10cc continue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their pioneering album Sheet Music with a date at The Hawth, Crawley, on October 3.
The first half of the evening will see the album, which included the hit ‘The Wall Street Shuffle’, performed in its entirety. There will even be a pause for the symbolic turning of the vinyl at the half-way point.
The second half features a comprehensive spread of the band’s 11 top hits and more, including three number-ones: ‘I’m Not In Love’, ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ and ‘Rubber Bullets’.
Graham Gouldman, the sole survivor of the originals, still leads the band – and loves the idea of the complete-album format, something he discovered they had to work out how to do.
“The first time we did it, we tried to do it exactly like the album and not say anything between the tracks… but actually, it just didn’t feel right. It just felt too distanced from the audience. You have got to be performing to the audience. You need more communication. It just felt very odd, and half way through, we changed and started to talk. It’s the same with anything. You have just got to work out how to do it.”
But the point remains: Graham is a huge respecter of the album format – rather than the tendency for people to listen to single songs. The point is that an album is a collection of songs that belong together: “Usually you would start off knowing what the first song would be and what the last song would be, and then you would work out what went in between. You would work out what felt right. You wouldn’t want too much together that was mid-tempo, and you wouldn’t want too much together that was up-tempo. You wouldn’t want too much that was an island of peace, but at the same time you wouldn’t want it too up and down. You just had to see what worked. People would say: ‘Why did this song come after that song?’ and you have to answer ‘I don’t know, but it just felt right!”
Move away from albums and, as Graham says, you also lose the great pleasures of the artwork, all the pleasures of the sleeve notes.
“On my solo album Love and Work, I loved doing the liner notes, remembering who did what. I even put down what guitars I used!”
As for Sheet Music, it was never a question of a concept album with 10cc: “But with the original band, sometimes you would write a lot of songs, and then maybe something would emerge that would bring them together.”
Sheet Music was the band’s second LP. Their first was simply called 10cc: “And that first one went very well. That had ‘Rubber Bullets’ and ‘Donna’ on it, and it was really rushed out because ‘Donna’ was a big hit. The record company wanted us to get out an album. With the second album, it was a bit more considered. We had more time. We could think about it. But generally, actually I don’t think it is a good thing to have too much time to think. Thinking can be dangerous. I like things to be instinctive!”
But there was a good progression between the two: “It was subtle. I think they are both very creative, very imaginative albums.”
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