Did my little feature on Captain Beyond yesterday bring back any rock n' roll flashbacks? Was there a few bursts of unbridled air guitar wizardry? Did you stay up until the wee hours of the night spinning their records, looking for hidden messages on their album covers and searching for your old bong?
My guess is "probably not." It's too bad we don't have that luxury anymore. But I bet you did reminisce a bit about all of the great music you grew up with and all of the great concerts you saw.
Wasn't the music of our youth incredible? Maybe this weekend you can carve out a couple of hours from your busy schedule, rummage through your storage closets and locate your old album collection. Dust them off, throw 'em on the turntable and invite your kids and grandkids to listen to the music that played such an important part in our lives growing up.
How about I turn you on to another band who were true music trailblazers that broke all of the molds when it came to the definition of "Rock n' Roll."
These guys released a dozen albums over a 20 year run, had numerous top 10 hits and yet most Baby Boomers wouldn't recognize them or couldn't tell you who they were or where they came from.
I'm talking about one of my favorite bands of all times 10CC.
From their breakthrough pseudo-hit "Donna" on their first album in 1972, to their final No 1 hit, "Dreadlock Holiday" in 1978, 10CC pumped out 12 hit singles that reached the Top 100 charts. But, they only reached true worldwide success once, briefly, with their 1975 hit "I’m Not In Love."
Although this is probably the one song that most of you recognize from this band, I personally wished they had never recorded it. It's awful. It's like the song "Hot Dog" that Led Zeppelin put on their "In Through the Out Door" album. What were they thinking? It doesn't make sense.
Why would Led Zeppelin record an Elvis/Bluegrass song like "Hot Dog?"
Hopefully, it was a joke.
The same with 10CC and "I'm Not in Love." Here's a song that doesn't fit with the talent these guys had. Although it was a solid technical hit, it is soooooo campy and soooooooo sticky sweet that it makes it difficult for me to understand why these guys made such a song.
10cc wasn't based on building their "rock" image or worldwide "celebrity" like their musical counterparts The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. It was their plan to create "highly sophisticated rock anthems that came off as simple pop hits.
10cc should be appreciated on several levels: pure entertainment delivered by technically superior musicians that were, as a band, at any one time, four singers, four instrumentalists and four producers.
As Rolling Stone magazine put it in 1975, "There is more going on in one 10CC song than on the last ten Yes albums."
In truth, they could have come from any era. 10CC would have been as at home in the Elvis Presley / Duane Eddy early days of rock in the 1950s as they would be in the instant-gratification "American Idol" culture of today.
So where did they come from?………England of course.
No, the name does not stand for the average amount of semen in a man's ejaculation (10 cc's) as many have thought over the years. The name was chosen by their first manager, Jonathan King after having a dream in which he was standing in front of the Hammersmith Odeon in London where the concert board read:
"10cc The Best Band in the World."
As founding member Graham Gouldman says, “Our main influences were "The Beatles" and the "Beach Boys."
If you have listened to their music then you know there are lots of other influences as well.
Gouldman states "For me, it was people like Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Jimmy Webb, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers."
Graham was best known for his song writing capabilities having written "Heart Full of Soul", and "For Your Love" for "The Yardbirds", "Look Through Any Window" and "Bus Stop" for "The Hollies" and "Listen People" for "Herman's Hermits."
Eric Stewart, a former member of "Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders" was influenced by rock ’n’ roll, the blues and R&B. Do you remember the hits "The Game of Love" and "A Groovy Kind of Love?"
Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were the more experimental, if not theatrical, members of the band. They brought the artistic, almost "Bohemian" exploration to the composition of the band's music.
You can imagine what happens when we put all those things together...…you get 10CC.
My favorite is their second album, "Sheet Music" because it has 10 completely dizzy, different and disarming songs on it ranging from the heavy metal "Wall Street Shuffle" and "Silly Love" to soap opera-ish "Clockwork Creep" to their scathing self- parody "The Worst Band In The World."
"Sheet Music" actually became the band's breakthrough album, remaining on the UK charts for six months and paving the way for a US tour in February 1974.
Like all 10CC songs it appears that they were written because the band was just trying to amuse themselves.
That was why it worked.
That and the fact that each band member was incredibly talented and their guiding principle was always to focus on whatever was best for their music as a whole.
The thing was: "whoever wrote the song, it kind of became the property of the entire band."
No two 10CC records sound the same.
As Graham Gouldman stated in an interview once “There were so many influences flying around and they all found their way onto the records and we loved pastiche.”
Or it would become more edgy, sarcastic tunes like "Life is a Minestrone" or
Or it could result in their landmark pop masterpiece (YUK !!) from this album, "I’m Not In Love", which spent two weeks at No 1 in the UK and three weeks at No 2 in the US.
If you need a complete sampling of the range of the early 10CC portfolio then check out their first greatest hits album aptly titled "10CC" that was released in 1975. It has some popular singles that were never put on any albums and an assortment of hits from their first two releases.
Go figure that the band was getting restless and felt that everything was getting too predictable, with the constant cycle of writing, recording, doing press, promotion, rehearsals and touring.
Although a fine piece of work one can detect the storm clouds gathering.
Check out the songs "Art for Art's Sake" and "I'm Mandy Fly Me" for an idea of where their music at this time was coming from.
After this album the band split in two with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme going off on their own.
They talked a lot about whether or not they should keep the name 10CC, but after recording a couple of tracks including "Things We Do For Love" and "Good Morning Judge" they decided that their music still sounded just like 10CC.
The name stayed.
10CC went on to produce 5 more albums with mixed personnel lineups. None of these efforts met with the success of their earlier stuff. The original members reunited in the early 90's to record together once again but the album "Meanwhile" did not spawn any major hits. It was relatively well received in Japan and in Europe though. Afterward, all 4 of the original members went on to have very solid solo careers not only recording but producing as well.
Like many of the popular bands of the 70's, 10CC has reformed and are touring again. The current band, with founder Graham Gouldman leading the helm are spending 2016 playing dates across Europe. If they ever make it to Phoenix you know I will be buying tickets.
Does talking about 10CC jog your memory about any more obscure bands from the 70's?
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The more Baby Boomers we can help; the better place we make this world !!!