Wednesday, July 18, 2012

40 Year Itch : The Birth Of 10cc

                               L to R: Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme


In July of 1972 British entrepreneur and recording artist Jonathan King signed songwriter extraordinaire Graham Gouldman and his friends former Mindbender Eric Stewart, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley to a long sought after record deal. The four mates had been recording together for three years,  playing mostly bubblegum tunes for Kasentz-Katz under a variety of assumed names. As the Ohio Express ( yes, impersonating the same "band" that recorded "Yummy, Yummy,Yummy"), they recorded the Billboard charting "Sausalito" in 1969 with Graham singing lead.


 As Hotlegs, they had a #2 UK hit in 1970 called "Neaderthal Man" and released an album called Hotlegs Thinks School Stinks. The album contains moments of stunning beauty like "All God's Children".


 In 1970 they recorded "Umbopo" as Doctor Father. Among other names they recorded as : Crazy Elephant, Silver Fleet, Fighter Squadron and Festival.

Obviously the band knew they could write hit songs. Gouldman had written "For Your Love" (The Yardbirds) "Bus Stop", "Look Through Any Window" (both by The Hollies) and "No Milk Today" (Herman's Hermits). And yet they found themselves backing other musicians. They played on two Neil Sedaka albums including The Tra La La Days Are Over which featured a little song called "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Little Brother".

According to Eric Stewart a momentous decision was made where all momentous decisions are made--at 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."

 In early '72, the band cut "Waterfall" and presented it to Apple Records who turned it down.Not commercial enough.
Determined, the band followed it up with the doo-wop inspired "Donna".


 "We knew it had something. We only knew of one person who was mad enough to release it, and that was Jonathan King." Stewart recalled. At the time King was a hit making entrepreneur who sold three million copies of "Hooked On a Feeling" before Blue Swede copied the ooga-chakka arrangements for their hit in 1974. King drove over to the studio and heard a hit. He signed the band and dubbed them 10cc. Why 10cc? Though some band members disagree, Gouldman and Creme say 10cc is the average about of semen ejaculated by men.

10cc would go on to great success ( and become one of my favorite bands) especially in the UK where their 1975 single "I'm Not In Love" went #1 (#2 in the US blocked from #1 in three successive weeks by Van McCoy's "The Hustle", The Eagles's "One of These Nights" and Bee Gees's "Jive Talkin'".)

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