2020 Album Draft- Round 10 Pick 6- Music City Mike selects- 10CC- 10CC
Well, my bags are packed and I’m ready for desert island isolation. I dug out my old Sony Discman, a 10- CD travel case and a box of AA batteries. But wait! There’s still one more record to select before I go.
Please forgive me as I begin this final LP selection with a bit of self-plagiarism from something I wrote about how in 1973, I discovered the great British band known as 10cc.
Like many who lived in the New York area, I first became familiar with this band from Manchester UK courtesy of radio station WNEW-FM disk jockey Scott Muni’s “Things from England.” This one-hour segment of his show was a weekly ritual every Friday afternoon. As 10cc rocketed up the UK charts, we knew we would get a chance to hear “Rubber Bullets” and the other singles since many like me couldn’t afford to buy their pricy, then import-only, eponymous debut LP at a record retailer like Sam Goody’s.
I finally secured the debut 10cc LP upon its July 1973 US release and it has been one of my favorite records ever since. It has always been one of those impressionable records that I could recreate in my head note for note from start to finish in my sleep.
Although this was the band’s first record, two of its members, Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart were a part of UK Pop history having written and/or sang some previous hit songs. But when the more traditional song-crafting skills of this pair merged with the more technically enhanced musical talents of Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, one of the most uniquely creative bands in Pop music history was formed.
The ten songs on 10cc cover a lot of musical ground. There’s the 50s Doo-wop sound of “Johnny, Don’t Do It” and “Donna.” Cuts like “The Dean and I” and “Rubber Bullets” harmonizingly pay homage to The Beach Boys. The guys also showed us how well they could play their guitars on killer songs such as “Speed Kills” and “Headline Hustler.” However, if there is said to be a common thread to 10cc’s songs, it would be in their combining clever and quirky Pop lyrics with sparkling studio wizardry.
I’ve always been a sucker for great Pop songs and the songs on this record seemed to take that genre to a new level. Each song had both a touch of cynical humor and splashes of sounds that were just so fresh to my young ears. Also having four guys that could sing so well was a big plus adding variety to the LPs mix and enhancing its appeal. In a loving way and in another nod to their cheekiness, I’m sure that this LP holds the Guinness record for the number of falsettos sang on a single record. But, if it’s an honest sincere vocal that you are looking for, drummer Kevin Godly steps out in grand style for the tear-jerking ballad, “Fresh Air for My Mama.”
After letting those first two Doo-woppy singles somewhat slip by, the power and intensity of “Rubber Bullets” just floored me along with comical sing-along lyrics like this:
We all got balls and brains But some’s got balls and chains
While I will forever hold “Bullets” as the classic song that made me a 10cc fan, my fave on this record has always been and will always be the fourth single (three hit the UK Top 10) “The Dean and I.” From the intense opening vocal onslaught of “Hum drum days,” this one grabs you hard and never let’s go. It’s a totally infectious Pop gem to which you can’t resist singing along. And like 10cc’s other songs, its lyrics are cute and clever, albeit the fact that this one is a rather uncynical love song.
The four original members of 10cc would remain together for three more fantastic must-own LPs and along the way they had a mega worldwide hit with “I’m Not in Love,” one of Pop music’s masterpieces. The band would later split into two with Godley and Creme focusing more on the technological end of things musical while Gouldman and Stewart stuck with clever Pop songs. While both pairs achieved success, 10cc was at its best when these four worked together to meld their talents together with each side keeping the other in check.
Sadly, 10cc rounds out my dissertations on my Top 10 records of all-time. Heck, I’m already itching to start on another ten!