10cc

TrackAlbum
Johnny, Don'’t Do It 10cc
Rubber Bullets10cc
Ships Don'’t Disappear In The Night (Do They?)10cc
HotelSheet Music
Old Wild MenSheet Music
Silly LoveSheet Music
Une Nuit A ParisThe Original Soundtrack
I’'m Not In LoveThe Original Soundtrack
I’'m Mandy, Fly MeHow Dare You!
Feel The BenefitDeceptive Bends

spotify-logo-primary-horizontal-dark-background-rgb-sm

 

Contributor: Ian Ashleigh

10cc were the band of my early to mid-teenage years. Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart knew each other in Manchester and were four talented multi-instrumentalists, four vocalists, and four songwriters who naturally gravitated into two pairs: Lol Creme and Kevin Godley; Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart. They recorded in their own studio in Stockport, Cheshire – Strawberry Studios (named after my favourite Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever). Before recording their first album they had recorded with Neil Sedaka in Stockport, playing on and producing two albums; Solitaire and The Tra-La Days Are Over, both of which feature 10cc backing vocals. Neil Sedaka’s single Standing On The Inside could be a 10cc cover rather that one of his own compositions.

When compiling my Toppermost for 10cc I originally restricted my selection to the first four albums prior to the split but included Deceptive Bends as a ‘transition album’ to the band that maybe should then have been called Gouldman Stewart but traded off the 10cc name.

For no other reason than convenience, I have arranged the songs chronologically. Johnny, Don’t Do It, with its fanfare opening, is the first track on the first album, 10cc, released in 1973. A brilliant take of 1950’s Americana that morphs into early 1970’s English rock music. Rubber Bullets takes the idea of Jailhouse Rock and asks what if the Prison Governor did not want the party that the warden threw. A clever lyric and a great tune coupled with meticulous production were the hallmarks of 10cc. My third selection from the first album is Ships Don’t Just Disappear In The Night (Do They?). A triumph of puns wrapped up in a rock song.

The second album, Sheet Music, was released in 1974 and my selections illustrate the breadth of the album. Hotel is a pastiche that illustrates how you can fit innumerable themes into just under five minutes of pop song. Old Wild Men envisages an old age home for rock stars and Silly Love is a cliché-ridden rock-driven love song. The album also contains the singles The Wall Street Shuffle and The Worst Band In The World that was banned for its opening lyric: It’s one thing to know it/But another to admit/We’re the worst band in the world/But we don’t give a… That was changed to, But we don’t give up to get the airplay.

By the time The Original Soundtrack was released in 1975, 10cc had their biggest hit single. I’m Not In Love is a masterpiece and here is a short documentary about the making of the record. The opening track on the album is a mini-operetta and is cited as the inspiration for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Une Nuit A Paris is once again, full of word-play and soundscapes.

The fragmentations within the band were beginning to show by the time How Dare You! was released in 1976. There were a number of different songs but on the intro of one, 10cc borrowed from one of their own songs from the first album. I’m Mandy, Fly Me uses the bridge from Clockwork Creep as its opening on the album, although it was edited from the single. Inspired by an airline advert the song was said by some (incorrectly) to be a comment on the effects of pills that people could take to alleviate the fear of flying.

Feel The Benefit closes side 2 of the original vinyl album of Deceptive Bends. Written in three parts, it reminds me of my stint with Hospital Radio where, with two copies of the album, we tried to mix parts 1 and 3 together to omit part 2.

The official website of the 10cc touring band

The official 10cc Fan Club

10cc biography (iTunes)

7 studio albums from Godley & Crème between 1977 and 1988, 4 from Eric Stewart in a thirty year period, and then there’s always Hotlegs – and a Graham Gouldman solo album from 1968, if anyone fancies digging deeper into the solo works of 10cc band members.

TopperPost #85

6 Comments

  1. Merric Davidson
    Oct 2, 2013

    I was a 10cc album buyer, first four anyway, and played them a lot. It would probably be termed a ‘guilty pleasure’ these days but I have nothing to hide. Am in agreement with much of Ian’s pick, particularly One Night In Paris, but I’m shouting out loud tonight for The Dean And I, their finest four minutes.

    • Ian Ashleigh
      Oct 2, 2013

      I agonised between Rubber Bullets and The Dean & I, it almost came to the toss of a coin then I listened to them both yet again, and Rubber Bullets got in. If I could have 12 the other 2 would be The Dean & I and Life is a Minestrone. By the way, I wouldn’t class 10cc as a guilty pleasure!

  2. Peter Viney
    Oct 2, 2013

    I was always a singles buyer with 10cc, and never bought the original albums, but from this limited experience I’d add Dreadlock Holiday to a 10cc playlist. OK, the lyrics might cause an issue (or three) but it’s an ear worm. I know it’s from Bloody Tourists, so presumably disqualified, as being only Gouldman/Stewart?

  3. Merric Davidson
    Oct 2, 2013

    Nor would I Ian. And Minestrone is a fine pop song too. 10cc a one off – served up with Parmesan cheese!

  4. Terry Newman
    Oct 3, 2013

    Definitely not a guilty pleasure, I would agree that The Dean And I is one of the finest pop singles and would be somewhere in my Top 10. Sheet Music especially is a gem of an album but I did start to lose interest after How Dare You.

  5. Rick
    Oct 16, 2013

    Great pick! The only songs I would add to your list are ‘Clockwork Creep’ (‘Sheet Music’), ‘People in Love’ and ‘Good Morning Judge’ from the album ‘Deceptive Bends’.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

↓