Re: Jukebox Joyride (Random Thoughts on Particular Songs)
posted at 3/18/2012 8:48 PM EDT
10 CC hit the jackpot with their third album, The Original Soundtrack, headed by the classic single I’m Not in Love. Some background on the song from Wikipedia:
The song was originally written around a Bossa Nova beat, but group member Lol Creme suggested slowing the tempo, while another group member, Kevin Godley, suggested replacing the beat with a built-up wall of voices.
The ethereal sound was created by laboriously building up multiple overdubs of the voices of Stewart, Gouldman, Godley and Creme singing a single note in unison. This multi-track was then mixed and dubbed down onto 16-track tape. This process was repeated across all 16 tracks to create a lush 256-voice "virtual" choir that could "sing" chromatic chords. A number of these prepared multi-tracks were then cut into several endless loops, each of which contained the basic notes of the main chords used in the song. The chorus loops could then be played by using the mixing desk rather like a keyboard -- each chord could be sounded by bringing up the fader for that loop. The instrumental break featured the repeated spoken phrase, "Be quiet, big boys don't cry...", spoken by Kathy Warren, the receptionist of their own Strawberry Studios where the band recorded the track. These whispered lyrics would later serve as the inspiration for the name of the 1980s band, Boys Don't Cry.
Behind the hit single, 10 CC continued to be their usual offbeat selves. They offered up a three-part operetta, Une Nuit a Paris, some of which revolves around the scandalous activities at a brothel patronized by the chief of police. In some quarters, it’s alleged that the song was a major inspiration for Bohemian Rhapsody. The album also featured songs dealing with the problems of religion (The Second Sitting for the Last Supper), drug smuggling (Flying Junk) and Blackmail.
The Original Soundtrack turned out to be the band’s apex, and the next album, How Dare You?, turned out to be the dividing point. The music betrayed some creative exhaustion. The content was as adventurous as ever, but too often just downright weird.
Godley and Crème split to form their own duo, while Gouldman and Stewart carried on as 10CC with new sidemen. The debut albums of the newly formed entities showed the clear separation of musical directions. With Deceptive Bends, the new 10CC had an immediate hit, The Things We Do For Love, and re-established themselves as a radio-worthy pop band. Meanwhile, Godley and Crème’s took their avant-garde experimentalism to new lengths, opening with a three-disc set concept album called Consequences. The album, which had a theme about the battle between mankind and the forces of nature, doubled as a showpiece for the duo's Gizmotron effects device. There are no reports on how many of the gadgets they sold, but it was used by Jimmy Page for the intros to two songs on In Through the Out Door.
Godley and Crème turned out a series of creative and commercially challenged albums. They were intriguing, often hilarious, and sometimes unsettling listening experiences. In the early Eighties the pair found a second career as music video directors, with their most notable work being the Police’s Every Breath You Take. In 1985 they managed a hit single, Cry. Their final album was Goodbye Blue Sky in 1988.
The new 10CC had one more hit single, the reggae-styled Dreadlock Holiday, from the 1978 album Bloody Tourists. They made several other albums, with the critical consensus being that their last strong album was 10 Out Of 10 in 1981.
Eric Stewart collaborated with a musician named Paul McCartney on three of the latter’s solo albums. Stewart co-wrote half the songs on 1986’s Press to Play.
In 1991, there was a reunion album with the original four, but it proved to be a bad idea and a bust. Recapturing the old magic was not to be.