Graham Gouldman puts 10cc’s longevity down to the quality of the songs

Graham Gouldman
Graham Gouldman

One of the most inventive and influential bands in pop history, 10cc are still going strong after more than 40 years.

They play The Hawth, Crawley, on Tuesday, May 26, at 7.30pm.

With eleven top ten hits, including three number ones (‘Rubber Bullets’, ‘I’m Not In Love’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’), the band has sold 15 million albums in the UK alone.

Co-founder Graham Gouldman, who leads the line-up, puts 10cc’s longevity down to the quality and individuality of the songs.

“They don’t seem to date. They’re original. We never followed any trend. We simply wrote for our own pleasure. The fact that the songs are being played as often on the radio today as they ever were shows how true that is.”

The band initially comprised four members – Graham plus Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme – who had written and recorded together for about three years before taking on the name 10cc in 1972.

“I was involved with a recording studio that Eric had started off. Kevin and Lol were friends of mine, and we pretty much became the house band at the studio. People would come in and make a record and we would do the backing vocals. We produced a couple of albums with Neil Sedaka and thought we could do something ourselves.

“We almost had a record deal with Apple Records. I don’t know if they turned us down or just didn’t get back to us.”

But a single was released, and an album followed. So too, in 1975, did ‘I’m Not In Love’, arguably one of the greatest hits of all time.

Other hits included ‘Donna’, ‘Rubber Bullets’, ‘The Dean And I’, ‘The Wall Street Shuffle’, ‘Life Is A Minestrone’, ‘Art For Art’s Sake’, ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’, ‘The Things We Do For Love’. But for many 10cc will always be ‘I’m Not In Love’.

Is it in any way double-edged to come up with such a massive song? Absolutely not, says Graham: “How could it possibly be? What could possibly be bad about writing one of the most popular songs ever?

“Eric and I had resisted writing a love song. I don’t know if there are any real 10cc love songs until that point. But like a lot of songs, this one started with a title that Eric had. I had the opening chord sequence. We sat down and started writing words and melodies. But it’s all credit to the title. We avoided writing love songs so that’s the title!

“We none of us realised its commercial potential. We never had an eye on the chart, but we knew that it was something special when we put the backing vocal down. Actually we were just going to do the whole thing with voices. We put down a track that we were going to take off and just leave the voices, but then it seemed obvious to keep it in.

“And so without knowing it we had written a classic. It’s always a pleasure to sing it.

“When you are doing it live, every night is different. You can feel the love coming off the audience when they hear those first chords, and they know all the words…”

All part of a great era, an era that was post-Beatles but in which the Beatles’ brilliant craftsmanship was still being felt.

“We had learnt everything we knew from the Beatles – and what great people to learn from. And that still holds now.”

Tickets priced £31 (children £29) are available from The Hawth Box Office on 01293 553636 and online at www.hawth.co.uk.

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