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10cc

Deriving their name from the metric total of semen ejaculated by the average male, the tongue-in-cheek British art-pop band 10cc comprised an all-star roster of Manchester-based musicians: Graham Gouldman; Eric Stewart; Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Members: 3
Latest Activity: Aug 27, 2010

10cc were an English art rock band who achieved their greatest commercial success in the 1970s. Initially comprising four musicians — Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme — who had written and recorded together for some three years, before assuming the “10cc” name in 1972.

For the most part, 10cc featured two strong songwriting teams, one 'commercial' and one 'artistic'. Both teams however injected sharp wit to lyrically-dextrous and musically varied songs. Stewart and Gouldman were predominantly pop-song-writers, who created most of the band's accessible songs. By way of contrast, Godley and Creme were the predominantly experimental half of 10cc, featuring an Art School sensibility and cinematic inspired writing. Every member was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, writer, and producer. Most of the band's albums were recorded at their own Strawberry Studios (North) in Stockport, England and Strawberry Studios (South) in Dorking, England. Likewise most of the albums were engineered by Eric Stewart.

The original lineup, 1972-76

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."

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 and Godley, but confirmed in a 1988 interview by Creme, and also on the webpage of Gouldman's current lineup, 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 October 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 June 1973. They consolidated their success a few months later with "The Dean and I", which peaked at No.10 in September. 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). 10CC Wall Street Shuffle Uploaded by riverwood69. - Watch more music videos, in HD!
"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: At that point in time we were still on Jonathan King's label, but struggling. We were absolutely skint, the lot of us, we were really struggling seriously, and Philips Phonogram wanted to do a deal with us. They wanted to buy Jonathan King's contract. I rang them. I said come and have a listen to what we've done, come and have a listen to this track. And they came up and they freaked, and they said "This is a masterpiece. How much money, what do you want? What sort of a contract do you want? We'll do anything, we'll sign it". On the strength of that one song, we did a five-year deal with them for five albums and they paid us a serious amount of money. 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. 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 June 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. Godley stated - “ If I was to pick one track from everything we've done, "I'm Not in Love" would be my favourite. It's got something that none of our other tracks have at all. It's not clever in a conscious way but it says it all so simply in, what, six minutes. ” NME - February 1976 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 January 1976) and "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" (No.6, 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 - Don't Hang Up Uploaded by 10CC. - Watch more music videos, in HD! 10cc - Art For Art's Sake Uploaded by 10CC. - Watch more music videos, in HD! 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. The split, 1976

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, 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, he expressed regret about the band breaking up as they embarked on the Consequences project:

We'd reached a certain crossroads with 10cc and already spent three weeks on the genesis of what turned out to be Consequences ... The stuff that we were coming up with didn't have any home, we couldn't import it into 10cc. And we were kind of constrained by 10cc live ... We felt like creative people who should give ourselves the opportunity to be as creative as possible and leaving seemed to be the right thing to do at that moment. 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 Stewart gave his side of the split:

I was sorry to see them go. But we certainly did fall out at the time. I thought they were crazy. They were just walking away from something so big and successful. We'd had great success around the world and I thought we were just breaking in a very, very big way. The collective dynamite of those four people, four people who could all write, who could all sing a hit song. In one band. (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"), Peter Gabriel's duet with Kate Bush "Don't Give Up", 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.

After the split, 1977-1983

After the departure of Godley and Creme, Stewart and Gouldman opted to continue as 10cc, bringing in to the studio drummer Paul Burgess, who had up to that point been their tour backup drummer. Their first album as a three piece band was Deceptive Bends (1977), named after a sign on the Mickleham bends on the A24 between Leatherhead and Dorking in Surrey. The album, recorded at the newly-completed Strawberry South Studio in Dorking, Surrey, reached No. 3 in Britain and No. 31 in the US and also yielded three hit singles, "The Things We Do For Love" (UK No. 6, US No. 5), "Good Morning Judge" (UK No. 5, US No. 69) and "People In Love" (US No. 40). 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!" In 1977 10cc embarked on an international tour with guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O'Malley and an additional 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. 10cc - Good Morning Judge Uploaded by 10CC. - Explore more music videos. 10cc - The Things We Do For Love Uploaded by 10CC. - Explore more music videos. 10cc - People In Love Uploaded by 10CC. - Explore more music videos. Fenn, Tosh, Burgess and keyboardist Duncan Mackay (who in 1977 made a solo album entitled "Score") were now full members of the band and performed on 1978's Bloody Tourists, which provided the band with their third UK No. 1 single, the reggae-styled "Dreadlock Holiday". It was their last hit, with the second single "Reds In My Bed", featuring lead vocals by Stuart Tosh, failing to chart.


10cc - Dreadlock Holiday
Uploaded by 10CC. - Watch more music videos, in HD!
10cc - Reds In My Bed Uploaded by 10CC. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more. The band suffered a major setback in 1979 when Stewart was seriously injured in a car crash. He told the BBC: It flattened me completely. I damaged my left ear, I damaged my eye very badly. I couldn't go near music. I couldn't go near anything loud and I love music and motor-racing. I had to stay away from both things for a long time, for about six months. And the momentum of this big machine that we'd had rolling slowed and slowed and slowed. And on the music scene, the punk thing had come in a big way. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, lots of things like that. So by the time I was fit again to play, I think we'd just missed the bus. It'd gone. And whatever we did after that, we got a few tickles here and there and we could continue touring forever on the strength of the past hits, but it didn't feel right again, we just didn't have that public with us. Gouldman, too, considered the aftermath of Stewart's accident to be a turning point. In a 1995 BBC interview he said:
Really, after '78 things went downhill for us. I don't know what it was. We'd been doing it for so long, maybe we should have had a break then, rather than in '83 when we did have a break, or brought new blood in or done something. And even as the things were getting bad, we thought, 'Ah, it's gonna be alright, don't worry about it, it'll be great'.

While Stewart recovered, Gouldman recorded the title track to the film Sunburn, which became a minor UK hit in 1979. The band also issued a greatest hits compilation in late 1979 Greatest Hits 1972-1978, and released a single, coupling "I'm Not in Love" with "For You and I", which failed to chart.

Both produced soundtrack albums in 1980 with the help of some of the 10cc band members: Gouldman recorded the soundtrack to the animated film Animalympics, while Stewart produced the soundtrack to the film Girls. The band 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 1980. Only Look Hear? appeared on charts in the UK or US.

Gouldman and Stewart subsequently jettisoned most of the band before returning to the Mercury label to record Ten Out of 10 (1981). Neither the album nor its singles, "Les Nouveaux Riches" and "Don't Turn Me Away", charted.

In a bid to inject an American flavour to the album, Warner Bros. 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."

The band embarked on their 10th anniversary tour in early 1982 and released "The Power of Love", co-written with Andrew Gold, as a single, which did not chart. "Run Away", released as a single in June 1982, reached No.50 in the UK; "We've Heard it all Before" (October 1982) did not chart.

Stewart also released a 1982 solo album Frooty Rooties with participation from Gouldman on one track.

10cc began a U.K. tour in March 1983, coinciding with the release of the single "24 Hours". The song was made available both as a 7" and 10" single, with live versions of "Dreadlock Holiday" and "I'm Not in Love" on the b-sides. It failed to chart, as did a further single, "Feel The Love"/"She Gives Me Pain" issued in July 1983. The duo's next 10cc LP, Windows in the Jungle, (October 1983) used session heavyweights including drummer Steve Gadd, but the album was dominated by Stewart; Gouldman only performed partial lead vocals on one song. It reached No.70 on the U.K. charts. The band toured the U.K. in October, their last tour until they reformed nine years later. Separate projects, 1984-1992 After 1983, the band went into recess as Stewart produced recordings for Sad Café and Gouldman produced tracks for The Ramones before teaming up with Andrew Gold to form the synth-pop group Wax. Stewart continued an association with Paul McCartney. He had already appeared on "Tug of War" in 1982 and "Pipes of Peace" in 1983. During 1984 he appeared in the video for the US single "So Bad" which also featured Ringo Starr and the feature film/soundtrack for "Give My Regards To Broad Street". He then co-wrote much of the Press to Play album (1986). He also produced the album Eyes of a Woman (1985) by Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA. Gouldman, meanwhile, teamed with Andrew Gold to form the duo Common Knowledge, which, after two unsuccessful singles changed their name to Wax. The duo's albums included Magnetic Heaven (1986), American English (1987) and A Hundred Thousand In Fresh Notes. (1989). The duo scored some minimal success including a Spanish No.1 single! Gouldman also assembled and produced the charity single "You'll Never Walk Alone" by The Crowd in aid of the Bradford City stadium fire. Released in 1985, the single reached No.1 in the UK charts. A compilation album "Changing Faces - The Very Best of 10cc and Godley & Creme" was released in 1987 and gave the band their biggest hit album since 1978. A four CD box set, Greatest Songs and More (Great Box) was issued in Japan in 1991, which included many b-sides available on CD for the first time.
10cc reunited, 1992-1995

10cc - Woman In Love Uploaded by 10CC. - Watch more music videos, in HD! In 1992 the original four members reunited to record …Meanwhile, an album produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame. Katz was suggested by the record label Polydor who wanted 10cc to enjoy success in America, and because of his links to Steely Dan - similar sounding 70's band. 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 and Paul McCartney in the late 80's with additional writing from Gouldman). 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". The record label did everything it could to make it appear that it was a genuine reunion album to generate publicity...to little effect.
...Meanwhile did not spawn any major hits, but was relatively well received in Japan and in Europe. It prominently featured session musicians Jeff Porcaro, of Toto fame, on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Michael Landau on lead and rhythm guitar, and Bashiri Johnson on percussion. Also appearing on the album were Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) on piano, David Paich (also of Toto fame) on keyboards, longtime 10cc collaborator Andrew Gold on guitar and many other renowned session musicians and singers. ...Meanwhile is believed to be Porcaro's last session work before he died of a heart attack prompted by a reaction to insecticide. Dr John was recommended by producer Gary Katz and invited along to the sessions.

Gouldman, in a 1995 interview, 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."

The album was followed by a tour in 1993 with members Rick Fenn, Steve Piggot, Stuart Tosh and Gary Wallace returning. This tour was captured on the live album and DVD 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, 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. 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.

Stewart has since commented: "10cc is well and truly finished as far as I am concerned.."

Recent work, 1999-2010

Since 1999 Gouldman has toured as 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 several national tours of the UK and various dates throughout the World playing 10cc hits, plus a section of Gouldman's hits written for others. Their first gig was at Ronnie Scotts jazz club in Birmingham in 1999.

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).

In 2002, an official box set of recordings and rarities was due to be released "30 years of 10cc", but was cancelled before its release.

Stewart released his third solo album, Do Not Bend, in 2003.

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

In a nutshell ...unfinished business. In all the years we’ve known each other we’ve only written three pure, Godley-Gouldman songs. That, and a desire to find out if the music muscle still worked with someone I enjoyed and didn’t have to spend weeks getting to know.

Godley and Gouldman's website currently offers 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.

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 Stewart, who was upset at not being told of its release.

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.[28]

Stewart released his fourth solo album, Viva La Difference, in January 2009.

In early 2009 Graham's 10cc began touring the UK as well as launching their official web-site 10ccworld.com. Another 10cc compilation from Universal Music Group/UMTV , Very Best of 10cc, was released and reached No.39 in the album chart. The band announced it would tour the UK again in late 2010.

In August 2010 10cc featuring Graham Gouldman headline the Sunday bill at Rhythm Festival.

Discography


1973: 10cc
1974: Sheet Music
1975: The Original Soundtrack
1975: 100cc - The Greatest Hits of 10cc
1976: How Dare You!
1977: Deceptive Bends
1977: Live and Let Live
1978: Bloody Tourists
1979: Greatest Hits 1972-1978
1980: Look Hear?
1981: Ten Out of 10
1983: Windows in the Jungle
1987: Changing Faces - The Very Best of 10cc and Godley & Creme
1992: …Meanwhile
1995: Mirror Mirror

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Norma Jean Fox
(11/30/1945-9/7/2010)

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