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10cc, a British pop band achieving its greatest commercial success during the 1970s, initially comprised of four members, Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, who wrote and recorded together for about three years before proceeding with the formation of the band in 1972. The lineup featured two strong songwriting teams who injected their songs with sharp wit and lyrical dexterity. The more commercial team of Stewart and Gouldman were fairly straightforward pop songwriters, who created some of the group's most accessible material. The adventurous members of the band, Godley and Creme, experimented with different styles of music, which brought a distinctive art school sensibility and a more cinematic writing style to the group. All four members were skilled multi-instrumentalists, vocalists, writers and producers and each could perform convincingly as lead singers.
The original lineup recorded four albums and a string of Top 10 singles. The band suffered a split in 1976, when Godley and Creme left to form Godley & Creme, leaving Gouldman and Stewart continually tour and record as 10cc, having a variety of musicians including Rick Fenn, Stuart Tosh, Andrew Gold and Paul McCartney enlisted for each album.The band experienced a nine-year hiatus from 1983, before releasing two more albums. There have been no albums since 1995, although in 2004 Gouldman began touring with several peripheral band members, proposing themselves as 10cc featuring Graham Gouldman and Friends.
First collaborations, 1964-1971:The band's founding members developed intimation in childhood in Manchester, where they grew up. Godley and Creme knew each other as children and Gouldman and Godley attended the same secondary school. Their shared passion for music motivated them for playing at their local Jewish Lads' Brigade in their teens.The first collaboration occurred in 1964, when Graham Gouldman's beat-group band The Whirlwinds recorded a Lol Creme composition, Baby Not Like You. The Whirlwinds then altered both their line-up and name, becoming The Mockingbirds, with Gouldman on vocals and guitar and Kevin Godley former member of The Sabres with Lol Creme recruited as drummer. The Mockingbirds issued five non-charting singles in 1965 and '66 before dissolving.
In June 1967 Godley and Creme reunited and issued a single as The Yellow Bellow Boom Room. In 1969 Gouldman took Godley and Creme to the recording session of the Marmalade label. Label boss Giorgio Gomelsky was amply intimidated by Godley's falsetto to offer him and Creme a recording deal. Godley & Creme recorded a number of basic tracks at Strawberry Studios in September 1969 with Stewart on guitar and Gouldman on bass. The song, I'm Beside Myself from Animal Song, was released as a single credited to Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon.Gomelsky of The Yardbirds, planned to market the team as a duo in the vein of Simon and Garfunkel. Plans for an album by Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon faltered, however, Marmalade ran out of funds.
The original lineup of 10cc, 1972-76:
Undeterred by Apple's rejection, the group decided to plug another song written for Waterfall, a Godley/Creme composition entitled Donna. The song was a Frank Zappa-influenced '50s doo-wop parody, a sharp combination of commercial pop and irony with a chorus sung in falsetto. Stewart told Record Collector: We knew it had something. We only knew of one person who was mad enough to release it, and that was Jonathan King. 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. Donna, released as the first 10cc single, reached No.2 in the UK in September 1972.
In 1992 the original four members reunited for records. Meanwhile, an album was produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame. The album did not spawn any major hits, but was relatively well received in Japan and in Europe. It featured session musicians Jeff Porcaro on drums and Michael Landau on guitars, along with Dr. John on piano and Andrew Gold on guitar. All the album's songs were written by Stewart and Gouldman, with the exception of one track which was co-written by Stewart, Gouldman, and Paul McCartney.After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.The album was not a reunion in the strict sense of the word. Creme and Godley agreed to guest on the album to fulfill their obligation to Polydor both owing an 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.
In 2001 Graham Gouldman released his third solo album, And Another Thing... (his first solo outing had been The Graham Gouldman Thing in 1968). Eric Stewart released a 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. In 2006 Lol Creme joined producers Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson and musicians Chris Braide and Ash Soan to form The Producers. The band began recording its debut album in late 2006 and a single, Barking Up The Right Tree released in August 2007. Both tracks, along with an animated video by Lol Creme, have been released on MySpace.
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 Eric Stewart, who noted the inclusion of a disproportionately high number of Gouldman tracks at the expense of his post-10cc work. Stewart observed: Anyone initially reading the track list could be forgiven for thinking that it should really have been called A History of Graham Gouldman's Musical Associations!By May 2007, Godley and Gouldman's website offered five downloadable tracks, The Same Road, Johnny Hurts, Beautifulloser.com, Hooligan Crane and Son of Man, being the initial offering of a group of songs they have been working on over the past two years.