Monday, 31 July 2017

10cc: Non-Album Songs Part Two (1981-2006)

You can now buy 'Memories - The Alan's Album Archives Guide To The Music Of 10cc' in e-book form by clicking here!

Non-Album Recordings Part #11: 1981

While 10cc's albums were released on the Mercury label in most of Europe, over in America they were on Warner Brothers - a curious side effect of the management fiasco that saw the band's managers changing a plan that the band had agreed on while they were all away on holiday in order to make 'more money'. Mercury had done better out of 10cc in general and 'I'm Not In Love' in particular and weren't too fussed about the fall in sales but Warner Brothers were. So they ordered the band to re-think their just-submitted LP 'Ten Out Of Ten' with the help of a young hot-shot they thought would be on a similar cerebral level. Actually their choice of Andrew Gold was a better idea than it sounds and both sides brought something out of the other - Andrew brought some much needed enthusiasm into a band that was becoming a little stale, while Eric and Graham taught Gold how to reign in his slightly more OTT qualities. In total the band made four  recordings together before Gold returned to his own career, with three of them appearing on the 'Ten Out Of Ten' record and additionally two appeared as A-sides and two as B-sides. The first to be released was [112] 'Tomorrow's World Today' which first appeared as the flipside of 'Don't Turn Me Away'. A cheeky eccentric Gouldman song in the 'Sheet Music' mould, it couldn't have sounded less like Eric's earnest A-side. It's kind of a plea to the band's fanbase that things have got to change because music is forever evolving, sung by Graham with a wild-eyes stare that suggests he's right on board (Eric, less happy about being what to do and who to work with, also turns in some genuinely exciting guitar bursts in the background). Sadly the lyric soon becomes a 'list' song, with people of yesteryear ('Howard Hughes and Blue Suede Shoes') and things that used to seem science-fiction but which are 'normal' by 1981 standards ('micro-chips and sci-fli games, transplants, sperm banks and body scanners') set against each other. Fittingly the arrangement is a clever mis-mash of the retro 50s rockabilly style and the then-current new wave trend of blaring twinkly keyboards. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Ten Out Of Ten'  

The most potmodernist 10cc song since 'The Worst Band In The World' and 'SSSSSilly Love' , this similar Gouldman-Gold collaboration [  ] 'We've Heard It All Before!' has Graham trying to fit 'my life into three minute symphonies' and struggling to come up with something that isn't clichéd by the end of the record. The title seems a tad mean, given that 10cc had never quite sounded the way they did in 1981, it is however exactly what the record company asked for: a more '10cc' sounding song reborn for the modern age. Sadly the modern age then was the 1980s and the Wax-style synths date this song very badly (you really have heard songs like this by now, many many times, though that wasn't true in 1981) but the song underneath all this is sound and the most genuinely funny 10cc release in some time. production hi-jinks allows Graham to move 'from mono to stereo' while complaining that 'Mozart would be shocked by the crap on the radio!' Andrew himself guests on the chorus as he tries to croon, Lol 'SSSSilly Love' style', only to get laughed off the record with the cry 'we've heard it all before!' Perhaps too little too late to reverse 10cc's fortunes (the single missed the charts everywhere, outperformed by the 'proper' album singles 'Les Nouveaux Riches' and 'Don't Turn Me Away') and not a patch on what the heartfelt emotional complex songs the band were making in their 'day job' but an intriguing curio nonetheless. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Ten Out Of Ten'  

The next 'Gold' flop single - if that's not an oxymoron - [  ] 'The Power Of Love' was a more traditional ballad. No, this is  not the Huey Lewis or even the Frankie Goes To Hollywood single but arguably a better song written between the two members of 10cc and Andrew Gold. A slinky, sultry song turns more uptempo as Eric sings about just how overpoweringly massive love can be even though it's often dismissed as something light and silly. Eric sings about getting 'hooked', how 'life can never be the same' once you've felt the pull and tug and how differently he views the world afterwards. A middle eight has Graham waiting to be served in a restaurant when he spies the waitress and 'forgets all about the food!' The instrumental, though, is pure Andrew Gold - synth sound effects that couldn't be more 1980s if they came with a perm and shoulder pads. An interesting song in asmuch as it sounds very like the serious songs Eric was writing in this period about 'making the most about life' and 'there is nothing more important than love', but it's done in a very old-fashioned 10cc way with a very poppy feel about it. The two things don't quite fit together and the song is more forgettable than the other tracks Eric was pouring his heart out on in this period, but it's another overlooked minor gem from the period. Find it on: 'Tenology' (2012) and the CD re-issue of 'Ten Out Of Ten'

The 'odd one out' of the quartet of Andrew Gold recordings, [  ] 'You're Coming Home Again' is arguably the best despite only ever being released as a B-side (to 'Power Of Love'). A gorgeous Eric Stewart ballad right up there with his best, the narrator sits at home alone wondering when his baby is going to 'come home again'. The enforced loneliness has made him realise for the first time just how much his lover means to him and how desperate he is to have her in his life, as he vows to make up for every quarrel they've ever had. It's hard not to see this track, especially with the 'Windows In The Jungle' songs on the horizon, as a delayed response to the car crash that nearly killed him in 1979 and left him alone in a hospital ward re-evaluating his life and priorities. The other songs all have Eric vowing that he's realised something big and to make amends, but this is the most heartbreaking apology of them all as Eric apologises for everything he got wrong and tries so hard to make a difference, with a typically gorgeous guitar solo - perhaps the best ever use of his natural 'clarity' style - cutting through the song with warmth and guilt. Eric's vocal too is beautiful, reaching a peak in the last verse when instead of hanging his head again sadly he soars, holding the line 'I love you soooooooooo' as if he's never ever going to let go ever again. Superb. The best 10cc B-side wince 'Waterfall' and even by the high standards of the 'Ten Out Of Ten' LP one of the very best things recorded in this period. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Ten Out Of Ten'  

Godley-Creme seem unlikely to be the sort of people to give into record company needs themselves, but that's what [  ] 'The Power Behind The Throne' sounds like, the commercial new-version-with-lyrics of the previous year's B-side 'Submarine'. Oddly enough, it's this track that sounds like it's more about a 'submarine' with a vessel going down and 'all hands on deck' a metaphor for a romance that's going wrong ('I'm sick of dodging rolling pins, I want some loving instead!') Godley's hen-pecked narrator passes all power over to his missus and declares her 'the power behind the throne' but it makes no difference - this 'real bossy woman' still rules with a fist of iron. The closest Godley-Creme ever get to aping the reggae style of their former band's new style (on 'Dreadlock Holiday' et al), it's actually a lot more inventive than the better received A-side 'Under Your Thumb'. Listen out for a voice shouting out 'World War Two!' at the start of the track, for no apparent reason (unless of course Clementine Churchill or Eva Braun had more impact on their husband's politics than we've long assumed). Find it on: 'Images' ( 1993) and the CD re-issue of 'Ismism'

You don't tend to think of 10cc as a 'sexy' and yet two of the most horny, outrageous and kinky tracks in the entire AAA canon are theirs. Godley-Creme wrotethe eye-opening mastubatory tribute 'Headroom' for 'How Dare You!' in 1976 and followed it up with the  equally risque B-side [  ] 'Babies'. 'I'm not a building, but you erect me' deadpans Godley as he tries to woo a girl into bed, promising not to love her forever but to have children together. My guess is this weird song started out as an attempt to make a sequel to 'Neanderthal Man' (by now over a decade old) - it's a very percussion-heavy backing at roughly the same speed just on 1980s instruments and the lyrics are more spoken rather than sung. Both also touch on the 'purity' of cavemen love and lust being the only reason any of us are here at all. Some of the lines are hilarious: 'Last time we did it I was shy' sighs Godley, 'But this time I'm not going to miss the target, I'm going to score a bulls-eye!' Lol's intense throbbing guitar part is pretty darn great too. Whether coincidental or not, the coupling of this B-side with the A-side 'Wedding Bells' seems an entirely natural pairing somehow. Far more inventive and way funnier than anything on the 'Ismism' album, this song will either haunt your dreams or your nightmares, or more likely both.  Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Ismism'. 

Non-Album Recordings Part #12: 1982

The only 10cc release in 1982 was the sweet single [110] 'Run Away', an Eric Stewart ballad that could have easily slotted on as part of either 'Ten Out Of Ten' or 'Windows In The Jungle'. Eric is still kicking himself for letting someone important walk out of his life and it all feels so unreal, as if he's in a 'dream'. The kinder, softer companion song to 'Don't Ask' from the previous album, it's at one with Eric's other songs about only now realising how precious a loved one is to him. The song is sweet, with a typically golden Eric vocal mixing love with humility and there's a nice return to the 'I'm Not I Love' choir of 'ahhhh's in the background vocals. There are some nice lyrics too, Eric apologising for being 'backward ain coming forward' and again admitting that, 'SSSSilly Love' and 'I'm Not In Love' style, that cliches 'won't cut it' compared to the depth of his feelings. This song needs a little something else to make it truly stand out though - a middle eight or a solo or something. Find it on: 'Tenology' (2012) and the CD re-issue of 'Ten Out Of Ten'

While Stewart is lamenting over his past, Godley and Creme are predicting the future on [  ] 'Welcome To Breakfast Television', the art concept B-side to 'Save A Mountain For Me'. It's a superior version of the sing-songy tune from 'Joey's Camel' from 'Ismism' but this time there is no escape - the new breakfast television channel is there to hypnotise us into surrender instead. If this song had been released in this day and age Godley-Creme would surely be laughing at 'The One Show' because that's what they're really getting at here - the stupidity of sticking things that don't fit together and then treating them as wallpaper background television no one is watching anyway.  'It's been put together with money and love - and only ten commercial breaks!' laughs Godley at one stage. perhaps best not to remind the couple of how much breakfast telly they'll be doing to promote their 'Goodbye Blue Sky' album in 1988...An odd track that's more like the first two Godley-Creme albums; conceptually brilliant but a drag to listen to with nothing really musical here. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Birds Of Prey' 

Non-Album Recordings Part #13: 1983

 [122] 'She Gives Me Pain' (B-side of 'Feel The Love') is a return to the quirky instrumentals of the early 10cc years - which is rather fitting given that we're getting near the end of days now. Unfortunately, like those early singles, it all feels rather pointless - surely this killer riff and nicely flowing chord changes could have been turned into something really good with some lyric, any lyric! (Perhaps especially the lyrics suggested by the intriguing title, which could fit with either the BDSM vibe of 'Shock On The Tube' and 'Exclamation Marks!!!' or the heartbreak of the songs on 'Ten Out Of Ten' and 'Windows In The Jungle'). Without them the track sounds a bit 'so what?' and I can't shake off the nagging feeling that I've spent more time writing about this track than the band did making it. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Windows In The Jungle' (wow, there's actually a CD version of 'Windows', I still can't believe it!)

[123] 'The Secret Life Of Henry' is very nearly the last thing 10cc released pre-break up, on the back of the flop single 'Food For Thought' (though the very final release was an edit of '24 Hours' with a repeat of 'Dreadlock Holiday' on the back). It's a fitting end, characteristically ambitious, gut-wrenchingly moving and quite funny in a sad sort of a way. The track sounds as if it was very much intended for the 'Windows In The Jungle' LP, starting off with the same jungle/birdsong/footsteps sound effects and following a similar message to '24 Hours'. A sleepy couple of Erics open their windows to greet a 'brand new day', still very much asleep, with the echoes of their dreams and what their life could be flickering through their sleepy heads as man and wife kiss each other goodbye and head for work. Suddenly a minute in we get a manic, ugly guitar riff that rushes us off to work and tells the tale of poor Henry, a typically hapless character for whom everything goes wrong. The pace is non-stop and Henry never gets time to reflect on what, as a human being, his duty should be (his dreams and what he can offer life), instead of what, as an employee, he's made to offer. Henry is 'schizophrenic', pulled in two between his dreams and his nightmare reality and he gets worse, turning grumpy when he reads the paper, grabbing the glory and trying to 'crucify you' at work and looking up his secretary's skirt. Pushed to the point of desperation by ten years of monotony with no promotion, he sits in the bar dreaming about the day he can run off with the company's money but the time ticks away in the bar and he forces himself to rush back to work in a mad panic, worried about being late. A furious guitar-saxophone duel, similar to the one on 'The Anonymous Alcoholic', drives the song forward before a similar finale where he passes out, drunk, on the office floor. It's a life-changing moment - and yet you get the feeling that it's happened before, most days in fact. 'Hello darling, how's your day been?' croons one of the Erics to the other. 'Can't complain dear' he replies, knowing he's trapped, 'Same as usual!' while the birds of his dreams call softly in the background. A much under-rated song, even for this period of 10cc, this is a stunning way to say goodbye, at least the first time round. Find it on: the CD re-issue of 'Windows In The Jungle' (1983)
Non-Album Recordings Part #14: 1984

Everybody knows 'Under My Thumb' 'Wedding Bells' and Cry', but nobody except the really committed Godley-Creme fans know about the single released in the middle,  'Golden Boy'. This, dear readers, is one of the greatest tragedies in the book, because while the other singles are great this flop single is their masterpiece. It's everything the pair have been working towards and trying to make their own for so long - progressive use of cold synthesisers back when they were still new, a gorgeous warm emotional lyric over the top mixing jealousy and fate and a terrific use of guest stars such as the backing singers who both soothe and taunt Kevin Godley's heartbroken narrator. Like a lot of the best Godley-Creme songs (their joint work anyway, if not their 10cc stuff) it's a defensive song about being passed over for somebody everyone else thinks is better, brighter and more talented while the duo do everything they can to prove 'them' wrong. Usually in the hands of Godley and Creme this turns into anger (see 'Punchbag' and 'Wide Boy' especially), but this song is more like a sad trial run for the later 'Cry'. Godley is off in the corner, watching the great love of his life throw her love away on 'the great pretender' and wondering why she doesn't feel 'pins and needles' from him when he loves her so much more than the clearly acting 'Goldenboy'. The chorus of harmonies falling sighs on the simple chorus 'Goldenboy', which cries itself to sleep, is one of the prettiest moments in the Godley-Creme catalogue even though the song is an ugly one, about jealousy and coming off second best. The angry stabbing Creme synthesisers are perfectly cast too, defensive rather than aggressive and howling empty threats of things to come that the girl just ignores. Even though the song has the backing girls warn 'all that glitters isn't gold', you know she'll never listen and that her true love will be watching it fall apart just as he said it would.  A remarkably song, more from the heart than the brain compared to most Godley-Creme releases, which together with a stunning video (in which a video literally 'plays' the song via a moving 3D hologram projection, which by 1985 standards was even more mind-bogglingly creative than 'Cry') is arguably the pair's masterpiece whatever the sales figures say. Sadly most fans only know it as a bonus track on the end of the generally unlistenable 'History Mix' CD and most people don't get that far. 'My Body The Car' was the B-side by the way. Find it on: 'History Mix Volume One' (CD Re-Issue)

Over on the Graham Gouldman side of the 10cc multiverse, Wax were making their aborted debut under the name 'World In Action'. Taking the 'Hotlegs' view that eventually one of these songs would be a hit, Graham and his new writing partner Andrew Gold kept releasing singles until one of them - 'Ball and Chain' - finally started doing well. To be honest you can see why the soppy poppy 'Don't Break My Heart' didn't chart. The drums are the loudest thing on the record and the track is low on subtlety with Gold singingan OTT lead vocal, while the lyrics aren't exactly original (they basically boil down to 'be nice to me because I love you and we had a great kiss last night'). The walking melody is rather cute though. Find it on: the 1998 Wax rarities compilation ''

The Gouldman-Gold sequel was the more memorable is equally unoriginal 'Victoria', released under the name 'Common Knowledge'. One of the better songs from an entire debut album that got shelved, it's like a first try-out for Wax's stunning 'Marie Claire', a track about a feminine heroine who is ignored by everyone else. The narrator says Victoria has been 'good' and 'bad' to him but he's willing to give her a second chance because he only wants to do good by her. It's a shame the band had to invite what sounds like a complete kitchen sink of effects that rather distract the ear on what is at heart a sweet and simple song and this song is so 1980s it hurts modern ears, in every way possible. There's a sweet song in here somewhere though and it's not too much a stretch to imagine this song becoming a hit and Wax choosing to stick with the name 'Common Knowledge'. Find it on: the 1998 Wax rarities compilation ''

Non-Album Recordings Part #15: 1985

Released as the B-side of a remixed 'Golden Boy', 'Light Me Up!' is the song that can be heard as the basis for the 'Wet Rubber Soup' bit of Godley-Creme's 'History Mix' and thus shares the rather unusual distinction of the extended, messed-around version being far more common than the original. A Motown/soul parody high on the innuendo stakes with Godley's love a burning cigarette, this is a lesser 'Wedding Bells' but it does feature some interesting, umm, colouring: an ugly six note synth riff, a lit cigarette and backing singers brought to a climax of orgasm several times across the song (you can hear this much more on the 'History Mix' version where the screams lead into a killer live version of 'Second Sitting For The Last Supper'. Though far from Godley-Creme at their best, this track may well be Godley-Creme at their most, well, Godley-Creme: it's the one song from their canon that mixes the atonal art school vibe and their commercial Motown ear. You wish the band had concentrated on one over the other though - the two together just don't mix. Find it: as a CD bonus track on 'The History Mix Volume One'

[  ] 'Love Bombs' was the even more unlistenable B-side to 'Cry'. The track sounds like 'Neanderthal Man' on speed, with lots of thrashing wild percussion and sound effects and not much of a tune while Godley murmurs random words over the top ('Can't get it...Can!') before a whole room full of people suddenly call 'Love Bombs!' It's not a patch on the sexy, sultry, comedy vibe of 'Babies' and really isn't worth your time tracking down (it's one of the few tracks in this book not to have appeared on CD) but would have been hailed as a masterpiece if someone like Madonna had released it. Find it on: 'Cry' (the original single)

Non-Album Recordings Part #16: 1988

Godley-Creme's final LP 'Goodbye Blue Sky' was their biggest concept work of all, about the destruction of the world to the sound of a million mouthorgans and a doo-wop quartet. The B-sides taken from the album singles, though, have a very different vibe andare clearly individual songs that didn't fit rather than bits of the concept that got chopped off.  'Rhino Rhino' is the funniest and perhaps the most 10cc of all the duo's post-band songs, telling the sweet tale of the title character and the 'two tonnes of hay' he eats every mealtime as he decides to wander off down a main road. Mankind, for all their supposed technological superiority, can't move him for love or money (or hay). The backing is as suitably dense, strong and stubborn as the animal, while Godley indulges in some fine vocal acrobatics, clearly having fun compared to the intensity of the main album sessions. You can tell why this didn't make the album, but in truth it's way more fun than the too-earnest A side. Find it on: 'A Little Piece Of Heaven' (original single)

Oddly the debut single's other 'freebie' was [  ] 'Bits Of Blue Sky', a selection of ten second long extracts from 'Goodbye Blue Sky' strung together. This was the first time most fans would have heard the record and it doesn't really leave them much reason to buy the whole thing as most of the key 'plot points' of the album are here. It kinds works as a mini-update to the 'History Mix' though and doesn't cause quite the same sense of dizzyness with tracks rammed on top of each other when they clearly won't fit, although if you own the album (and if you don't you should) then this is pointless. Bizarrely this compilation was revived for the Godley-Creme 'Images' compilation, even though none of the actual songs from the record made the album. Find it on: 'A Little Piece Of heaven' (original single) and 'Images' (1993)

[  ] 'Hidden Heartbeat' is one last encore for the gizmo which backs a typically period-glossy love song that finds Kevin on fine voice. Godley so wants his love to hear what he's trying to say and the hidden messages in his words with his loved one and adds a 'hidden heartbeat' to every word he sends. The middle changes though - presumably he's got a response by now and sighs 'there's no hidden heartbeats there'. By the last verse things have gone wrong but he still feels love and a 'hidden heartbeat' when he thinks of his loved one. Though the track is missing that wonderful Godley-Creme originality, it's a far better 'pop song' than 'A Little Piece Of heaven' and features just enough aggression to avoid becoming too soppy, thanks to a churning Lol guitar solo and a relentless drum pattern that sounds like a heart running a little bit too fast.   Find it on: '10,000 Angels' (original single)

Non-Album Recordings Part #17: 1992

[ ] 'Man With A Mission' fits in completely with the parent 'Meanwhile...' album - it's an ugly song using ugly synthesisers about an ugly character playing power games sung by Eric in an ugly variation on his usual voice. However, unlike a good three-quarters of that record, it sounds as if Eric is genuinely enjoying himself and he pours a lot more energy into the lead than most of the album. His guitarwork is pretty funky too, although he's outshone by a grungy Graham Gouldman part and some classic backing vocals between the two old friends who have rarely sounded more together (while, ironically, in real life never growing further apart). There's a fine harmonica solo too which sounds like it's wondered in from Godley-Creme's 'Goodbye Blue Sky' LP (where you can't move for stray harmonica solos all the way through). At first the lyric starts off as a man who has everything, but the trouble with climbing your way to power is that other people want to climb over you and Eric warns his character not to get too comfy on his throne and to 'open your eyes'. While no classic not bad either, considering the vintage - 'Meanwhile...' is long overdue a CD re-issue and when and if there is one this track more than deserves to be on it somewhere.  Find it on: 'Woman In Love' CD single (1992)

[  ] 'Don't' is Graham's only lead vocal across the whole of the 1992 album sessions, so it seems a bit cruel to relegate it to B-side status. In truth though this sloppy and rather boring love song is more like a 'Wax' song than a 10cc one, with its twinkling poppy keyboards and comedy 'don't!'s shouted every other line. Only the reggae makes it sound like a 10cc song and to be honest the watered-down 10cc brand of reggae is a good decade past it's sell by date by now. Still, Graham's in good voice - on the lines where he isn't drowned out by the backing chorus - and his cry of denial everytime he fears his lover is about to walk away from him does make for a neat sequel to 'I'm Not In Love'. Find it on: the 'Welcome To Paradise' CD single (1992)

[  ] 'Lost In Love' is more like it! Eric returns to the turbulence of his love-life in the early 1980s as he sings about being in too far with an intense relationship and struggling to fight his way to the surface. The narrator keeps on swimming forward though, knowing that the couple just have to be 'together' despite the new waves of grief and disputes that keep coming. You could argue that the lyric is as much about Eric and Graham as between a couple though and taken in that light sounds as if it's being sung through gritted teeth - the pair are tied together forever even though they've gone in two very different directions.  The poppy chorus is less impressive than the more soulful verse and the pretty middle eight, but no matter - Eric's equally gritty vocal and guitar get the band out of trouble. The real mystery isn't why the narrator keeps trying to swim while he's drowning (fighting on against the odds is a tradition for 10cc characters after all) but why this fine and expressive (albeit noisy) song didn't make it onto the parent album either when it's second only to 'Shine A Light In The Dark'. The original CD single is hard to find nowadays but then so is the album - again, a re-issue with this on the back sometime would be great. Find it on: the 'Welcome To Paradise' CD single (1992)

Non-Album Recordings Part #18: 2004-2007

With Eric and Graham apparently not speaking after the 1990s reunions, the 10cc fandom was awash with theories about which of the 10cc partnerships could work together next. Eric and Lol seemed a likely bet, given that they were in-laws and had kept up regular contact with each other and that between they had written quite a few of the band's biggest hits. Instead it was the pair of Mockingbirds, Graham and Kevin, who surprised everyone by teaming up out of nowhere and releasing a half-dozen songs exclusively via their website (although a couple did later turn up at the end of the 10cc compilation 'Greatest Hits and More' in 2006). When asked why they'd got back together again, Graham said that he'd put the exact same reason to Kevin when he rang up out of the blue, but his answer 'just to see if we can' was all he needed to rekindle a forty-year-old friendship. As Godley noted, despite being the oldest pairing in 10cc they'd worked together the least of any songwriting partnership in the band  (except for Graham and Lol) with just 'Iceberg' and 'The Sacro-Iliac' to their credit before this. As things turned out the fans weren't too thrilled with the rather ordinary, poppy songs (which sounded more like the poppier end days of Godley-Creme twinned with Wax rather than the 'Consequences meets Ten Out Of Ten' style everyone was hoping for) and the collaboration fizzled out, with a promised second batch of songs - due circa 2011 - never materialising. This was clearly an older, maturer Godley and Gouldman and you miss the unique spirit and laughs of the old years, with most of these songs meant to make you cry instead. But just as with Eric's songs about tears on the 1980 10cc records, there's a pathos and poignancy here that's deserving of your time, even if the songs aren't what you might have been expecting. You sense, too, that  it was good fun for the duo who overcame the problems that caused the original split back in 1976 and gave both men something they'd been missing during the past decade or so of working solo - Kevin really missed Lol, probably more than he let on, and needed someone with a musical brain to turn his lyrics into songs; for his part Graham was always happier as a team player and having Godley back in the touring band as well (albeit temporarily) boosted his claim on posters that he was '10cc'. Though a minor part of the 10cc canon, without the wordplay and originality of old, if you treat these handful of songs like a bonus feature after a great career you'll still get something out of them and both Kevin and Graham were still in great voice.

Arguably the most impressive of the new songs, '' is a moving piano ballad that features the first time Kevin sang in his older, deeper, wearier voice. Like many a Gouldman song in particular, it's a tribute to a girl who overcomes obstacles who may well be the pair of singers themselves, older and wiser, 'ringing the same bells they rang before'. The metaphor of the door crops up, 'How Dare You!' style, as the girl tries to find an escape from her narrow little life. Sadly all her optimism is replaced by a nervous breakdown and she becomes just another sad story about the world being too tough for the human condition on some website of similar stories. The best couplet of the song comes next: 'The world got turning and we got into learning how to be grown-up and tough and we all turned into doctors and lawyers and stuff'. It's pretty, but very unlike anything 10cc had really done before and at six minutes without a change anywhere is arguably a little too long. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website and the 2006 10cc compilation 'Greatest Hits and More'

As the GG06 website puts it, 'Hotlegs morph noisily into 10cc via self-medication, mutant primate and a Northern work ethic'. A 'Neanderthal Man' for the 21st century, the proto-rap song 'Son Of Man' takes us through a weird time-travelling story that tells the story of 10cc and it's unlikely formation. The song starts out like the Bible with the Garden of Eden and ends up with an abortion in a back-end London street as Godley struggled to understand whether Hotlegs, the first version of 10cc, was born by fate or accident and decides that it's a little of both.  A deformed child is born 'into a world of blues and bubblegum' instead, 'a test tube baby who made no sense' that happens to be the 'Neanderthal Man' single: 'It wasn't music and it wasn't art but it got to #2 in the charts!' The band get a holiday and a car out of it but the world forgets them and moves on. An older Godley looks back on the unlikely event with the confusion of a musician whose spent his entire career trying to be that lucky again before moving on to the start of 10cc and the band's democracy backing other acts ('They were joined at the heart, joined at the hip, working on any old piece of shit!') 'It didn't come that easy and it didn't come that fast' sighs Godley as 10cc try over and over again to hone their own style, so different to anything else around at the time. A final atonal burst of 'Neanderthal Man' and a short interview snippet from Graham then ends this odd alternate history lesson, which could have been really something had it, you know, sounded even a little like 10cc. The Graham Gouldman touring band usually use this song as their 'warm-up act' nowadays, played over the speakers before they hit the stage. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website and the 2006 10cc compilation 'Greatest Hits and More'

Johnny Don't Do It! 'Johnny Hurts' is a much softer, kinder, heartfelt sequel to the band's original second single. Instead of laughing at the misfit who dies a typically 1950s loner rebel death in a biker death, Godley pays tribute to a confused teenager with a jumble of emotions he was too young to understand. Perhaps returning to their own childhood, GG06 tell us that Elvis was playing in the background as they talked in the dark, their teenage struggles making them feel that 'the world might be ending'. The backing track is a curious mis-mash of the worst from the 1950s, 1980s and 2000s with its stylised guitar, keyboard washed and hip-hop drum effect which is a shame because the lyrics are quite sweet and make for a nice 'before and after' contrast between the early jovial 10cc and the more empathetic, emotional band of later years. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website

'Hooligan Crane' is an odd little song, by far the quirkiest song out the new batch and the most like the Godley-Gouldman co-writes of earlier years. Godley recalling the first time he meets a future important figure in his life 'when I was nine and you were seventeen'. For a while this is another Godley song about being the 'punchbag' for an older, cooler bully but the song sounds darker than that. The victim has a dream that the bully has died from cancer (presumably all the cigarettes he was smoking to look cool) and he pleads to the younger lad not to remember him badly because he did turn over a new leaf and became a loving husband. There's a final verse where one or the other (or both?) escape their slum backgrounds by driving a crane into the heart of the school that tormented them both. 'It's not right, it's not good and it's not fair' sighs Godley, before he gives in to the inevitable and admits that good and bad alike are afraid of dying, though only the bad are afraid of 'coming back'.  Like 'Johnny' (both versions) this is another misunderstood rebel come good, but the song is hard to grasp and Godley barely leaves a break between the verses and choruses that just keep on coming until your head spins. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website

The most straightforward of the six new songs, 'The Same Road' is a pop song with an irritating 1980s Wax keyboard-drum sound as Godley croons about trying to work out if he and another are heading in the same direction or 'nowhere fast'. He may be singing about Lol here on this tale of two friends who used to be so close but now have different priorities and have taken each other for granted. A high-pitches Godley falsetto even sounds a little like Creme now that Kevin's voice has dropped a little. The song then branches out into the tale of a city where everyone is anonymous and is filled 'with a million weary souls shooting for the moon'. It's all so sad, as the lyrics pout it, so why goes the melody insist on being so intensely cheerful? It looks like Godley and Gouldman were going in different directions too on the same song. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website

The best thing about [  ] 'Barry's Shoes' is the very Godley-ish drum sound whose raw and slightly off-beat power makes this song instantly more memorable than the others with their drum machines. Graham actually gets to sing on this one too and the two singers' voices go well together so it's a shame they didn't work together more. Lyrically this is a teenage Godley talking about his expensive new footwear during a time in his life when 'shoes are more important than God!' Kevin becomes close with a boy with shoes he envies, but the shoes are a 'gateway drug' to a life of rcime and rebellion - or sagging off school at any rate - and the young lad's heart is broken when his friend stops turning up to hang in the park. Sadly by the end of the track the lyrics have just become a list of various unlikely trainers ('crystal meth shoes?!') but there is at least a great roaring guitar solo in this one that's very Eric Stewartesque and Godley is in the best voice out of the six songs. Find it on: the Godley-Gouldman website


'How Dare You!' (1976)

'Meanwhile' (1992)

'Mirror Mirror' (1995)

Pre-10cc: 1965-1973, A Guide to Mindbenders, Mockingbirds and Frabjoy and Runciple Spoon!

Non-Album Songs Part One 1972-1980

Non-Album Songs Part Two 1981-2006

Surviving TV Clips, Music Videos and Unreleased Recordings

Solo/Wax/Live/Compilation Albums Part One 1971-1986

Solo/Wax/Live/Compilation Albums Part Two 1987-2014

10cc Essay: Not-So-Rubber Bullets

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