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: vocalist/guitarist Graham Gouldman was a former member of the Mockingbirds and the author of hits for the Yardbirds, the Hollies, Herman's Hermits and Jeff Beck; singer/guitarist Eric Stewart was an alum of Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders; and vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were both highly regarded studio players.
Formed in 1970, 10cc began as a session unit dubbed Hotlegs; after establishing residence at Stewart's Strawberry Studios, Hotlegs scored a surprise U.K. smash with the single "Neanderthal Man," subsequently issuing an LP, Thinks: School Times and touring with the Moody Blues. After signing to Jonathan King's U.K. label and rechristening themselves 10cc (a name suggested by King himself), the group backed Neil Sedaka before recording 1972's "Donna," a sly satire of late-'50s doo wop.
The single reached the number two position on the British charts, establishing not only a long-running string of major hits, but also the quartet's fondness for ironic and affectionate reclamations of musty pop styles. The follow-up, "Rubber Bullets," topped the charts in 1973, and both the subsequent single "The Dean and I" (a nostalgic look at academia recalling Jerry Lee Lewis’ "High School Confidential") and an eponymously titled debut LP further solidified 10cc as a major force in British pop.
While 1974's Sheet Music and singles, including the Brian Wilson-esque "Wall Street Shuffle," "Silly Love" and "Life Is a Minestrone" continued 10cc's dominance of the U.K. charts, they found the American market virtually impenetrable prior to the release of 1975's "I'm Not in Love," which topped the charts at home and climbed as high as number two in the States.
After 1975's Original Soundtrack and the next year's How Dare You!, Godley and Creme exited to focus on video production as well as developing the Gizmo, a guitar modification device the duo invented. In the wake of their departure, Gouldman and Stewart continued on alone, enlisting the aid of session men to record 1977's Deceptive Bends, highlighted by the perennial "The Things We Do for Love."
After recruiting guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O’Malley and drummer Stuart Tosh as full-time members, 10cc returned in 1978 with Bloody Tourists, which yielded the number one reggae nod "Dreadlock Holiday." Following a series of unsuccessful efforts, including 1980s Look Hear?, 1981's 10 Out of 10 and 1983's Window in the Jungle, the group disbanded; while Stewart produced Sad Cafe and worked with Paul McCartney, Gouldman supervised recordings for the Ramones and Gilbert O’Sullivan before joining Andrew Gold in the duo Wax.
In 1992, the original line-up of 10cc reunited for the LP Meanwhile, while only Gouldman and Stewart remained for 1993's Mirror Mirror. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
For The Record
Members include Paul Burgess (unofficially joined group as tour drummer, 1973), drums; LolCrème (born Lawrence Crème on September 19, 1947, in Manchester, England; left group, 1976), guitar, vocals; Rick Fenn (joined group, 1977), guitar;Kevin Godley (born on October 7, 1945; left group, 1976), drums, vocals; Graham Gouldman (born on May 10, 1945, in Manchester, England), bass, vocals; Tony O'Malley (joined group, 1977), keyboards; Duncan Mackay (joined group, 1978), keyboards; Stephen Pigott (joined group for tour, 1993), keyboards; Eric Stewart (born January 20, 1945, in Manchester, England), guitar, vocals; Stuart Tosh (joined group, 1977), drums, vocals; Gary Wallis (joined group for tour, 1993), drums.
Stewart and Gouldman became members of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, 1966; Stewart, Godley, and Crème form band Hotlegs and record number-two U.K. single "Neanderthal Man" on Fontana Label, 1970; Gouldman joined Hotlegs for tour supporting Moody Blues, 1970; Hotlegs used as studio and backup band for Neil Sedaka's Solitaire album and subsequent tour, 1971; 10cc signed by Jonathon King's U.K. label, 1972; first single, "Donna," charted at number two in U.K., 1972; released debut album, 10cc, 1973; "Rubber Bullets" single reached number one in U.K., 1973; released Sheet Music, 1974; released Original Soundtrack on Mercury label, 1975; released How Dare You!, 1976; Crème and Godley left group to pursue career as musical duo and market Gizmo musical instrument, 1976; Stewart and Gouldman recorded Deceptive Bends with hit single "The Things We Do for Love," 1977; Stewart and Gouldman hired Paul Burgess, Rick Fenn, Tony O'Malley, and Stuart Tosh, 1977; Duncan Mackay hired as keyboardist, 1978; released Bloody Tourist, 1978; original lineup of Crème, Godley, Stewart, and Gouldman reunite for album …Meanwhile, 1992; Stewart and Gouldman re-formed 10cc without Godley and Crème for album Mirror Mirror and Japanese tour, 1993.
The singles were collected on the group's 1973 self-titled first album, a recording that, according to Jonathon King in the liner notes for the reissue of their first two albums, "made many converts. They were literate, witty, tongue in cheek but musically superb. At that stage they reflected the past magic of groups like the Beach Boys yet added a whole new lyrical dimension of their own." 10cc toured to support the first album, appearing at the Isle of Man in August of 1973 with drum support from Paul Burgess.
10cc's second album, Sheet Music, was considered another step forward for the group in terms of artistic growth. Singles such as "Wall Street Shuffle" and "Silly Love" increased the band's popularity, while the song "Worst Band in the World" was refused airplay for its cynical portrayal of rock stardom and its hedonistic urges. The album is often considered a classic of the early 1970s in terms of production and songwriting. According to King: "This album was, and is, I still believe, a pop classic. It contains incredible brightness and sparkle which emerged effortlessly, almost without trying."
Following the first two albums, 10cc failed to capitalize on the overwhelming positive reviews they had received from the American rock press. They abandoned UK Records and signed with Mercury/Phonogram, releasing Original Soundtrack in 1975. Featuring the Stewart and Gouldman composition "I'm Not in Love," the album became a major American hit. According to Stewart, the song involved 16 recordings each of three different voices, creating an eerie production quality that serves as an ironic commentary on the lyrics.
The group's fourth album, How Dare You!, contained the modestly successful singles "I'm Mandy Fly Me" and "Art for Art's Sake." Declaring that the "music is so blazingly bright, the songs so brashly witty, and the effect so cumulative" in a Phonograph Record review, critic Bud Scoppa noted: "Every song on How Dare You! is gem-hard, multi-faceted, and informed by some delicious irony…. The group is all the more impressive because—unlike Beefheart or Steely Dan—it holds itself rigidly within the stylistic parameters of pop."
10cc, UK, 1973.
Sheet Music, UK, 1974.
100cc, UK, 1975.
Greatest Hits, Mercury, 1975.
Original Soundtrack, Mercury/Phonogram, 1975.
How Dare You!, Mercury/Phonogram, 1976.
Deceptive Bends, Mercury/Phonogram, 1977.
Live and Let Live, Mercury/Phonogram, 1977.
Bloody Tourists, Mercury/Phonogram, 1978.
Greatest Hits 1972-1978, Mercury, 1979.
Look Hear?, Warner Bros., 1980.
10 out of 10, Mercury/Phonogram, 1981.
10cc in Concert, Pickwick, 1982.
Windows in the Jungle, Mercury/Phonogram, 1983.
Two Classic Albums by 10cc: 10cc and Sheet Music, DCC, 1990.
…Meanwhile, Polydor, 1992.
Mirror Mirror, Avex/Critique, 1995.
King Biscuit Flower Hour, King Biscuit, 1996.
10cc: Alive in Japan, Castle/Sanctuary, 2002.
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection, Universal Music Group, 2002.
Source: Jason Ankeny, http://www.artistsdirect.com/, Bruce Walker
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