10cc Biography

The formation of 10cc in 1970 represented the birth of a Manchester, England-based supergroup. The line-up - Eric Stewart (20 January 1945, Manchester, England; vocals/guitar), Lol Creme (b. Lawrence Creme, 19 September 1947, Manchester, England; vocals/guitar), Kevin Godley (b. 7 October 1945, Manchester, England; vocals/drums) and Graham Gouldman (b. 10 May 1946, Manchester, England; vocals/guitar) - boasted years of musical experience stretching back to the mid-60s. Stewart was a former member of both Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders and the Mindbenders; Gouldman had played in the Mockingbirds and written many hits for such artists as Herman’s Hermits, the Yardbirds, the Hollies and Jeff Beck; Godley And Creme had worked in various session outfits, including Hotlegs, which spawned 10cc.

After working with Neil Sedaka, the 10cc ensemble launched their own recording career in 1972 on Jonathan King’s UK label with the 50s doo-wop pastiche ‘Donna’. The song reached number 2 in the UK chart, spearheading a run which continued almost uninterrupted until the end of the decade. 10cc specialized in reinterpreting pop’s great tradition by affectionately adopting old styles and introducing them to new teenage audiences. At the same time, their wit, wordplay and subtle satire appealed to an older audience, who appreciated mild irony, strong musicianship and first-rate production. The chart-topping ‘Rubber Bullets’, the high school romp ‘The Dean And I’, the sardonic ‘The Wall Street Shuffle’, the zestful ‘Silly Love’ and the mock-philosophical ‘Life Is A Minestrone’ were all delightful slices of 70s pop and among the best singles of their time. In 1975, the band achieved their most memorable hit with the tragi-comic UK chart-topper ‘I’m Not In Love’, a song that also brought them success in the USA. The band continued its peak period with the mischievous ‘Art For Arts Sake’ and the bizarre travelogue, ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’, before internal strife undermined their progress. In 1976, the quartet split in half with Godley And Creme pursuing work in video production and as a recording duo.

Stewart and Gouldman retained the 10cc tag and recruited drummer Paul Burgess to help record Deceptive Bends, which featured further UK hits with the over-sweetened ‘The Things We Do For Love’ and the facile ‘Good Morning Judge’. Additional members Rick Fenn (guitar), Stuart Tosh (drums) and Tony O’Malley (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up, with the new six-piece band’s major tour captured on the double set Live And Let Live. O’Malley was replaced by Duncan Mackay for the recording of Bloody Tourists, which featured the mock-reggae UK chart-topper ‘Dreadlock Holiday’. It is generally agreed that the latter-day 10cc’s recordings lacked the depth, invention, humour and charm of the original line-up, and the hits ceased altogether after 1982’s ‘Run Away’ barely scraped into the UK Top 50. Stewart and Gouldman elected to pursue other ventures following the release of 1983’s Windows In The Jungle. The former produced Sad Café and collaborated with Paul McCartney, while the more industrious Gouldman produced Gilbert O’Sullivan and the Ramones before forming the duo Wax, with Andrew Gold.

10cc was resurrected in 1992 for the lacklustre ... Meanwhile, an album which came about after Gouldman and Stewart began writing songs with each other after a long break. Godley and Creme joined in during the recording sessions, although they did not participate in any writing. The moderate reception the album received indicated that a full-scale reunion was not on the cards, and the band’s subsequent live album was a reunion that sounded as though Stewart and Gouldman were doing it as penance. One further album limped out in 1995 before the 10cc name was put on hold once more. Despite these abortive attempts at a reunion, the 10cc back catalogue continues to be highly respected.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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