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10cc. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:17, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=10cc&oldid=264907345

10cc were an English art rock band that achieved their greatest commercial success during the 1970s.

The band initially comprised four members, Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, who had written and recorded together for about three years before taking on the name of 10cc in 1972. The lineup featured two strong songwriting teams who injected their songs with sharp wit and lyrical dexterity. The more "commercial" team of Stewart and Gouldman were generally fairly straightforward "pop" songwriters, who created some of the group's most accessible material. The experimental half of 10cc was Godley and Creme, who brought a distinctive "art school" sensibility and a more "cinematic" writing style to the group. All four members were skilled multi-instrumentalists, vocalists, writers and producers and each could perform convincingly as lead singers.[1]

The original line-up recorded four albums and a string of Top 10 singles. The band suffered a split in 1976, when Godley and Creme left to form Godley & Creme, leaving Gouldman and Stewart to continue touring and recording as 10cc with a variety of musicians including Rick Fenn, Stuart Tosh, and Andrew Gold enlisted for each album.

The band experienced a nine-year hiatus from 1983, before releasing two more albums. There have been no albums since 1995 and Stewart has declared the band is defunct.[2] Since about 2004, however, Gouldman has toured sporadically with several peripheral band members, billing themselves as "10cc featuring Graham Gouldman and Friends".

Links between three of the band's founding members began in childhood in Manchester, where they grew up. Godley and Creme knew each other as children and Gouldman and Godley went on to attend the same secondary school. Their shared passion for music meant the three would often be playing at their local Jewish Lads' Brigade in their teens.

The first collaboration on record of future 10cc members occurred in 1964, when Graham Gouldman's beat-group band The Whirlwinds recorded a Lol Creme composition, "Baby Not Like You", as the B-side of their only single. The Whirlwinds then changed both their line-up and name, becoming a quartet known as The Mockingbirds, with Gouldman on vocals and guitar and Kevin Godley "" who had been in The Sabres with Lol Creme "" recruited as drummer. The Mockingbirds issued five non-charting singles in 1965 and '66 before dissolving.[3]

In June 1967 Godley and Creme reunited and issued a single as The Yellow Bellow Boom Room ("Seeing Things Green" b/w "Still Life" on UK CBS).

In 1969 Gouldman took Godley and Creme to a Marmalade label recording session. Label boss Giorgio Gomelsky was sufficiently impressed by Godley's falsetto to offer him and Creme a recording deal. Godley & Creme recorded a number of basic tracks at Strawberry Studios in September 1969 with Stewart on guitar and Gouldman on bass.[4] One song, "I'm Beside Myself" b/w "Animal Song", was released as a single credited to Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon.

Gomelsky, a former manager of The Yardbirds, planned to market the team as a duo in the vein of Simon and Garfunkel.[5] Plans for an album by Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon faltered, however, when Marmalade ran out of funds.[5] Solo tracks by Godley and Gouldman, however "" both of which involved Stewart and Creme "" were released on a 1969 Marmalade sampler album, 100 Proof. Gouldman's track was "The Late Mr. Late"; Godley's "To Fly Away" reappeared a year later as "Fly Away" on the debut Hotlegs album, Thinks: School Stinks.

Gouldman, meanwhile, had made a name for himself as a hit songwriter, penning "Heart Full of Soul", "Evil Hearted You" and "For Your Love" for The Yardbirds, "Look Through Any Window" and "Bus Stop"' for The Hollies and "No Milk Today", "East West" and "Listen People" for Herman's Hermits.

Meanwhile, the fourth future member of 10cc was also tasting significant pop music success: guitarist Eric Stewart was a member of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, a group that hit #1 with "The Game Of Love", and had scored a number of other mid-1960s hits. When Fontana left the band in October 1965, the group became known simply as The Mindbenders, with Stewart their lead vocalist. The band scored a hit with "A Groovy Kind Of Love" (released December 1965) and made an appearance in the 1967 film To Sir, With Love with "It's Getting Harder All the Time" and "Off and Running."

In March 1968, Graham Gouldman joined Stewart in The Mindbenders, replacing bassist Bob Lang and playing on some tour dates. Gouldman wrote two of the band's final three singles, "Schoolgirl" (released November 1967) and "Uncle Joe the Ice Cream Man" (August 1968). Those singles did not chart and The Mindbenders broke up after a short tour of England in November.[6]

In the dying days of The Mindbenders, Stewart began recording demos of new material at Inner City Studios, a Stockport studio then owned by Peter Tattersall, a former road manager for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. In July 1968 Stewart joined Tattersall as a partner in the studio, where he could further hone his skills as a recording engineer.[7] In October 1968, the studio was relocated to bigger premises and renamed Strawberry Studios, after The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever".[8]

In 1969 Gouldman, who had become much more in demand as a songwriter than as a performer, also began using Strawberry to record demos of songs he was writing for Marmalade. By the end of the year he, too, was a financial partner in the studios.[5]

By 1969, all four members of the original 10cc line-up were working together regularly at Strawberry Studios. Around the same time, noted American bubblegum pop writer-producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz of Super K Productions came to England and commissioned Gouldman to write and produce formula bubblegum songs. Many of these songs were recorded at Strawberry Studios, and were either augmented or performed entirely by varying combinations of the future 10cc lineup.

Among the recordings from this period was "Sausalito", a #86 US hit credited to Ohio Express, and released in July 1969. In reality, the song featured Gouldman on lead vocal, and vocal and instrumental backing by the other three future 10cc members.

In December 1969 Kasenetz and Katz agreed to a proposal by Gouldman that he work solely at Strawberry, rather than moving constantly between Stockport, London and New York. Gouldman convinced the pair that these throwaway two-minute songs could all be written, performed and produced by him and his three colleagues, Stewart, Godley and Creme, at a fraction of the price of hiring outside session musicians. Kasenetz and Katz booked the studio for three months.

Kevin Godley recalled:[9]

The three-month project resulted in a number of tracks that appeared under various band names owned by Kasenetz-Katz, including "There Ain't No Umbopo" by Crazy Elephant, "When He Comes" by Fighter Squadron and "Come On Plane" by Silver Fleet (all three with lead vocals by Godley), and "Susan's Tuba" by Freddie and the Dreamers (which was a monster hit in France and featured lead vocals by Freddie Garrity, despite claims by some that it was Gouldman).[5]

Lol Creme remembered: "Singles kept coming out under strange names that had really been recorded by us. I've no idea how many there were, or what happened to them all."

But Stewart described the Kasenetz-Katz deal as a breakthrough: "That allowed us to get the extra equipment to turn it into a real studio. To begin with they were interested in Graham's songwriting and when they heard that he was involved in a studio I think they thought the most economical thing for them to do would be to book his studio and then put him to work there "" but they ended up recording Graham's songs and then some of Kevin and Lol's songs, and we were all working together."[6]

When the three-month production deal with Kasenetz-Katz ended, Gouldman returned to New York to work as a staff songwriter for Super K Productions while the remaining three continued to dabble in the studio.

With Gouldman absent, Godley, Creme and Stewart continued recording singles. The first, "Neanderthal Man", released under the name Hotlegs, began life as a test of drum layering at the new Strawberry Studios mixing desk[6], but when released as a single by Fontana Records in July 1970, climbed to No.2 in the UK charts and became a worldwide hit, selling more than two million copies. Around the same time, the trio released "Umbopo" under the name of Doctor Father. The song, a slower, longer and more melancholic version of the track earlier released under the name of Crazy Elephant, failed to chart.

Reverting to the successful band name Hotlegs, in early 1971 Godley, Creme and Stewart recorded the album Thinks: School Stinks, which included "Neanderthal Man". They then recalled Gouldman for a short tour, supporting The Moody Blues, before releasing a follow-up single "Lady Sadie" b/w "The Loser". Philips reworked their sole album, removed "Neantherthal Man" and added "Today" and issued it as Song. Stewart, Creme and Godley released another single in February 1971 under yet another pseudonym, The New Wave Band, this time with former Herman's Hermits member Derek "Lek" Leckenby on guitar. The song, a cover version of Paul Simon's "Cecilia", was one of the few tracks the band released that they had not written. It also failed to chart.[10]

The band also continued outside production work at Strawberry, working with Dave Berry, Wayne Fontana, Peter Cowap and Herman's Hermits, and doing original compositions for various UK football (soccer) teams. In 1971 they produced and played on Space Hymns, an album by New Age musician Ramases; in 1972 and 1973 they co-produced and played on two Neil Sedaka albums, Solitaire and The Tra-La Days Are Over.

The experience of working on Solitaire, which became a success for Sedaka, was enough to prompt the band to seek recognition on their own merits. Gouldman "" who by 1972 was back at Strawberry Studios "" said:

Stewart said the decision was made over a meal in a Chinese restaurant: "We asked ourselves whether we shouldn't pool our creative talents and try to do something with the songs that each of us was working on at the time."[6]

Once again a four-piece, the group recorded a Stewart/Gouldman song, "Waterfall", in early 1972. Stewart offered the acetate to Apple Records. He waited months before receiving a note from the label saying the song was not commercial enough to release as a single.

Undeterred by Apple's rejection, the group decided to plug another song which had been written as a possible B-side to "Waterfall", a Godley/Creme composition entitled "Donna". The song was a Frank Zappa-influenced '50s doo-wop parody, a sharp mix of commercial pop and irony with a chorus sung in falsetto. Stewart said: "We knew it had something. We only knew of one person who was mad enough to release it, and that was Jonathan King." Stewart called King, a flamboyant entrepreneur, producer and recording artist, who drove to Strawberry, listened to the track and "fell about laughing", declaring: "It's fabulous, it's a hit."[6]

King signed the band to his UK Records label in July 1972 and dubbed them 10cc. By his own account, King chose the name after having a dream in which he was standing in front of the Hammersmith Odeon in London where the boarding read "10cc The Best Band in the World". A widely-repeated claim, disputed by King[12] and Godley,[13] but confirmed in a 1988 interview by Creme,[14] is that the band name represented a volume of semen that was more than the average amount ejaculated by men, thus emphasising their potency or prowess.

"Donna", released as the first 10cc single, was chosen by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Tony Blackburn as his Record of the Week, helping to launch it into the Top 30. The song peaked at No.2 in the UK in September 1972.

Although their second single, a similarly '50s-influenced song called "Johnny Don't Do It", was not a major chart success, "Rubber Bullets", a catchy satirical take on the "Jailhouse Rock" concept, became a hit internationally and gave 10cc their first British No.1 single in May 1973. They consolidated their success a few months later with "The Dean and I", which peaked at No.10 in August. They released two singles, "Headline Hustler" (in the US) and the self-mocking "The Worst Band In The World" (in the UK) and launched a UK tour on 26 August 1973 before returning to Strawberry Studios in November to record the remainder of their second LP, Sheet Music (1973), which included "The Worst Band In The World" along with other hits "The Wall Street Shuffle" (No.10, 1974) and "Silly Love" (No.24, 1974).

"Sheet Music" became the band's breakthrough album, remaining on the UK charts for six months and paving the way for a US tour in February 1974.

In February 1975 the band announced they had signed with Mercury Records for US$1 million. The catalyst for the deal was one song "" "I'm Not in Love". Stewart recalled:[15]

The Original Soundtrack, which was already complete, was released just weeks later. It was both a critical and commercial success and featured distinctive cover art created by the Hipgnosis team and drawn by musician and artist Humphrey Ocean, RA[16]. It is also notable for its opening track, Godley & Creme's "Une Nuit A Paris (One Night In Paris)", an eight-minute, multi-part "mini-operetta" that is thought to have been an influence on "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Its melody can also be heard in the overture to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical "Phantom of the Opera".

Although it bore an unlikely title (picked up from a radio talk show), the jaunty single "Life Is A Minestrone" (1975) was another UK Top 10 placing, peaking at No.7. Their biggest success came with the dreamy "I'm Not in Love", which gave the band their second UK No.1 in May 1975. The song also provided them with their first US chart success when the song reached No.2.

A collaborative effort built around a title by Stewart, "I'm Not in Love" is notable for its innovative production, especially its richly overdubbed choral backing.

10cc would also do some production work for Justin Hayward during this time on his single "Blue Guitar" for his "Blue Jays" project with John Lodge.

Their fourth LP, How Dare You! (1976), featuring another Hipgnosis cover, furnished two more UK Top Ten hits "" the witty "Art For Art's Sake" (No.5 in December 1975) and "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" (No.7, April 1976). But by this time the once close personal and working relationships between the four members had begun to fray, and it was the last album with the original lineup.

10cc's success prompted the 1976 re-release of the Hotlegs album under the new title You Didn't Like It Because You Didn't Think Of It with two additional tracks. The title track was the epic B-side of "Neanderthal Man", a section of which had been reworked as "Fresh Air For My Mama" on the 10cc album.

Soon after the release of How Dare You, Godley and Creme left 10cc to work on a project that eventually evolved into the triple LP set Consequences (1976), a sprawling concept album that featured contributions from satirist Peter Cook and jazz legend Sarah Vaughan.

The first of a series of albums by Godley & Creme, Consequences began as a demonstration record for the "Gizmotron", an electric guitar effect they had invented. The device, which fitted over the bridge of an electric guitar, contained six small motor-driven wheels attached to small keys (four wheels for electric basses); when the key was depressed, the Gizmotron wheels bowed the guitar strings, producing notes and chords with endless sustain. First used during the recording of the Sheet Music track "Old Wild Men", the device was designed to further cut their recording costs: by using it on an electric guitar with studio effects, they could effectively simulate strings and other sounds, enabling them to dispense with expensive orchestral overdubs.

In a 2007 interview with the ProGGnosis - Progressive Rock & Fusion website, [17] Godley explained: "We left because we no longer liked what Gouldman and Stewart were writing. We left because 10cc was becoming safe and predictable and we felt trapped."

But speaking to Uncut magazine 10 years earlier, [18], he expressed regret about the band breaking up as they embarked on the Consequences project:

Unfortunately, the band wasn't democratic or smart enough at that time to allow us the freedom to go ahead and do this project and we were placed in the unfortunate position of having to leave to do it. Looking back, it was a very northern work ethic being applied to the group, all for one and one for all. If we'd been a little more free in our thinking with regard to our work practices, the band as a corporate and creative entity could have realised that it could have been useful rather than detrimental for two members to spend some time developing and then bring whatever they'd learned back to the corporate party. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be.

Our contemporaries were people like Roxy Music who allowed that to happen and they gained from that ... Had we been allowed to get it out of our system and come back home, who knows what would have happened.

In a BBC Radio Wales interview [15] Stewart gave his side of the split:

(Yet) I think it becomes claustrophobic, in the fact that you're trying to perfect things and you're looking at each other and eventually you maybe say this relationship is a little too tight for me now, and I need to break away. And that's what in retrospect, I found out long after because I still speak to Godley and Creme who "" Lol is my brother-in-law, so I've got to see him "" but for quite a while we didn't talk. I just said you're out of your minds for leaving this band. We were on such a winning curve, Graham Gouldman and I had to decide, are we going to be 5cc? Are we gonna scrap the name completely? Well, we thought we, no, we'd better carry on because we, this is 10cc, we are 10cc, this band. Two of our members are leaving us and that's not our problem, but we've got to carry it on.

Godley & Creme went on to achieve cult success as a songwriting and recording duo, scoring several hits and releasing a string of innovative LPs and singles. Having honed their skills on the equally innovative clips that they made to promote their own singles, they returned to their visual arts roots and became better-known as directors of music videos in the 1980s, creating acclaimed videos for chart-topping acts including George Harrison ("When We Was Fab"), The Police ("Every Breath You Take"), Duran Duran ("Girls On Film"), Frankie Goes to Hollywood ("Two Tribes") and Herbie Hancock ("Rockit"). They also directed a video for Stewart and Gouldman's "Feel the Love". The video for their 1985 single "Cry" is especially notable as one of the first mainstream uses of image morphing technology.

For further information see: Godley & Creme

After the departure of Godley and Creme, Stewart and Gouldman opted to continue as 10cc, recruiting drummer Paul Burgess (later of The Icicle Works) for session work on their next LP, Deceptive Bends (1977). The album, recorded at the newly-completed Strawberry South Studio in Dorking, Surrey, reached No. 3 in Britain and No. 33 in the US and also yielded two hit singles, "The Things We Do For Love" (UK No. 6, US No. 5) and "Good Morning Judge" (UK No. 5, US No. 69). Stewart later said he and Gouldman felt vindicated by its success: "I was out to prove also that we could write a hit album without Kevin and Lol ... we did!" [19]

In 1977 10cc embarked on an international tour with guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O'Malley and drummer Stuart Tosh (ex-Pilot) and recorded a live album, Live And Let Live (1977), which mixed the hits with material from the previous three LPs.

Fenn, Tosh, Burgess and keyboardist Duncan Mackay were now full members of the band and performed on 1978's Bloody Tourists, which provided the band with another UK No. 1 single, the reggae-styled "Dreadlock Holiday".

The band suffered a major setback in 1979 when Stewart was seriously injured in a car crash. He told the BBC:[20]

Gouldman, too, considered the aftermath of Stewart's accident to be a turning point. In a 1995 BBC interview[21] he said:

In early 1980 Gouldman and Stewart both released solo albums and also signed with Warner Bros. Records, producing a new 10cc offering entitled Look Hear?, featuring the single "One Two Five". All three albums featured musicians from 10cc's Bloody Tourists lineup, and all were released between February and April of 1980. Only Look Hear? appeared on charts in the UK or US.

Gouldman and Stewart subsequently jettisoned the rest of the band before returning to the Mercury label to record Ten Out of 10 (1981). In a bid to inject an American flavour to the album, Warners invited singer-songwriter Andrew Gold to contribute, leading to an offer to join the band "" an offer Gold declined because of other commitments. Gouldman later admitted greater involvement by Gold might have lifted the band's early 1980s output from its mediocrity. "We should either have tried to change direction, which we didn"t, or got someone else in the band, which we almost did. The albums weren"t really bad, there was always the integrity, and the production values, but in retrospect, I find them rather dour, rather lacklustre."[22] Ten Out of 10 failed to make a major impression with audiences. The UK and US versions of the albums differ, with the UK version substituting Gold's three contributions "" and another Gouldman song "" with four tracks written by Gouldman and Stewart.

Stewart then recorded a 1982 solo album with participation from Gouldman on one track. The duo's next 10cc LP, Windows in the Jungle, (1983) used session heavyweights including drummer Steve Gadd, but the album was dominated by Stewart; Gouldman performed no lead vocals.

After 1983, the band went into recess as Stewart produced recordings for Sad Café and Gouldman produced tracks for The Ramones[23] before teaming up with Andrew Gold to form the synth-pop group Wax. Stewart also worked on three Paul McCartney albums, co-writing Press to Play (1986), and also produced the album Eyes of a Woman (1985) by Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA.

In 1992 the original four members reunited to record "¦Meanwhile, an album produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame. However, the album was not a "reunion" in the strict sense of the word. All the album's songs were written by Stewart and Gouldman (with the exception of one track which was co-written by Stewart, Gouldman, and Paul McCartney). Creme and Godley agreed to guest on the album to fulfil their obligation to Polydor -- both had owed Polydor one album when they split in the late '80s. Godley and Creme sang background vocals on several tracks on the album. Godley also sang the lead on one song, "The Stars Didn't Show".

Meanwhile did not spawn any major hits, but was relatively well received in Japan and in Europe. It featured session musicians Jeff Porcaro on drums and Michael Landau on guitars, along with Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) on piano and Andrew Gold on guitar.

Gouldman, in a 1995 interview,[21]was philosophical about the album: "When we finally did come back to record again, it was based on market research that our record company had done, that said a new 10cc album would do really, really well. And, ah, history has proved that wrong." Yet according to Stewart, both he and Gouldman had approached the album positively. "We wrote in a three-month period, 22 songs. Every day we were coming up with new ideas, and they were getting better and better, as far as we were concerned. And they sounded like 10cc songs again."

But according to Godley, the sessions highlighted the emerging strains between Gouldman and Stewart. "I do recall a strange atmosphere in the studio. An intangible awkwardness. Everything sounded 'great', everyone got on 'great', but there was an essential ingredient missing. I also sensed G and E growing apart. Gary Katz was acting as a political as well as creative buffer keeping personalities as well as music on course."[24]

The album followed a world tour in 1993 with members Rick Fenn, Steve Piggot, Stuart Tosh and Gary Wallace returning to the frame. This tour was the last involving Eric Stewart and was captured on the live album Alive.

In 1995 the band released Mirror Mirror, produced by Gouldman, Stewart and Adrian Lee of Mike and the Mechanics, and without participation from Godley or Creme. Despite initial objections by Gouldman,[25]Mirror Mirror included an acoustic version of "I'm Not in Love" which became a #29 UK hit single, but overall the album did not fare very well. Gouldman has described Mirror Mirror as "almost like two halves of an album", largely a result of the fact that he and Stewart recorded in separate countries. "I don"t like to say we hoodwinked the people, but you could say it"s not quite what it appears to be, and anyone with any sense, who reads the credits, could see that," he told Goldmine magazine.[25] Their recording arrangement also provided further evidence of a fractured relationship between Stewart and Gouldman: aside from "I'm Not in Love", Stewart did not appear on any of the tracks Gouldman played or sang on, while Gouldman did not appear on any of Stewart's tracks. After the album's release Stewart and Gouldman parted ways again.

Stewart has since commented:[2] "10cc is well and truly finished as far as I am concerned, but I can't guarantee that GG won't try to squeeze the last drop of blood out of it. It was a great band for most of its life and should be left at that, where it had some real meaning to all of us, fans and musicians alike."

Since about 2004 Gouldman has toured with a version of 10cc consisting of Rick Fenn, Paul Burgess, Mick Wilson, Mike Stevens and/or Keith Hayman, with occasional guest appearances by Kevin Godley. The band has embarked on two national tours of the UK and various dates throughout Europe playing 10cc hits, plus a section of Gouldman's hits written for others. The band plans to release a live DVD in 2008.

In 2001 Gouldman released his third solo album, And Another Thing... (the title was a subtle reference to his first solo outing, The Graham Gouldman Thing in 1968). Eric Stewart released a third solo album, Do Not Bend, in 2003. In between both events, in 2002, a reunion world tour featuring all four original members was suggested but negotiations fell through at an early stage.

In January 2004 Godley and Gouldman reconvened to write more songs. Godley explained:

By December 2007, Godley and Gouldman's website was offering six downloadable tracks, "The Same Road", "Johnny Hurts", "Beautifulloser.com", "Hooligan Crane", "Son of Man" and "Barry's Shoes". The songs are the initial "offering" of a group of songs they have worked on over the past three years.

In 2008, a DVD was compiled of several recent 10CC featuring Gouldman concerts entitled "Clever Clogs". The DVD also features several tracks sung by Godley.[27]

In 2006 Lol Creme joined producers Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson and musicians Chris Braide and Ash Soan to form The Producers. The band began recording its debut album in late 2006 and a single, "Barking Up The Right Tree" (backed with "Freeway") will be released in August 2007. Both tracks, along with an animated video by Lol Creme, have been released on MySpace.

A 2006 10cc compilation from Universal, Greatest Hits ... And More, attracted criticism both from fans who complained about one track, "Feel the Benefit", running at a slow speed and from Eric Stewart, who noted the inclusion of a disproportionately high number of Gouldman tracks at the expense of his post-10cc work. Stewart observed: "Anyone initially reading the track list could be forgiven for thinking that it should really have been called "A History of Graham Gouldman's Musical Associations"!"[28]

10cc. (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:17, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=10cc&oldid=264907345

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