Lol feeling that they weren't being stimulated anymore, I think... but the main thing was they'd started recording an album which demonstrated a thing called the Gizmo, that attached to a guitar...

This was the Consequences album? [an ambitious three-disc opus based around a 'revenge of the elements' concept which featured a running commentary from Peter Cook and guest vocals from jazz legend Sarah Vaughn]

GG: It turned out to be a triple album, so you can imagine how long that took to do, and it was cutting into 10cc time. It came to the point where Eric and I had to say to Kevin and Lol, "Look, you're going to have to choose. What's it going to be?" And they said, "We're going to stick with the Gizmo."

Do you think they ever regretted that decision?

GG: Well, Kevin and I have talked a lot about it, he's the only member of the band that I have any contact with, we actually see quite a lot of each other, but what we both thought was that both sides were kind of stupid. 10cc were big enough, we could have taken a year off. Like, "Go away guys, do your album, come back when you're ready." But that didn't happen, unfortunately. Although Eric and I carried and we were quite successful without Kevin and Lol. But it changed.

What was the immediate effect of the split on 10cc?

GG: Well, I suppose we lost our more avant garde element.

The experimental edge.

GG: Yeah, yeah. Lyrically, it didn't have that... although Eric and I are good, we're good, it wasn't the same because Kevin and Lol were brilliant.

I have to say, though, I think the first album you put out following the split, 1977's Deceptive Bends, is my favourite 10cc album...

GG: Well, a lot of people say that, and it's one of mine as well. We were very, very proud of that album, because we felt people would go, "Yeah, right, you've had it now, the creative force has gone," which is ridiculous, but there were things like that going around.

Song-for-song, Deceptive Bends is extremely consistent as well as adventurous. In top three terms, that would be followed by How Dare You [1976], then Sheet Music [1974].

GG: It's always interesting to hear that and kind of gratifying. I think Sheet Music is generally accepted to be the best, the people's favorite album. I think there's a book called 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and of all the 10cc albums, that's the one that's in there.

Do you agree with that assessment?

GG: I do. I think we were all very focused. It was great fun too. There was another element to that album as well, in that Paul McCartney was doing an album with his brother Mike McGear in the studio at the same time. They were coming in evenings and working until the wee small hours and we used to come in mornings and work through the day. So his presence was quite an influence, I think.

You think the magic rubbed off on Sheet Music?

GG: I know it did. Absolutely.

You were in the enviable position of being both a albums band and a singles band unlike '70s contemporaries such as, say, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, who were both focused on making their albums monolithic statements and less bothered about having individual hit songs. Did you acknowledge this duality at all? How did you perceive yourselves?

GG: I don't think we perceived ourselves as anything. You know, people said, "Well, what sort of music do you do? Where do you see yourselves?" We were like, "Well... we're us! We just do what we do. You pigeonhole us if you want to – if you can – but really, it's 10cc music."

I tend to think of 10cc as being in a small cadre of very clever groups who emerged around the same time, who were capable of writing in a number of styles and covering a wide variety of lyrical ground, some of which was extremely unorthodox, but who nevertheless had a signature sound. Steely Dan would also be in there, as would Sparks.

GG: Well, I'm very pleased to hear that. That's the joy of having your own band. I do a lot of writing for other people, and while you're writing you go off into these worlds of mad fantasy... stupid or funny, odd, bizarre lyrics, and your writing partner will go, "Wow, what was that? It was amazing!" and you go, "No, forget it... no one's going to record that." But if 10cc were still recording then we'd definitely do it.

What kind of music were you listening to outside of the band? Were you keeping an ear out for what was happening in pop and rock at the time?

GG: We weren't consciously keeping an ear out but we used to listen to a lot of music. We used to listen to a lot of Beach Boys, Beatles, Steely Dan, Motown, Bacharach and David, rock 'n' roll... everything that was good.

I find the reggae element interesting. I guess most people would identify this influence as becoming evident circa Bloody Tourists [which featured the classic 'Dreadlock Holiday', a song this writer assumed, in his youth, to have been performed by a group of black musicians rather than three pasty Mancunians]...

GG: It was there much earlier, I think. I used to listen to bluebeat and ska in the early '60s. Ours was a kind of... cod reggae, I guess. It might also have been due to the fact that we used to go on holiday to the West Indies quite a lot. 'Dreadlock Holiday' was written after I'd been to Jamaica and Eric had been to Barbados, and we just started talking about our experiences.

As early as Sheet Music, the use of sound effects and innovative production techniques recalls the work of dub scientists such as King Tubby and Lee 'Scratch' Perry... I'm thinking of the ear-bending sonics of something like 'The Worst Band In The World' [note: this elasticity is also mirrored in the album's excellent Hipgnosis-designed album sleeve, which depicts the group tugging the yellow border surrounding their photograph into the frame itself].

GG: We weren't aware of that. I think that was because we had a certain amount of instruments at our disposal, we had our own studio, we had the time, and we could experiment. When we wanted a sound, we'd imagine it and try and go after it. These days what you'd do is if you said, "You know what? I think we need a 250 piece choir on this," you'd go straight to your keyboard and there it would be. Of course we didn't have that. That luxury didn't exist in the mid '70s, so we did it ourselves. And of course, we created something unique. Whereas now, you have access a billion sounds... but so does everyone else.

So you were forced to be inventive?

GG: We loved being inventive! We'd go, 'You know what? It sounds like we need a keyboard, a piano, but how can we make it sound different?' So we'd try an echo, or put it through this, or mic it up in this way or that way... but what it boils down to is that you can have the best production in the world, but if the song isn't any good, it'll be crap. Whereas vice versa, you'll have a hit. Or actually what happens is, the song influences everything that happens in the studio. In my experience, if you have a good song, then making the record in the studio is a doddle. A good song stimulates good ideas and everything works, not the other way around.