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10cc 10cc album cover
3.60 | 70 ratings | 9 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rubber Bullets (5:16)
2. Donna (2:55)
3. Johnny, Don't Do It (3:39)
4. Sand in My Face (3:38)
5. Speed Kills (3:50)
6. The Dean and I (3:04)
7. Ships Don't Disappear in the Night (3:05)
8. The Hospital Song (2:43)
9. Fresh Air for My Mama (3:05)
10. Headline Hustler (3:31)

Total Time 34:28

Bonus tracks on 2000 remaster:
11. Hot Sun Rock (3:01)
12. 4% of Something (4:01)
13. Rubber Bullets (Single version) (4:08)
14. Waterfall (3:43)
15. Bee in My Bonnet (2:01)

Total Time 51:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Stewart / lead electric & slide guitars, Moog synthesizer, vocals
- Lol Creme / electric & acoustic guitars, grand piano, Moog, Mellotron, percussion, vocals
- Graham Gouldman / bass, acoustic & electric guitars, dobro, tambourine, vocals
- Kevin Godley / drums, percussion, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: David Anstey with Chris Grayson (photo)

LP UK Records ‎- UKAL 1005 (1973, UK)

CD Castle Classics ‎- CLACD 185 (1990, France)
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 4844 (2000, Germany) Remastered by Joachim Heinz Ehrig "Eroc" with 5 bonus tracks

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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10CC 10cc ratings distribution

(70 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

10CC 10cc reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
4 stars [N.B. My ratings for 10CC are based on their subgenre, NOT re prog as a whole.]

10CC has much in common with its contemporaries, Supertramp and Queen. All three were formed by musicians who attended British art schools (hence the term "art rock"). All three are comprised of particularly excellent musicians. All three consistently use full instrumentation, including piano, plus the occasional sax, flute or percussion. All three create exceptionally creative and intricate 4-part harmonies and lush arrangements, and have an incredible mastery of the recording studio. And all three are highly "intelligent" bands, drawing on both well-known and obscure references from musical history, world history, literature, psychology, pop culture, etc., combining them with a satiric, sometimes sardonic, sense of humor. It is thus a pleasure to see 10CC join their two closest brethren on PA.

Obviously, 10CC is not a "prog" band as we generally define that term vis-à-vis such groups as King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Marillion, IQ, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard et al. There is little that might be called "symphonic" in their work, few odd (much less shifting) time signatures, only a handful of extended solos, etc. Rather, they create what has been called "progressive pop," remaining largely within the standard verse- chorus formula and "basic" instrumentation, but "fritching" it just enough - often in truly interesting, effective, even superbly creative ways - that it can no longer be viewed simply as "pop" or "rock." And with 10CC, whatever style they are writing in, whatever subject they are writing about, they miss nothing: every detail (musical, lyrical, vocal) is perfect, not a note is out of place, nothing is missing, and there is no filler.

Special note must be made of 10CC's lyrics. These guys are about as literate a group as you are going to find in rock - in any genre. Their mastery of language, and its "appropriateness," is extraordinary, and the literary and other references, and the puns and double entendres, often fly at such incredible speed that they go right over your head - until a few minutes later you find yourself laughing hysterically.

Finally, despite the fact that this is not particularly "intricate" music, 10CC's albums are definitely best listened to with headphones to get the full effect of their arrangements and production.

The PA description of the band tells you all you need to know about the illustrious history of its members. However, it omits one - extraordinary - fact. Not only does Eric Stewart (perhaps the most underrated and under-appreciated guitarist in all of rock music) play guitar, piano, synth and sing, and compose and arrange - he also serves as engineer, and mixed and mastered all of 10CC's albums. Oh, and did I mention that he built Strawberry Studios with his bare hands - including the 48-in, 24-out mixing console - before he was 24 years old?! We are talking raving genius here. And he was only one of four.

So, what of 10CC's debut album? Given their "niche" in progressive pop, it was smashing. As an important aside, it is absolutely CRIMINAL that the order of the songs was changed for the CD re-issue (which was done simply to put the four "hits" up front). In this regard, I STRONGLY urge you to program the disc to play in the original order, as follows:

Johnny Don't Do It. With their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, 10CC begins their career with an homage to the 50s and early 60s, which starts in brilliant form with this quasi-doo wop anthem a la Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Opening with a cheesy Farfisa organ effect, it launches into a classic 50s I-VI-II-V progression (including hokey violins), a stereotypical 50s-style "good girl/bad boy" story, and includes a short rhythm guitar break using a spine-tingling effect that harks back to The Beatles' "Revolution." Simply one of the best opening songs on any debut album.

Sand in My Face. With a nod to The Beach Boys, 10CC take the famous Charles Atlas ads and create a hysterical scenario involving the weakling at the beach. With Gouldman on dobro, and Godley and Crème doing some of their wickedest parody, this is early 10CC at its very best. "Dynamic tension" indeed!

Donna. Another nod to Frankie Valli, this is the only song on the album that does not stand the test of time, even for 10CC.

The Dean and I. Here is the first indication of where 10CC was eventually headed. Opening with a quasi-prog vocal figure, the simple, funny, upbeat story is told over a subtly moving non-standard chord progression, and includes 10CC's first use of chromatics ("round and round and round.") - something they would become particularly fond of and use to good effect throughout their career. Best pun: "Church bells, three swells - the Dean, his daughter and me."

Headline Hustler. Opening with a neat drum and guitar figure, this send-up of the sensationalist press features Stewart on Harrison-style slide guitar, and a radical (for its subgenre) bass figure from Gouldman in the choruses. Although deceptively simple, this is definitely not "your mother's rock and roll."

Speed Kills. The first "experimental" track by the group. Opening with another odd drum and guitar figure, this bizarre blues builds steadily, and features excellent four- part harmonies, a credible high-pitched guitar solo from Stewart, and some neat harmony rhythm guitar from Stewart and Creme.

Rubber Bullets. Perhaps 10CC's best-known song (after I'm Not in Love and The Things We Do for Love), this straightforward homage to the early 60s features a "jailhouse rock" story with some great harmonies, neat effects and simple but tasteful guitar work from Stewart. Simply a joy to listen to just for fun. Best line: "We've all got balls and brains, but some's got balls and chains."

The Hospital Song. Huh? Excuse me? What is this? Strangely enough, it is a Zappa- esque composition with a "Flo and Eddie"-style vocal, a strange chord progression, and truly weird effects. It might not be "prog," but it sure aint "rock."

Ships Don't Disappear in the Night (Do They?). Another deceptively simple, quasi- experimental quasi-prog song. (Interestingly, despite their more "standard" songwriting backgrounds, it is Stewart and Gouldman who contribute the three most experimental songs on this album.) And remember: "You better be nice to Vincent Price."

Fresh Air for My Momma. An absolutely gorgeous ballad from Godley and Creme (which shows the direction they would be going), with one of Godley's most beautiful vocals over a constantly-changing chord progression. The song also has some excellent Stewart fills, and lifts a short passage from one of the songs on the Hotlegs album. A beautifully fitting close to a brilliant debut album.

[N.B. As for the bonus tracks, they all appear on a compilation album called 100cc, which has one of the band's best pre-10CC songs, called "18 Carat Man of Means." Of the five here, "Waterfall" is the best.]

Review by chessman
4 stars I agree wholeheartedly with maani's comments on this album. It's nice to see them on PA at last. I was a big fan in the early '70s, and had their first five albums, although the live one that followed actually put me off a little. This is a group best heard in a studio setting. They used state of the art production on all their albums, and, as has been mentioned before, they are often best heard through headphones - there is much going on at times. Funnily enough, a friend of mine bought me the remaster last Xmas, and, whilst it has the same bonus tracks as those listed above, the track listing on my copy is back in the original and correct running order. All the songs are wonderful: 'Johnny Don't Do It' has those brilliant harmonies and high pitched lead vocal from Lol Creme, who tended to be the main singer overall on the first couple of albums. 'Sand In My Face' is indeed a skit on those Charles Atlas adverts we used to find in magazines. 'Donna', for me, has stood the test of time, and still sounds great today. Similar to 'Johnny' in style and vocal, I bought the single and played it to death. 'The Dean And I' has, again, wonderful vocals, backing vocals, and tremendously funny lyrics. As already mentioned, all the lyrics on the album are superbly witty and funny. 'Headline Hustler' is an Eric Stewart led song, and is actually my least favourite. It is good, but not quite as good as the others, for me. A bit repetitive in the chorus, maybe. 'Speed Kills' is fast and flighty and predominantly instrumental. Very good, with the gizmo impersonating violins convincingly. 'Rubber Bullets' is a song my mother always liked. Very funny, with typical lead guitar from Eric Stewart. They had a happy knack, in those days, to have Lol Creme sing the verse, then to let Keving Godley supply some deep vocals in the quiet parts. Works wonderfully here. 'The Hospital Song', is also very clever, led again by Creme, with the others supplying nice choir like backing at the end. 'Ships Don't Disappear (Do They?)' is very clever, with lots of vocal parts and and a great melody. Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price all get honourable mentions here! 'Fresh Air For My Mama' is the sort of song they frequently suprised people with. A more sombre, more serious song than the rest, with fantastic vocals from Godley, a beautiful, quiet melody and lyrics to make you think. It also has a 'grand finale' at the end. The bonus tracks are all good, and I already owned all of them. 'Waterfall' is indeed the best here, and could have been an A side. Nice acoustic guitar intro, strong melody, and great chorus. 'Hot Sun Rock' is a nice instrumental, with an almost North American Indian meets rock feel to it. 'Rubber Bullets' is merely the single version, and not the same as my original single version either! '4% Of Something' is a standard rocker, and quite average for this band, as indeed is the last track, 'Bee In My Bonnet' sung by Gouldman. Nevertheless, there are no weak songs here. Very art rock, and very worth having, though some of the intricately sarcastic lyrics may be lost on people outside England. Four stars, easily.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars First album of a group that actually had recorded together on the two albums of British eccentric Ramases (who pretended to be a Pharaoh), and if the music on this debut album does not sound like Ramases' albums, believe me that this foursome learned a few tricks on the songwriting from him, as will be evident throughout their career. Now most progheads will wonder what 10 CC is doing in our beloved Archives? Well for starters these guys developed an impressive inventive pop with many catchy hooks, clever melodies (Beatles anyone?), a strong sense of humour and bizarre (Zappa and to a lesser extent Beefheart) and huge taste for pastiche or parody (Queen and again Zappa), so you should dig the inclusion a bit more by now.

Of course 10 CC will never be prog, neither do we have the pretension to make you believe, either. But this band's oeuvre as bizarre and strange it might be at first listen, definitely deserves to be listened to closer especially from the proghead's point of view. Not that the song's arrangements are particularly intricate, or that their individual virtuosity is tearing the roof of your ceiling, but their crafty rockish-pop (in the line of Roxy music and as opposed to Queen's pop-rock) is always extremely well-made. The pastiche element is one that is almost equal to Zappa's (I'm sure Frank would've considered 10 CC very worthy of his in some ways), and the vocal harmonies remind of Queen early albums also, although clearly none of the 10 CC members have Mercury's vocals. Except for the irritating Donna pastiche (one of their two hits) and its doo-wop Johnny, this debut album is a rather even record with a fairly restraint (comparatively to their next releases) palette. Fresh Air, Speed Kills, Dean And I are maybe the highlights on this album, but not that much for a proghead to sing his teeth into in this debut.

As a matter of fact, the most bothersome thing about this record is its pretentious artwork suggesting anarchy (the bomb and tag-paint) and there is not the slightest hint of it. The most one can look at is clever pop, the way Peter Gabriel, Queen, Roxy Music or even Supertramp (in their poppier moments) might just develop. Nothing worth investigating unless the proghead loves their "meatier" records. Pleasant pop anyway!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This true 10CC debut album already provides some indication of their later work. While listening to the burlesque and sophisticated "Rubber Bullets". Almost "Beach Boys" at times. The irresistible and even grotesque at times "Donna" has this oldies mood of the fifties with an incredible melody (but those guys know how to write melodic songs).

"Johnny Don't Do It" is almost a carbon copy. Same sort of hilarious vocals. Absolutely decadent and depraved. It is also true to say that when you are listening to this album, it is quite outdated but those vocal harmonies are so well done, those arrangements so perfect. You really need to concentrate carefully to discover all the richness of some songs which SEEM easy listening.

Once you have done this exercise, you will notice that this album offers not only timeless melodies but some more complex work than it appears at the first sight. You won't find anything prog here, only different music. Maybe therefore that the band was included in PA (and actually totally ignored when you see the ridiculous amount of reviews even for an album as "The Original Soundtrack"). But that's another 10CC story.

This is a good pop album sounding more like coming out of the sixties. Superb vocal harmonies ("A Fresh Air For My Momma") and a funny trip back then. Three stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album from 10CC is a very enjoyable album to me. I never really listened to 10CC but of course I have heard some of the hits in the radio. After purchasing some of their albums I have learned that there is more to this band than meets the ear on first listen. This is their debut though and the more complex structures and progressive ideas that would emerge on later albums weren´t as present here.

The music is in fact very inspired by fifties Doo Woop and R´n´b. It´s done with a gleam in the eye though much like Zappa did when he played this style. It´s clear to hear though that 10CC really like the style though and songs like Johnny, Don´t Do It, Donna and especially my favorite the more uptempo The Dean and I are great examples of this style. There are more to 10CC than that though and even though every song is very catchy and potentionally commercial there is always a twist to the songs that keep them exciting. This is typical for 10CC. They make commercial songs that if you scratch the surface are very complex and even progressive to some extent.

The musicianship is excellent throughout the album and especially the vocals impress me.

The production is otherworldly. This is just such an excellent production and as other reviewers has mentioned 10cc´s music is best heard through headphones. What´s even more impressive is that the production is done by Eric Stewart and not some fancy famous producer. This is the exception from the rule that musicians shouldn´t produce their own music.

This is a really good debut album, but 10CC will be even better on later albums and I´ll wait with the big star ratings for those. I think this deserves 3 stars for being a good complex pop album. This is something you just gotta hear for yourself to decide if this is something for you. I think it is very recommendable though.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album was a fairly good debut for what became a wonderful crossover prog band (yes, I said crossover prog). Although many of the tracks are humorous novelty songs (Donna and Johnny Don't Do It, parodies of fifties ballads, Sand In My Face and The Hospital Song, strange character songs), there is quite a bit to enjoy here.

Rubber Bullets, on the surface a retro pop tune, also introduces 10CC's ironic style, having Kevin Godley sing "Blood will flow..." in his angelic style. And The Dean & I has some great lyrical twists as well.

But the best track is Fresh Air For My Mama, although borrowing a bit from the group's previous incarnation, Hotlegs, is an inspired piece of progressive pop.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by TCat
5 stars For years, I had convinced myself that I was a huge 10CC fan based on a few songs that I absolutely adored and from hearing this album and "The Original Soundtrack". After finally having gone through all of their albums now several times, I find that the two full albums that I had originally are their best ones, with an honorable mention to "Bloody Tourists". All of the other albums I have finally given up on since I have only found a hand full of songs on them that I find interesting and the rest are just not living up to the original high bar that I had set with the band from the two previously mentioned albums.

So what makes this album one of the two favorites from this band? I love the variety here in the same manner that I love the variety in the best Queen albums. I love all the tweaks that they put in the simple melodies that elevate their pop music to a higher level, that actually begin to give pop music a progressive edge. On this album, most of the music is "sort-of" 50s and 60s style doo-wop and rock n roll, especially in the first 5 tracks, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, like I said before, they add little bits of ingenuity throughout that keep things interesting. The remainder of the tracks are more 70s pop oriented and all throughout the album, satire and sarcasm abound making it all a big poke of fun at the radio-friendly sounds that were around at the time. The humor is in the words as in "The Hospital Song" and "Sand in My Face". The humor is in the music too as in "Fresh Air for My Mama" which is as sarcastic of a ballad as you can get, so much so that if you are not careful, you might find your eyes welling up until you realize it's just making fun. Same applies to the song "Donna" which is a well sung poke at the simplistic lyrics of old 50s music and the utter silliness of it all, yet it is done so well that you can easily miss the humor of it all and think that it's in all seriousness. Subtle humor exists throughout and so does the subtleness of the progressiveness of the music, careful or you might miss it, which makes it even more enjoyable when you do get it.

Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong initially by trying to base my love of this band on only hearing 2 great albums. I should have been more familiar with their discography, but at least I can say that they had 2 masterpieces when it comes to pop-progressive music because if anyone knew how to do it well, it was these guys at least twice, which is more than most pop groups who can't even get close to a 2-star album throughout their entire career. 5 stars. A progressive-pop masterpiece if there ever was one.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 10cc is an English band that has got my interest for some years now. My first encounter was Bloody tourists which I found in my grandfather's house. That was before I got interested in progressive rock and then I though 10cc sounded so different from other rock music. The nearest connection was ... (read more)

Report this review (#1390544) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, March 30, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have always observed this band from far afar. I almost bought their Bloody Tourist cassette when I was 10 years old because it was advertised. My mother did not like the proto-black metal artwork so I was denied that joy. I got a cassette with Chicago instead. Over to the real debut album by ... (read more)

Report this review (#451232) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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