Castle Music (CMRCD 751) 2003
Did this wonderful collection appear as a result of someone reading my now out-dated (and outlandish) article below? Do I have that kind of influence? I wish! (If so, look for that Banana Splits anthology soon!) The important thing is that all those great lost pre-10cc songs are finally in our hands and the 10cc collecting is over. (Or is it? That's my next article!)
Sadly, this finely crafted compilation is now out of print.
Michael Thom wrote this for one of those wonderful Yahoo! Groups. He knows his stuff:
clarify a bit on the 10cc connection with Kasenetz and Katz:
K&K hired Graham Gouldman as a staff writer in 1969. He had joined Eric Stewart for the final Mindbenders single in 1969 (not issued in the US) and
was involved with Stewart and Peter Tattersall in the creation of Strawberry Studios in Manchester. Gouldman was also working with Kevin Godley (who had played drums in Gouldman's mid-'60s group, the Mockingbirds) and Lol Creme for Giorgio Gomelsky's Marmalade label.
While Gouldman continued to write for K&K, Godley, Creme and Stewart experimented in their new studio. They made a recording to demonstrate drum
sounds and titled it "Neanderthal Man." Philips' Dick Leahy heard it and insisted it be released. They named themselves "Hotlegs" after the studio
secretary, and the single became a huge hit in England (#2) and Europe, and almost cracked the US top 20.
Gouldman convinced K&K that he and the members of Hotlegs could record some of the material Gouldman wrote for K&K at Strawberry much more economically than they could record in the US. The four future members of 10cc recorded Gouldman's "Sausalito (Is the Place to Go)" at Strawberry, with Gouldman singing lead. K&K owned the rights to all of their "group's" names, and decided to issue it under the name "Ohio Express." The song, which is a
pure slice of pop magic, charted in the US but not elsewhere. 10cc had nothing to do with the K&K throwaway B-side, "Make Love Not War." On the UK
pressing of the single, however, the writing credits for the two sides were inadvertently reversed, which has led some to erroneously include "Make Love
Not War" in discographies of Gouldman's works.
One other Gouldman song was apparently recorded by 10cc for K&K and planned for release as a "Ohio Express" record, but it was never issued. The song, "Tampa, Florida," was recorded by fellow Mancunian Peter Cowap (issued on Pye in the UK), as one of the three singles he did with Gouldman and other future members of 10cc. (Cowap wrote for Herman's Hermits, Wayne Fontana and others, recorded a rare UK-only single with Gouldman and others as the Manchester Mob, and joined Herman's Hermits when Noone left the group.)
Hotlegs recorded the Godley-Creme song, "Umbopo," under the pseudonym "Doctor Father." It was issued in the UK on Pye and an edited version
appeared in the US on Capitol. Gouldman liked the song, and recorded a new version with Godley and Creme, engineered by Stewart. That version was
issued as part of the K&K deal as "There Ain't No Umbopo," and K&K stuck the name "Crazy Elephant" on that single. Godley sings lead on both versions.
10cc had no involvement with the B-side, "Landrover." Paul's site shows "Landrover" as the A-side, but it was the B-side. US promo copies have
"There Ain't No Umbopo" on both sides, with one side designated as "stereo" but it is actually mono. Paul's site also suggests 10cc was involved with
Crazy Elephant's "Pam," but they were not (that was me actually. Glad to blame it on someone else though! - Andy).
Other Gouldman/K&K efforts include "Come On Plane," issued under the name Silver Fleet on Uni, and "When He Comes," issued under the name Fighter
Squadron on Bell. Godley sings lead on both. Both also have K&K B-sides with no 10cc involvement.
Several of the 10cc-related recordings, including "Sausalito" (also never issued in stereo) and "There Ain't No Umbopo" (unfortunately mastered from a
worn copy of the 45) and the three singles recorded by Cowap with Gouldman, appear on the Castle CD, "Strawberry Bubblegum," which is now out of print. Apart from the shoddy copy of "There Ain't No Umbopo" used for the CD, sound quality is excellent, and the collection includes extensive liner notes.
Sidebar: 10cc also recorded with Neil Sedaka in the early '70s, backing him on the LPs "Solitaire" and "The Tra La Days Are Over." The latter was not
issued in the US, but after Sedaka scored a hit with "Laughter in the Rain" (with no 10cc involvement), MCA compiled the US LP, "Sedaka's Back," which
includes some of the tracks recorded with and co-produced by 10cc. One of those, "That's When the Music Takes Me," hit the US top 30 in 1975.
– Michael Thom
By Andrew Bergey
(Written before 2003 I can assure you that!)
(Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley & Lol Creme: Gummers all!)
The four original members of 10cc are tight-lipped about a particular period during their early days, and not because they feel it's rude to chew gum with their mouths open. Sadly, they don't want to chew the fat over their contribution to our dearly beloved Classic Bubblegum Music era. As though peeling gum off an embarrassed face, their collective guilt over gum has not subsided over the years. Personally, I don't understand their reasoning even though they've been less than inclined to communicate it. So, here is a measure of 10cc; the worst band in the world.
The success of their 1977 No. 6 hit The Things We Do For Love contributed to the breakup of this critically loved, chart-topping group. 10cc seemingly wanted success on their own terms. Whether refusing to dress up the part of rock stars, failing to designate a group leader, or purposely inserting off-color lyrics into obvious hits, 10cc's self-effacing and success-defeating style kept the group members focused solely on their art, for art's sake.
Dubbing themselves "The Worst Band In The World," Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme, and Kevin Godley formed 10cc in 1972 after individual successes and failures out of Manchester, England. Before starting the group and recording for Jonathan King's UK label, these four lads were established singers, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. Comparisons to the Beatles proved to be both accurate and ironic for it was the Beatles whom Eric Stewart's first group, The Emperors Of Rhythm, beat in a BBC audition in 1962. It was also the Beatles who rejected 10cc in an audition for Apple records ten years later (although it appears that it was a mop-top underling). That Eric would be one of the few lucky writing collaborators with Paul McCartney in the 1980s only seems to make sense. After the Beatle-conquering Emperors, Eric joined Wayne Fontana as a backup Mindbender. The group had a #1 hit with Game Of Love and later, without Fontana, Groovy Kind Of Love (with Eric handling the lead vocals). Graham Gouldman hit his mark early and often, penning hits for the Yardbirds (For Your Love, Evil Hearted You, Heart Full Of Soul), Hollies (Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop) and Herman's Hermits (No Milk Today, East West, Listen People). While his solo career stalled in the late-60s, Graham joined Eric Stewart's Mindbenders as they were breaking up and then went into a studio venture with Eric, buying and renovating a studio in Manchester and naming it Strawberry Studio after a song by those pesky Beatles. Meanwhile, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley were immersing themselves in graphic art design but dabbled enough in the Manchester music scene to meet and work with both Eric and Graham on various studio projects. The first major collaboration was a test of the Strawberry studio recording console started by Kevin experimenting with drum layers and Lol organizing the chant of "I'm a Neanderthal man, you're a Neanderthal girl, let's make Neanderthal love, in this Neanderthal world." Eric and Lol added guitar parts, the three called themselves Hotlegs and they had a hit on their hands.
Soon, Jonathan King (back from the moon) had signed the group, now with Graham Gouldman on bass, to his UK Records label and the hits started rolling out soon thereafter. This quartet, christened 10cc by King, released four critically acclaimed albums mixing the Beach Boys, Beatles, humor, precise production techniques, art-rock, humor, harmonies, and that humor thing again. They never hit big in America with the exception of an anti-love song, I'm Not In Love, one of the most covered AM hit-songs of all time. The highs were many, including the album Sheet Music and songs such as Rubber Bullets, The Wall Street Shuffle, The Second Sitting For The Last Supper, and I'm Mandy, Fly Me. The requisite "musical differences" and Creme and Godley's desire to explore their Gizmo (a musical apparatus they designed that bent the strings on a guitar to emulate a string section) led to the breakup of 10cc in 1975. Well, big boys don't cry so Eric and Graham carried on as 10cc (some local wags called them 5cc, other wags called them 15cc on a good night -- neither was particularly witty) and C&G recorded a triple-album set to showcase their invention. They commented on the breakup by saying that they did not like the new songs Stewart & Gouldman were bringing to the group, notably the songs People In Love, and The Things We Do For Love. Nonetheless, Stewart & Gouldman had a world-wide smash with Things and C&G wouldn't taste success until years later in England as their interests moved to the world of MTV and directing videos for the likes of The Police, Duran Duran and Herbie Hancock.
So, why am I going over the history of 10cc -- a history that surely everyone knows -- on this, a bubblegum tribute site? Is it because I've listened to Sheet Music 20,000 times and it keeps getting better every single time I hear it? No, my silly love. Graham, Kevin, Lol and Eric just so happen to be sitting on the bubblegum mother-load and they are not sharing!
It's December 1969 and our beloved Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, flush with money from producing dozens of bubblegum smashes in the States, decide to mine England for up and coming songwriters and musicians. Admiring the work of Graham Gouldman, they pay the hit-writer a whole gob of that heavy American dough to pen bubblegum hits. Later, they paid more buckets of American cash to have Graham and his friends (Eric, Lol and Kevin) record these songs and others so that they may cart them back to the states to be sung by their stable of hit-fortified singers. Stewart, Gouldman, Creme & Godley use that gooey bubblegum money to equip Strawberry Studio, form 10cc and start the path towards critical and monetary musical successes.
So, you would think the boys would be more than happy to tip a hat to K&K and reveal all the songs they worked on, right?
Not so fast.
The four 10cc-ers have refused to discuss this three-month period these 30 years hence. There are two official biographies of the group, the 1976 "The 10cc Story" by George Tremlett and a book released this year, "The Worst Band In The World (A Definitive Biography)," by Liam Newton. In both tomes the subject is only lightly touched upon. Both books rely heavily on Graham Gouldman's recollections and he sums it up with a quaint anecdote that K&K would walk into his office and ask if a song was finished. When he said yes, they asked for another! I'm telling you, this material works great at parties! Lol and Kevin say this was the low point of their career (Hey, I saw the Go West! video; they may want to re-think their position!) and Eric is mum on the subject.
Now, I love 10cc. I have almost everything they've ever done and all I want to know is "WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO COLLECT?" I can understand that they don't like this kind of music but they did write Neanderthal Man, The Hospital Song and Graham did the soundtrack to Animalympics so they can't be that proud!
So, until they fess up, let me attempt to fill the bubblegum beaker left empty by 10cc. And as you may know, 10cc is the average amount of spit in an a gum evacuation, so this list of songs 10cc may have had a part in is fitting:
Sausalito, Ohio Express -- This is a no-brainer as the song is credited to Graham and is obviously sung by the bubblegum-hating Gouldman. But, who plays on the song? I believe it is all of 10cc.
My Fire Department Needs A Fireman, Shadows Of Knight -- This seems to be an example of 2.5cc, as I believe that at least Eric plays on this song. I recognize one of his trademark guitar solos and I'm sure he was an ax for hire around this time. Graham may be on this song as well but I don't believe Lol and Kev were around.
Pam, Crazy Elephant -- Although I have no proof I believe that this is all 10cc, all-the-time. I can't seem to be able to snag a copy of their only album on e-bay and my wife refuses to stay home all day and make bids for me.
Gimme Some Love, Crazy Elephant -- I absolutely love Kevin Godley's voice! (On Monday's I absolutely love Graham's voice, Tuesday is Eric's turn, and Thursday is all Lol all day. Paul, Harry, and Pete get the weekend!) I know that Kevin is singing here because when I play this song my ears actually crust over with hardened pink wax allowing only future 10cc warblings inside . . . .
Come On Plane, Silver Fleet -- A 10cc-worthy song written by Graham (with Kasenetz & Katz -- yeh, right). It rocks, it uses many percussive elements, and it's not the last time the flighty subject matter takes off for the boys. Kevin sings this not-really-gum slightly gospel classic.
There Ain't No Umbopo, Crazy Elephant -- Another Crazy Elephant song written by Kevin & Lol and sung by Kevin. Surprisingly sad and very reminiscent of their Hotlegs material and their later duo work (Samson, Under My Thumb). Slightly more gospel than Plane.
When He Comes, Fighter Squadron -- That's the contract fulfilling Gouldman writing (with Kasenetz & Katz again) for Kevin Godley to sing. Very gospel and not gummy at all!
Crickets, Peter Cowap -- Although not credited as a writer on the single, Graham co-wrote this silly little ditty about those chirping eight-legged freaks. It's his sound structure, it's him singing in the background. And by Jiminy, the production is impeccable.
Susan's Tuba, Freddie & The Dreamers -- Cute little ditty written by Graham for "crazy-legs" Freddie.
Tampa, Florida, Ohio Express -- Not sure if this Graham penned ditty was ever released or ever made it on the ballot!
That's it. Ten songs that I know of (or made up the fact that I know of). I'm convinced that there were more songs and I am sure that if they were all mined it would make a great pre-10cc compilation CD. Now listen, I want the goods on these songs and the others or I will start the rumor that 10cc wrote and performed on Melanie's Brand New Key, Glenn Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy and backed Neil Sedaka on two albums! (Hey, wait, they did back Neil on two albums and they're even proud of it!)
Okay, Eric, Kevin, Lol and Graham: give up the gum. Don't join the long list of life's great gooey mysteries. Don't let your bubblegum-loving fans down. E-mail me today and I'll help fill-in the full 10cc of your history.
Behind The Gum:
Pammy Has Hot Legs
Pamela Pamela by the Mindbenders?
Pam by Crazy Elephant?
"Pammy Has Hot Legs" on a run-out groove of a 10cc record?
"Pam" etched into the school desk cover?
Who is this Pam?
Pam may not have much of a connection to bubblegum music (after all, isn't Pam a popular anti-stick product?) but we here at the Bubblegum Music Home Page leave no leg unturned in our search for the truth. In other words, this story has some legs.
You might find yourself asking, "How did Hotlegs get their name?" "Why all those 'Pam' references?" The Classic Bubblegum Music Page went out on a limb to investigate this mystery. (OK, maybe we just waited for someone to contact us!) The following e-mail arrived in January 2002 from Pam Blundell who may not have influenced all the Pams listed above but certainly carved her name in 10cc history.
"Hello Andy - a friend of mine has been checking me out (well, at least my story) regarding my connection with Hotlegs, who then went on to be 10cc. It's not surprising that there's no record of my connection with them as it was so long ago! I was about 19 or 20 at the time and dating Lol Creme and also working at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, Cheshire. They were recording Neanderthal Man and we were all putting the finishing touches to the backing during the early hours of the morning. Kevin Godley was idly staring at my legs (first time round with the mini skirt) and announced 'Pam's got hot legs' . . . . . and so the story goes! They needed a name for the band QUICKLY so it stuck! Kevin then scribed my name into the album front 'Thinks School Stinks' and wrote 'Pamela has hot legs.' Well, that's my claim to fame and it's never been topped yet! A good friend of mine actually managed to acquire a copy of this album a couple of years ago and gave it to me as a present. Nice thing to have for posterity!
A big pink thanks to Pam for clearing up that mystery. Sadly, she no longer has pictures of her legs circa 1972. If anyone has these priceless Pammy pics, please post post-haste!
Want to write an exclusive article for the Classic Bubblegum Music Homepage?