Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “The Worst Band In The World” by 10cc
Hey! It’s Kevin Godley’s birthday today! I found this out by listening to my friend Steve “The Professor” Leventhal today on WMXM, the Lake Forest radio station where he does a show every Wednesday morning. Actually, Steve called me last night to consult on the playlist, so you know it must have been good!
What’s that? You say you don’t know who Kevin Godley is? Well, read on…and as a matter of fact, if you already know who he is, read on anyway! (And if you missed the show, you can always stream it on demand at Internetfm.com .)
The premise of a super group is that all of the members are well known entities unto themselves. Everyone knew who Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were, and what bands they played with before they united. The group members behind today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman were also a super group, however they were behind-the-scenes super stars that few people knew before they joined forces.
10cc consisted of two sets of incredibly talented songwriters: Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart, and Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.
Gouldman wrote the classic hits “For Your Love,” “Heart Full Of Soul,” and “Evil Hearted You” for The Yardbirds, “Bus Stop” and “Look Through Any Window” for the Hollies and “No Milk Today” for Herman’s Hermits. His partner, Eric Stewart, was a member of Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders scoring hits with “Groovy Kind Of Love” (which he also sang) and “The Game Of Love.” Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (along with Eric Stewart) were session musicians who became members of the group Hotlegs scoring the #2 UK hit “Neanderthal Man.”
The group’s story revolves around a recording studio named Strawberry Studios (after The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”). Stewart became a partner in the studio and worked with Gouldman, Godley and Creme recording Bubblegum tunes for producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz of Super K Productions (and Buddah Records).
Kasenetz and Katz were best known as the producers behind the biggest hits by Ohio Express, The 1910 Fruitgum Company and Crazy Elephant. (It was Graham Gouldman’s vocals that graced the Ohio Express single “Sausalito,” while the rest of the group members appeared on tracks credited to Crazy Elephant, Freddie & The Dreamers, Silver Fleet and Fighter Squadron.) The Kasenetz and Katz deal afforded the group the ability to properly outfit Strawberry Studios where ultimately all of 10cc’s recordings were made.
Godley, Creme & Stewart stumbled upon a catchy drum pattern while working at Strawberry and recorded “Neanderthal Man,” which became a big hit under the moniker Hotlegs. The group also toured behind the single, opening for The Moody Blues. After working with Neil Sedaka at Strawberry on his hit album Solitaire, the group decided to give it a go on their own and began to record songs with an eye towards scoring a record deal.
The quartet were eventually signed to U.K. Records by label head Jonathan King (after being rejected by Apple), who dubbed the group 10cc, named after the average amount ejaculated by men. (Jonathan King was well known for his own hit single, “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon,” and for signing Genesis to Decca Records.)
Their 1972 self-titled debut album included the European hit singles “Donna,” “Rubber Bullets” and “The Dean And I.” The dynamics within the group had Stewart and Gouldman writing their most poppy tunes, while Godley and Creme delved into artier and more experimental side.
Their second album was called Sheet Music and is their best and most consistent recording, featuring the hit singles, “Wall Street Shuffle” and “Silly Love.” The record covered all bases from the sublime of “Wall Street Shuffle,” “Old Wild Men” and “Silly Love” to the ridiculous of “The Sacro-Iliac,” “Clockwork Creep” and today’s Song Of The Day by Eric Berman, all filtered through a Beatle-esque sheen.
The group’s keen sense of humor shines through especially on “The Worst Band In The World” which was sampled by J Dilla for his track “Workinonit,” “The Sacro-Iliac,” a pseudo dance craze that never was, and the ticking time bomb waiting to explode of “Clockwork Creep.”
Elsewhere, “Somewhere In Hollywood” is a multi-part suite that points in the direction the band would take with “Une Nuit A Paris,” the opening track from their breakthrough album, The Original Soundtrack. Rounding out the album is two of the groups most wigged out tunes: “Baron Samedi” and “Oh Effendi.”
After Sheet Music, the group signed with Mercury Records and released The Original Soundtrack in 1975 which included their worldwide smash hit “I’m Not In Love.” They followed the release with another five-star platter, How Dare You! in 1976, which included the hit “Art For Art’s Sake.”
Godley and Creme left the fold in 1976 to promote an early guitar synthesizer they invented called The Gizmo. They released the triple album called Consequences, however neither the album nor The Gizmo ever took off. They persevered over the next decade by becoming video vanguards, producing hit videos for the likes of Sting, The Police, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Duran Duran. They also scored a late ‘80s hit with their video and song, “Cry.”
Meanwhile the Stewart-Gouldman version of 10cc went on to score the hits, “The Things We Do For Love” (from the album Deceptive Bends) and “Dreadlock Holiday” (from Bloody Tourists). Stewart left the band in 1996, and today 10cc regularly tour Europe with Gouldman at the helm.