So Misunderstood: 10cc

You couldn’t imagine how many times I’ve told people that I love 10cc and was met with a look of mixed confusion and disgust.  “Yeech, like that ‘I’m Not In Love’ crap?!”  That’s usually how it goes so, naturally, it’s time that a So Misunderstood feature sets the record straight about these pop geniuses.  That’s right, I said geniuses.

10cc was not the first (or last) band that its four members were in, but it is the most well-known and acclaimed.  In the band’s prime, 10cc’s music featured a potent combination of bubblegum songwriting (generally attributed to the Eric Stewart/Graham Gouldman half of the band) and oddball experimentation (which came from Kevin Godley and Lol Creme).  The diverse song styles, along with the dynamic group vocals, gave each of the band’s first four albums a peerless charm.  Catchy and immediate songs like “Rubber Bullets” and “The Wall Street Shuffle” were contrasted with more adventurous pieces like “Une Nuit A Paris” and “I Wanna Rule The World.”  10cc’s forays into genres such as disco (“Blackmail”) and doo-wop (“Donna”) don’t come across as overreaching; instead, the quartet found something to love about just about any style they thought they could emulate.  Of course, there’s a lot of humor in 10cc’s music, but a lot of tenderness, too.  Yes, “I’m Not In Love” may be overly sappy, but its schmaltz is properly balanced with songs like the sweeping “The Film Of My Love” and the jazzy “Iceberg.”

After 1976’s How Dare You!, Godley and Creme left 10cc to form, well, Godley & Creme.  The duo would continue to not only make incredibly smart and experimental pop but iconic music videos for themselves and their contemporaries.  Stewart and Gouldman carried on under the 10cc name and their first album on their own, 1977’s Deceptive Bends, is actually pretty darn good.  Clearly not wanting to lose the artiness that Godley and Creme brought to the band, Stewart and Gouldman presented some classic 10cc-sounding songs like “Honeymoon With B Troop” and the album’s epic closer, “Feel The Benefit, Parts 1-3.”  Though they scored a handful of hits as a duo, the 10cc of the ’80s lacked the eclecticism that is inherent in a band with so many master musicians. Stewart and Gouldman tried to recapture some of that early magic in 1992, when Godley and Creme each made vocal contributions to …Meanwhile, an otherwise Stewart/Gouldman album.  In 1995, 10cc released what is so far its final album, Mirror Mirror.  Not only didn’t it chart in either England or the United States, it featured a reworking of “I’m Not In Love,” suggesting that the band had run out of ideas.

To this day, the four core members of 10cc perform as solo musicians, though Godley and Gouldman have recently reunited and released new material together.  Eric Stewart releases solo albums on his own label and Lol Creme has worked recently with Trevor Horn (who produced Godley & Creme’s mash-up album The History Mix Part 1) in a project with other musician/producers simply called The Producers.  Gouldman occasionally tours with a version of 10cc that includes several longtime collaborators and sidemen.

Watch: 10cc mime “Rubber Bullets” (from 10cc, 1973) to a very bored-looking crowd on Top Of The Pops

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~ by E. on February 26, 2010.

2 Responses to “So Misunderstood: 10cc”

  1. That fact that most people only know them as the “I’m Not in Love” band makes me want to sink my milk teeth into their thighs!

    I was introduced to 10cc in the middle seventies when a friend played “The Original Soundtrack” for me. I am proud to have been the one to have introduced the author to this incredible and grossly underrated band.

  2. I totally agree. 10cc were a terrific band and I consider “Sheet Music” as being an all-time classic – one of the few albums where I do not skip a single track.

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