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Biographie de 10 Cc
Source / Auteur : Wikipedia Date : 03/08/2006 Nb consultation : 3795
First lineup, 1972-76
The original four-piece lineup of 10cc was blessed with a wealth of talent -- there were two strong songwriting teams (although combinations of all four members collaborated on some songs), all four members were skilled multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, and each could perform convincingly as lead singers, leading to favourable comparisons with The Beatles.
The more 'commercial' team of Eric Stewart (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Graham Gouldman (bass, guitars, mandolin, zither, vocals) created some of the group's most accessible material. Stewart's career on the Manchester band scene went back to the early Sixties. In 1963 he was a founding member of The Mindbenders, the backing band for singer Wayne Fontana. The group continued without Fontana when he abruptly quit in late 1965, and their next single "Groovy Kind of Love" was Top Five hit in the USA and the UK, leading to an appearance in the film To Sir, with Love. By the time he joined The Mindbenders late in their career, Graham Gouldman had already achieved enormous success in his own right as a pop songwriter, penning international hits for acts including The Yardbirds' ("For Your Love", "Evil Hearted You", "Heart Full Of Soul"), Herman's Hermits' ("No Milk Today", "East West", "Listen People") and The Hollies' ("Look Through Any Window", "Bus Stop").
The other more experimental half of 10cc was (Lawrence) Lol Creme (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Kevin Godley (vocals, drums, percussion), who brought a distinctive 'art school' sensibility and a more 'cinematic' writing style to the group. Godley and Gouldman had attended the same high school and their shared passion for music meant that Godley and best friend Creme would often 'hang out' with Gouldman at their local Jewish Lads' Brigade in their teens.
In the sleeve notes to the 1996 CD reissue of their 1975 LP The Original Soundtrack, Graham Gouldman described himself and Eric Stewart as "guitar freaks". He also cited some of the quartet's very diverse early influences, which included Ravel, Isaac Hayes's Shaft soundtrack, The Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Little Richard and Jimmy Webb.
Aside from their childhood connections, the key factor that brought the members of the group together was that Eric Stewart was the co-owner of Strawberry Studios in Stockport, near Manchester, as well as being an accomplished recording engineer. Opened in 1967 by Stewart and his partner Peter Tattersall, Strawberry soon became one of the most successful independent studios in the UK, with clients including Neil Sedaka, Paul McCartney, The Scaffold and Barclay James Harvest, as well as being the venue for all of 10cc's earlier recordings. Around 1970, the four began to work together regularly; at that stage they were mostly backing other artists on recording sessions, but this led to the formation of the shortlived group Hotlegs, which evolved into the original lineup of 10cc.
Most biographies state that 10cc formed in 1972, but according to an article by Andrew Bergey, the members of the group began working together as early as December 1969, when noted American bubblegum pop writer-producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz came to England and commissioned Graham Gouldman to write formula bubblegum songs. These songs were recorded (mostly at Strawberry Studios) by other artists, whose recordings were augmented (or performed anonymously) by varying combinations of the future 10cc lineup. Recordings from this period featuring 10cc members include "Sausalito" by Ohio Express and "Susan's Tuba" by Freddie and the Dreamers.
Stewart's involvement in the studio gave the nascent 10cc a considerable head start. It meant that all four were experienced studio performers well before 10cc began, and regular 'down-time' access to a top-class multi-track studio enabled them to spend long periods experimenting with recording techniques and refining their studio sound, a luxury of which most bands could only dream. The success of the Manchester studio led to the group later opening Strawberry Studios South in Dorking, Surrey.
During 1971 the four musicians backed Neil Sedaka on two LPs that he recorded at Strawberry, both of which Stewart engineered and which he numbers among his favourite recordings. The quartet's first major recording together was a single, released under the Hotlegs name, entitled Neanderthal Man. According to one account the song began simply as a test of the new Strawberry Studios mixing desk, but when released as a single, it cracked the UK charts and became a major hit, an album, "Thinks School Stinks", was also released. The group then undertook a tour as Hotlegs, supporting The Moody Blues. When Gouldman joined full-time, they auditioned unsuccessfully for Apple Records but they were soon were 'discovered', renamed 10cc and relaunched in 1972 by the flamboyant entrepreneur, producer, recording artist and 'music guru' Jonathan King, who signed them to his shortlived UK Records label. King chose the name "10cc", after he had a dream that he was standing infront of the Hammersmith Odeon in London and on the hoarding it said "10CC The Best Band in the World". An alternative story had it that the band was named for the amount of sperm the average man ejaculates - but since in fact the average ejaculate is far less than 10cc, it's unclear how this common myth gained currency, or where it originated.
10cc quickly established themselves as a high-calibre band, combining innovative and diverse musical stylings, sharp vocals, rich harmonies and great instrumental skills, capped with witty, topical lyrics and ironic, tongue-in-cheek humour. The original group is also notable as one of the first UK pop-rock acts to operate as a fully self-contained unit -- they wrote all their own songs, played and sang all the music, and used no outside session musicians at all on their first three LPs and only one - harpist Mair Jones - on their fourth. As noted above, Stewart was also an experienced recording engineer and the quartet self-produced all their records between 1972 and 1976.
The original lineup recorded a string of Top Ten singles and released four increasingly accomplished LPs, and they were able to achieve increasingly wide popularity and chart success, whilst still being taken seriously by critics, as well as maintaining almost total control over their material and production.
The first official 10cc single was the Frank Zappa-influenced doo-wop parody "Donna", which proved the band capable of delivering high-quality commercial pop that still contained an ironic edge, and it reached #2 in the UK. It was followed by their self-titled debut album (1972).
Their second single, "Johnny Don't Do It", was not a major chart success, but the next single, "Rubber Bullets" (1973), an ultra-catchy satirical take on the "Jailhouse Rock" concept, became a huge hit in the UK and other countries and gave 10cc their first British #1 single. They consolidated their success a few months later with "The Dean And I", which peaked at #10. Their next two singles, "Headline Hustler" and the self-mocking "The Worst Band In The World" did not chart well, but the group bounced back with their highly regarded second LP, Sheet Music (1973), which included the hits "Wall Street Shuffle" (#10, 1974) and "Silly Love" (#24, 1974). On the back of this success the Hotlegs album was re-released under the new title You Didn't Like It Because You Didn't Think Of It.
Now signed to the Mercury Records label, the band released their third LP, The Original Soundtrack (1975). It was a both a critical and commercial success and featured distinctive cover art created by the famed Hipgnosis team and drawn by singer Humphrey Ocean . It is also notable for its epic eight-minute opening track, Godley & Creme's "Une Nuit A Paris (One Night In Paris)", an 8-minute, multi-part 'mini-operetta' that is thought to have been an influence on "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.
Although it bore an unlikely title (picked up from a radio talk show) the jaunty single "Life Is A Minestrone" (1975) was another UK Top Ten placing, peaking at #7. Their biggest success came with the dreamy denial "I'm Not In Love", their second #1 in the UK. Up to this point, the group had failed to achieve any chart success whatsoever in the United States, but "I'm Not In Love" finally provided them with their first trans-Atlantic hit, reaching #2 in the USA. It has since become a staple of "Hits and Memories" radio programming in many countries.
A collaborative effort built around a title by Stewart, "I'm Not In Love", which is notable for its innovative production, especially its choral backing.
Their fourth LP, How Dare You! (1976) included some of their best material to date, featured another ingenious Hipgnosis cover, and furnished two more UK Top Ten hits -- the witty "Art For Art's Sake" (#5) and "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" (#7). But by this time the once close personal and working relationships between the four members had begun to fray, and it was the last album with the original lineup.
The split, 1976
Soon after the release of How Dare You, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left 10cc to work on a solo project, which eventually evolved into the triple LP set Consequences (1976). It began as a demonstration record for the "Gizmo", an electric guitar effect they had invented, but it gradually grew into a sprawling concept album that featured contributions from satirist Peter Cook and jazz legend Sarah Vaughan.
The Gizmo, which fitted over the bridge of an electric guitar, contained six small motor-driven wheels attached to small keys; when the key was depressed, the Gizmo wheels bowed the guitar strings, producing notes and chords with endless sustain. First used during the recording of the Sheet Music track "Old Wild Men", they originally created the device as another way of cutting their recording costs -- by using it on an electric guitar with studio effects, they could effectively simulate strings and other sounds, enabling them to dispense with expensive orchestral overdubs.
Godley & Creme went on to achieve cult success as a songwriting and recording duo, scoring several hits and releasing a string of innovative LPs and singles. Having honed their skills on the equally innovative clips that they made to promote their own singles, they returned to their visual arts roots and became far better-known as directors of music videos in the 1980s, creating acclaimed videos for chart-topping acts including George Harrison ("When We Was Fab"), The Police ("Synchronicity II"), Duran Duran ("Girls On Film"), Frankie Goes To Hollywood ("Two Tribes") and Herbie Hancock ("Rockit"). The video for their 1985 single "Cry" is especially notable as one of the first mainstream uses of image morphing technology.
(See main article on Godley & Creme)
Second lineup, 1976-present
After the departure of Godley and Creme, Stewart and Gouldman decided to keep going as 10cc. Drummer Paul Burgess (later of The Icicle Works) assisted them on their next LP, Deceptive Bends, which was essentially a duo recording. Against expectations, it proved to be a great success and yielded two hit singles, "Good Morning Judge" and "The Things We Do For Love".
After recruiting guitarist Rick Fenn, keyboardist Tony O'Malley and drummer Stuart Tosh (ex-Pilot) to create a permanent five-piece band, the new version of 10cc toured internationally, and during this period they recorded their next LP, the live album Live And Let Live (1977), which mixed the hits with material from the previous three LPs.
1978's Bloody Tourists, recorded with the new lineup, was less consistent than its predecessor, but still provided the band with another UK #1, the reggae-styled "Dreadlock Holiday", which was also a hit in Australia. The group then subsequently signed with Warner Brothers Records, who released their next album Look Hear? (1980). It was not a major success and from this point on the group gradually began to fade from prominence.
After jettisoning the rest of the band, Gouldman and Stewart returned to the Mercury label to record as a duo. The resulting LP, 10 Out of 10 (1981) was a return to the form the group had shown on Deceptive Bends, but it failed to make any major impression with audiences. The UK and US versions of the albums differ, with the US version substituting three duo tracks for songs recorded with Andrew Gold.
Their next LP, Windows In The Jungle (1983) included session heavyweights such as drummer Steve Gadd, but was dominated by Stewart; Gouldman's contributions were much less prominent, and he performed no lead vocals on the LP.
Eric Stewart went on to produce recordings for Sad Café and Graham Gouldman went on to produce recordings for The Ramones before teaming up with American Andrew Gold to form the group Wax. Eric Stewart also worked on three Paul McCartney albums, writing a dozen or so songs with him, and produced the album "Eyes Of A Woman" by Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA.
In 1992 the original 4 members 'reunited' and recorded an album titled "...meanwhile" which 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. Unlike most of their previous albums the band used many session musicians in the recording of the album including the likes of Jeff Porcaro on drums on all tracks and others like Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) on piano and Andrew Gold on guitar on one track. One track on the album was co-written by Stewart and Gouldman along with Paul McCartney.
The album was not a 'reunion' in the strictest sense of the word. Both Lol Creme and Kevin Godley agreed to guest on the albums in order to be released from their obligation to Polydor. Godley and Creme owed Polydor one album when they split in the late 80's. Kevin and Lol sang background vocals on several tracks on the album. Kevin also sang the lead on one song 'The Stars Didn't Show'.
In 1995 the resurrected 10cc released yet another album. This time the album title was Mirror Mirror and was produced by Gouldman and Stewart along with Adrian Lee of Mike and the Mechanics fame. The album included a remixed version of 10cc's greatest international hit "I'm Not In Love" but the album did not fare very well and has been criticized for appearing to be two solo albums slapped together. (Aside from the remix of "I'm Not In Love", Stewart did not appear on any of the tracks Gouldman played or sang on, and Gouldman similarly did not appear on any of Stewart's tracks.) After the release of this album Eric and Graham parted ways again and have no currentplans to collaborate again.