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10CC

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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10cc picture
10cc biography
Formed in 1972, split in 1983 and reunited between 1991 and 1995.
Since 1999 a new version of the band has been touring but no new recordings have been released.

Deriving their name from the metric total of semen ejaculated by the average male, the tongue-in-cheek British art-pop band 10cc comprised an all-star roster of Manchester-based musicians. Vocalist/guitarist Graham Gouldman was a former member of The Mockingbirds and the author of hits for The Yardbirds, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits and Jeff Beck; singer/guitarist Eric Stewart was an alumn of Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders; and vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were both highly regarded studio players. All of them played on eccentric prog folk artist RAMASES' 1971 studio album "Space Hymns".

10cc began in 1970 as a session unit dubbed Hotlegs; after establishing residence at Stewart's Strawberry Studios, Hotlegs scored a surprise U.K. smash hit with the single "Neanderthal Man," subsequently issuing an LP, "Thinks: School Times", and touring with The Moody Blues.
After signing to Jonathan King's U.K. label and rechristening themselves 10cc (a name suggested by King himself), the group backed Neil Sedaka before recording 1972's "Donna," a sly satire of late-'50s doo-wop. The single reached Number Two on the British charts, establishing not only a long-running string of major hits, but also the quartet's fondness for ironic and affectionate reclamations of musty pop styles. The follow-up, "Rubber Bullets," topped the charts in 1973, and both the subsequent single "The Dean and I" and a self-titled debut LP further solidified 10cc as a major force in British pop.

While 1974's "Sheet Music" and singles, including the Brian Wilson-esque "Wall Street Shuffle," "Silly Love" and "Life Is a Minestrone" continued 10cc's dominance of the U.K. charts, they found the American market virtually impenetrable prior to the release of 1975's "I'm Not in Love," which topped the British charts and climbed as high as Number Two in the States. After 1975's "Original Soundtrack" and the next year's "How Dare You!", Godley and Creme left the band to focus on video production, as well as developing the 'Gizmo', a guitar modification device the duo invented. In the wake of their departure, Gouldman and Stewart continued on alone, enlisting the aid of session men to record 1977's "Deceptive Bends", highlighted by the pe...
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10CC discography


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10CC top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.56 | 23 ratings
Hotlegs: Thinks - School Stinks
1970
3.59 | 107 ratings
10cc
1973
3.68 | 142 ratings
Sheet Music
1974
3.75 | 162 ratings
The Original Soundtrack
1975
3.73 | 158 ratings
How Dare You!
1976
3.24 | 128 ratings
Deceptive Bends
1977
3.27 | 113 ratings
Bloody Tourists
1978
2.24 | 55 ratings
Look Hear?
1980
2.91 | 50 ratings
10 Out Of 10
1981
2.26 | 50 ratings
Windows In The Jungle
1983
2.54 | 44 ratings
...Meanwhile
1992
1.99 | 40 ratings
Mirror Mirror
1995

10CC Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 11 ratings
10cc Live in Concert
1977
3.88 | 25 ratings
Live And Let Live
1977
3.15 | 8 ratings
Alive
1993
3.11 | 10 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour
1996

10CC Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.26 | 4 ratings
Alive - Classic Hits Tour
2001
2.63 | 5 ratings
Live In Japan
2004

10CC Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.56 | 7 ratings
100CC Greatest Hits of 10CC
1975
3.53 | 20 ratings
Greatest Hits 1972- 1978
1979
3.92 | 6 ratings
Two Classic Albums by 10cc
1990
2.25 | 3 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.02 | 15 ratings
The Very Best of 10cc
1997
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Complete UK Recordings 1972-1974
2004
3.08 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits... And More
2006
3.50 | 2 ratings
10CC (Platinum Collection)
2007
3.09 | 4 ratings
Tenology
2012

10CC Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 6 ratings
Donna
1972
3.67 | 3 ratings
Waterfall
1973
4.25 | 8 ratings
The Wall Street Shuffle
1974
4.84 | 12 ratings
I'm Not in Love
1975
3.50 | 4 ratings
I'm Mandy, Fly Me
1976
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Things We Do for Love
1976
4.20 | 5 ratings
Dreadlock Holiday
1978
4.00 | 2 ratings
Don't Turn Me Away
1981
4.50 | 2 ratings
Memories
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Les Nouveaux Riches
1981

10CC Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Original Soundtrack by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.75 | 162 ratings

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The Original Soundtrack
10cc Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a worthy followup to "Sheet Music" in fact it feels like they have become even more adventerous even though I still prefer "Sheet Music". "The Original Soundtrack" was released in 1975 and featured maybe my favourite ballad called "I'm Not In Love". This is a band who could write great lyrics and this song can certainly boast about that. The atmosphere, electric piano but those words. Nothing else the band did sounds like this and certainly not on this record.

Two of my biggest "take aways" in checking out 10CC's music was one, just how much humour there is in it. I mean I thought of Zappa a lot when I checked out "Sheet Music" but there's less of that Zappa sound here. The other thing that surprised me was how much the vocals and arrangements screamed QUEEN. Contemporaries all the way so it's interesting. That QUEEN flavour that was on "Sheet Music" is blown up here, it's all over "The Original Soundtrack". They are an interesting parallel QUEEN and 10CC with of course one being more Rock and the other more Pop, but I'm betting if you were a fan of one, you were a fan of the other.

"I'm Not In Love" is the outstanding track on here, I'm not huge on anything else including the opener that sounds so much like QUEEN and I've just never been the biggest QUEEN fan. The piano and harmonies bring them to mind and this does get theatrical including some silliness. Oh man disco came to mind with "Blackmail" no thanks, and while I like track four, the lyrics not so much. Sugary vocals on "Brand New Day" and QUEEN-like harmonies. "Life Is A Minestrone" is fun and the closer "The Film Of My Love" is all about the nostalgia. My parents might have liked this one.

I'm already looking forward to spending time with their next record to see how they developed or changed. Such a talented band.

 Sheet Music by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.68 | 142 ratings

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Sheet Music
10cc Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars All I knew about 10CC back in the 70's was the songs I heard by them on the radio. So it was very surprising to listen this one for the first time. The witty lyrics, the quirky sounds, the vocal arrangements all bringing to mind either Frank Zappa or QUEEN much of the time. There are some inappropriate lyrics for sure and silliness rules the day here.

I don't remember hearing any of these songs back in the 70's although apparently "The Wall Street Shuffle" and "Silly Love" were released as singles. Honestly I will repeat myself a lot if I describe each track. Lots of piano, plenty of guitar, both upped by the vocals and silliness. "The Worst Band In The World" is a sarcastic track with the focus on the vocals and Zappa came to mind.

My least favourite song is "Hotel" for the lyrics and silliness. "Old Wise Men" isn't much better. I thought of QUEEN on "Somewhere In Hollywood" the longest track at over 6 minutes. "Baron Samedi" is a nervous sounding piece, quite jittery. Rough vocals at times. Zappa came to mind in spades on "The Sacro-Lliac" with those vocal arrangements. The closer has a country vibe to it and is a catchy vocal driven tune.

Not my music at all but I enjoyed spending time with it, a talented band. They were Neil Sedaka's backing band? Lol.

 How Dare You! by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.73 | 158 ratings

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How Dare You!
10cc Prog Related

Review by gbjones

3 stars Other reviewers say this is not prog. Well, it is not. In 1975 we returned to the US from vacation and they were playing "I'm Not In Love" nonstop. One of the greatest songs of all time. Maybe it was that, but *something* prompted me to buy this album almost 50 years later. Not only is it not prog, but it has only a handful of catchy pop songs mixed with talking and humor; maybe three or four good ones including "I Wanna Rule the World", "Dont Hang Up". As a true prog listener I tired even of those after about two days. No depth there. It remains a puzzle why some groups like this get a pass but others are subjected to a lengthy prog/not prog debate (Kansas comes to mind). I hesitate to give negative reviews, reserving two stars for things I really hate and three stars go to things that other people think are great but I do not. Giving it the benefit of the doubt I have a copy of Sheet Music on order. For the meantime this can has 2.5 stars rounding up to three. Definitely nonessential.
 Les Nouveaux Riches by 10CC album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Les Nouveaux Riches
10cc Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars 'Les Nouveaux Riches' is a mediocre song from the mediocre 10cc album titled 10 Out Of 10 (1981). The loss of misters Godley and Creme from the line-up was a major blow artistically. Eric Stewart, the remaining driving force of the group -- probably more dominating than Graham Gouldman as a singer and songwriter -- managed to continue writing hits such as 'Dreadlock Holiday' but that's another song I'd call mediocre and boring on the long run. And terribly overplayed, sad to say. The way also this French-titled but otherwise English-language song incorporates light reggae / calypso flavor really feels like a worn-out cliché. What's nice here are the vocal harmonies but this is not a song I'd care to listen repeatedly.

The B side song is in my opinion better. 'I Hate to Eat Alone', taken from the previous album Look Hear? (1980), is a relaxed and calm minor key song, perhaps a bit trivial but fairly enjoyable. If it was a non-album track I might round my 2½ stars upwards, but two stars will do.

 Tenology by 10CC album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Tenology
10cc Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the most comprehensive 10cc box set ever released. Four cd's, a DVD plus a 104-page book. Even though the musical contents could be discussed in a marathon depth review, I'll be relatively short. The physical size of the box is decent: the thickness of four centimetres is a bit more than necessary, but at least the overall size remains within the common measures of a book (as opposed to some boxes I've seen that are in a vinyl size despite containing cd's instead of vinyls). The hard-cover book features Paul Lester's long and well written article on the history and essence of the band, supplemented with a handful of band photos, and the lyrics for all songs of the entire set, with a nice background design of graphics and drawings in many various styles.

For compilations I am always quite demanding about the discographic information, and sadly in this matter Tenology leaves a lot to be desired. The book doesn't contain any information besides lyrics which feels a bit strange. The backsides of the discs' cardboard sleeves show the release year and the authors of each track, and gracefully also the track lengths. But the release information concerning the ALBUMS is entirely missing. I think the essay mentions studio albums in an off-hand way, not necessarily all of them and certainly not in a way to help keeping track while listening to the box set. Of course to an advanced 10cc connoisseur this hardly matters much. Those consumers preferring the album centred approach in compilations may get slightly frustrated by the fact that the SINGLES dominate the selection. The first and second disc contain mainly single tracks (and furthermore it's unclear which songs are not singles). The third disc gathers album tracks from 10cc (1973) to Bloody Tourist (1978), and the fourth disc is dedicated to B-sides and rarities.

The roughly 94-minute DVD contains Top of the Pops appearances, BBC's concert dating from August 1974, four other TV performances (1974 and 1982) plus ten promo videos. Many of them haven't stood the test of time very well.

As the essay also admits, the departure of Godley and Creme after How Dare You! (1976) decreased the artistic diversity and witty innovativeness of 10cc's music. Not much is written about the later years and albums concentrating on the craftmanship of Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman. With a box set of this size one would expect to learn more about the later and less essential periods too. The selection pretty much ends with the mentioned 1978 album best remembered for the mock-reggae hit 'Dreadlock Holiday'. That said, I found the post- 1976 songs far less interesting than the halcyon days of the quartet line-up.

A dedicated fan will already have the big majority of the contents which makes purchasing this box set rather unnecessary. However, the fourth disc containing B-sides is bound to offer many interesting new discoveries, some quite nice songs if some irritating ones too. Again, a pity that it's not mentioned which singles they originally appeared on. All in all, Tenology could have been an awesome dive into the history of 10cc, but I really would have preferred a clearer and more album oriented approach.

 Donna by 10CC album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
3.04 | 6 ratings

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Donna
10cc Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I remember listening to this actual single at home as a very young boy, in the late 70's. My big brother had it. I was probably under ten years old, so it must have been several years before listening to music actively (not just "passively", thanks to my big brother and sister) became a hobby for me. The tongue-in-cheek ironic song 'Donna' made an unforgettable impression to the little kid. The falsetto vocals made me wonder if one of the singers was a woman or a man, confused further by the way the voice changes pitch midway. And the telephone call part, it added an exciting sense of drama and theatrics. I wasn't aware that the music was a parody of the 50's doo-wop style.

'Donna' was the first single of the Manchester-based quartet named as 10cc by their producer Jonathan King. The musical backgrounds of Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart go back to mid-sixties -- both as musicians and, especially in the case of Graham Gouldman, as songwriters. Even the same foursome were working together in various projects before the birth of 10cc. 'Donna' was a success. It was chosen by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Tony Blackburn as his Record of the Week, helping to launch it into the Top 30. The song peaked at No. 2 in the UK in October 1972. The eponymous debut album containing the song was released the next year.

Of the B side instrumental piece 'Hot Sun Rock' I didn't have any memories. It's not bad at all albeit a bit trivial. It has a slight feel that it's just an unfinished song, missing the vocals and lyrics. It didn't appear on the album, nor has it much seen the light of day in retrospective releases of 10cc.

Today I couldn't list 'Donna' among my favourite 10cc songs (I'm not fond of doo-wop or fifties pop), but it's definitely an interesting debut!

 Bloody Tourists by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.27 | 113 ratings

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Bloody Tourists
10cc Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Even though two of the main songwriters for 10cc (Godley & Crème) left before the release of "Deceptive Bends", the band still continued and ended up releasing their 2nd top 10 international hit "The Things We Do For Love" and had a bit of success with that album also. The band had a successful tour following this and ended up putting two of the tour members in as regular band members, Tony O'Malley and Stuart Tosh. The band was now a 6-man line-up. They also released a live album in 1977 which also was somewhat successful, so they were ready for their next studio album.

"Bloody Tourists" was released in 1978, but new member O'Malley was ended up being replaced by keyboardist Duncan Mackay for the recording of this album. The original half of the band, Gouldman and Stewart, would write almost all of the music for the album, even though they had proven on "Deceptive Bends" that they were not necessarily the strongest half of the original foursome. However, this time around, they would put together a better album with stronger songs than the previous one.

This is proven immediately with the tongue-in-cheek humor returning most brilliantly in the reggae-tinged "Dreadlock Holiday" which would become their 3rd international top 10 hit. It seems that the songwriting duo might have learned some things and spent more time with the songs this time around. This song was inspired by actual events that happened to Stewart and also Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues singer). Interestingly, the single didn't do so well in North America, even though I remember hearing it on the radio and loving it. The band suspected the reason it didn't do so well is that some radio stations in America refused to play reggae of any kind, which could be true. Either way, it is a fun song. "Just You & I" comes next and was the 4th single that the band released from the album. This song and the other singles didn't do so well as they didn't really chart anywhere interestingly enough. However, this track is a great follow up to the opening track, a bit slower in the verses with an upbeat chorus with an infectious hook and a nice, almost haunting instrumental break. It had everything it needed to be a hit, but my guess is that by this time most people probably had the album.

"Take These Chains" begins with more guitar, which was noticeably missing on the previous tracks, but comes back here to provide nice introduction and rhythmic jangle through the track. Tempo changes keep it interesting and yet it is quite accessible and bright throughout, almost seeming like ELO at some points. "Shock on the Tube" has a pensive beginning and a Beatle-esque style once the faster rockish tempo kicks in. This also reminds me of some of the earlier 10cc songs and that is a good thing, especially with the smart guitar solo break in the middle and the almost honky- tonk sounding piano riffs that drive the song forward. "Last Night" tends to lean more towards a less interesting more pop-centric track, co-written by Rick Fenn and Gouldman. It's okay, but not really that memorable and would fit better on the previous album with it's more mediocre style. The album threatens to drag at this point, however, it is quickly saved by the next track. This side ends with "The Anonymous Alcoholic", the longest track on the album at over 5 minutes. It's a cool, moderately slow blues number with some great guitar and low register vocals to match the tone of the songs topic, presented with the trademark 10cc humor. They even make fun of the disco craze in the middle section as our drunken hero in the lyrics tries to show off on the dance floor. Again, one is reminded of 10cc in their better days. After the extended middle section, we return to the original slow, crawl as reality sets back in for the alcoholic to come to a hilarious ending.

Six more tracks fill the 2nd side of the album. So, yes there is a threat that things might end up becoming mediocre. It starts off with the 2nd attempt at a single "Reds in My Bed" co-written and co-sung by Tosh and Stewart. It's quite obvious why this one didn't score so well as a single as it is quite forgettable and doesn't really hit the mark along with the fact that it is lyrically heavy and not strong enough melodically. "Life Line" goes for a more acoustic style and is a nice track that provides bit of variety to the album plus a return to a soft, reggae-vibe in the chorus. "Tokyo" is more of a soft ballad, a love song of sort to the titular city. It's not as accessible as some of the other tracks, but that is the thing that is appealing about it. There are some nice dreamy keyboard and guitar interplay in the instrumental break, plus it hints at progressive style. "Old Mister Time" is co-written by Mackay and Stewart, the third and last track on the album co-written by the new members of the band. It seems that the songs co-written by the other members of the band are the weaker ones, but thankfully they don't drag things down too much. That being said, this is the most interesting of the three as it is also a bit more complex. But, again, it just doesn't hit the mark and actually drags a bit. This is all saved by the excellent "From Rochdale to Ocho Rios" with somewhat tropical beat, funny lyrics and a sing-a- long chorus that should have been one of those concert favorites. The steel drums are a nice touch, but a little bit more of an exaggerated tropical beat would probably have been the thing to send this track over the top. Finally, the closer is "Everything You've Wanted to Know About!!! (Exclamation Marks)". More tongue-in-cheek humor about misinterpreting signals between the sexes.

For me, this would be the 3rd excellent album from the band. Not quite as great as their self-titled album or "The Original Soundtrack" album, but definitely one of their best and it shows Stewart and Gouldman's songwriting talents much better that "Deceptive Bends" did, though the thing that brings the album down a notch is the three songs that are co-written by the "other" members of the band. As much as I respect the band, though, none of their other albums do much for me (except for the two previously mentioned albums and this one), but this is one that I love even though there is very little progressive style in it, it's still very enjoyable and fun and one I would recommend. 4 stars.

 Deceptive Bends by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.24 | 128 ratings

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Deceptive Bends
10cc Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars In 1976, tensions and personality clashes were starting to get the best of the members of 10cc, however, they started working on their fifth album "Deceptive Bends" anyway. Once the first track, "People in Love", was finished, they considered it awful, and this was the straw that divided the classic band. Kevin Godley and Lol Crème went off to do their own album leaving Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman to try to pull together the album on their own.

Those that had been following the band would notice a difference. This album was much more pop-oriented and less artsy as before. The songs were straightforward leaving behind a lot of the imagination and original feel of previous albums. Yet, Stewart and Gouldman were encouraged because this would become their biggest selling album with their most popular hit "The Things We Do For Love" carrying the album. There is a good chance you know this song, so you can pretty much tell from that song where the band was going with only half of the songwriting part of the band missing.

The first half of the album is the most accessible with the most famous songs on it. The upbeat and driving beat of "Good Morning Judge" will almost make you thing the band hasn't suffered much from the division. This song was the 2nd single from the album and it continued the band's string of top 10 songs in the UK. There is a bit of wry humor there, but the song is pretty straightforward. This is followed by the extremely popular "The Things We Do for Love", the song that almost everyone knows by the band, reaching the top 10 in at least 6 countries including the US. But, as most people know, it's straightforward pop. It's interesting that on this album the most radio friendly songs are by Stewart. "Marriage Bureau Rendezvous" is the first song on the album by Gouldman. This one is a mid-tempo track and has no real hooks or anything that makes it memorable. "People in Love" is the 3rd single from the album, and is a nice ballad that for some reason didn't do well on the charts, barely making a dent in the top 100 anywhere even if it somewhat mirrors "I'm Not in Love", an earlier mega hit from the band. It's also quite straightforward, but I find it more interesting than "The Things We Do?." with a nice, somewhat orchestral instrumental break. The first side ends with "Modern Man Blues" tries for a bluesy style, but seems a bit washed out even with some attempt at raspy vocals. At least we get a few shifts in tempo where it speeds up a bit to a boogie riff for short sections. Unfortunately, it's too overproduced to be taken seriously.

Side 2 goes for a more art-pop sound, but the slickness of it all tends to drain any spirit out of the record. "Honeymoon with B Troop" goes for a tricky Beatlesque style and takes another stab at lightheartedness, but the humor just doesn't work. "I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor" tries to recall some progressive sound by chords being worked into the lyrics while the music shifts as the chords are mentioned. It's a short song, a novel idea, but goes over most people's head and doesn't save the album. "You've Got a Cold" also tries to be funny trying to bring back the banal humor of the band, but it just comes across as silly with the music being as mundane as the lyrics. This used to be a strength of the band, putting the mundane to great instrumentation and melody, but this time they forgot to make the music interesting. The album ends with the 11 minute suite "Feel the Benefit" divided up into 3 sections. Again, this is inspired by The Beatles sound. "Reminisce and Speculate" begins with a chord progression similar to "Dear Prudence", then brings in an orchestra before vocals begin. This one is definitely more complex, however, once again, there is nothing there that really hooks the listener into the song, at least through the first part. After a guitar solo, the 2nd section, "A Latin Break" finally introduces a bass-induced riff and a reggae beat, making it a bit more poppy sounding. After some more vocals, the guitar riff fades into the 3rd section "Fell the Benefit", which brings back a lot of the themes from the first section, more vocals, and finally a guitar solo that ends suddenly. Yes it sound interesting, but I challenge anyone to try to recall anything about it once it's done.

So, the main problems here are 1) half of the band is missing, apparently the most imaginative half, 2) the other half that remains tries way to hard to cover for the missing half and it is painfully obvious, and 3) the production is way to slick and overdone, so everything just sounds "plastic" to me. On top of this, most of the music isn't that interesting and the humor is painfully missing. When it's all said and done, the only things you remember is that there are 2 songs that are somewhat familiar and 1 that was overly played. The rest of the album is just too mediocre and a great example of what happens when a band tries way too hard to cover the fact that they are just not all there anymore. Sure, it's not as embarrassingly poppy like Ambrosia's "One-Eighty" album, but it's just not really that great either. In the long run, it only brought in new fans for the short haul as most pop fans just didn't get it. They ended up losing their appreciative fans who decided that the band had gone too commercial, and they never really had any follow up success after this album.

 The Original Soundtrack by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.75 | 162 ratings

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The Original Soundtrack
10cc Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

5 stars Not only was this the breakthrough album for 10CC internationally, but it was the beginning of my obsession with the band when I was quite young. For that reason, I love this album, mostly for personal nostalgic reasons, and I have avoided reviewing this album because it would be somewhat slanted. But, when it comes down to it, most reviews are slanted toward personal preferences anyway, right?

Though I was obsessed with this band for a while, I was also disappointed since I based my love for the the band on this album and their debut, self-titled album, which are their best. "Bloody Tourists" comes close, but after that, except for a track every once in a while, the other albums never did anything much for me no matter how hard I tried.

At the time of the release of this album, the band was pretty much broke. However, they had one song that saved them from total popularity failure, and that was "I'm Not in Love", which has always been a personal favorite of mine and still is. It was this song that convinced the record label to back up the album, and, as we all know, was the thing that saved the band from totally becoming forgotten. The other songs for the album were already recorded, so the album was released within a week of the promise of backing up the album. Thank goodness!

The album starts off with a operetta, a three movement suite called "One Night in Paris", a totally progressive song that tells the story of a British traveler experiencing prostitution in Paris, a somewhat satirically funny track that could very well have been the thing that inspired Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". An excellent start to this album, and it made the critics and public sit up a listen. Following this is "I'm Not in Love", that lush and beautiful ballad that almost everyone knows. For me, it brings back memories of my pre-teen years, lying on my bed in my bedroom with my transistor radio on my pillow playing this song and watching the summer breezes billowing the curtains and my first experience of where music could take me if I let it. This is followed by "Blackmail", another satirical song that has a cool beat and features some of the experimental signature guitar sound of the band with a backdrop of art pop funkiness.

The fun continues onto the 2nd side with another favorite of mine, "The Second Sitting for the Last Supper", a stab at religion and a multi-layered, yet rocking track that still shows the many side of the band; their pop singing sound that has a level of complexity to the song structure, with vocal styles that reflect the faux exuberance of the chorus that always leads into a hard rocking guitar solo and riff. This is what the band does best, when it mixes so many styles into one song and make it all seem so natural. "Brand New Day" eases up a bit with a more theatrical, symphonic sounding track, again with that layer of sarcasm in trying to make the redundancy of living one day after another into something interesting, but you can almost see it all acted out on a stage. "Flying Junk" wears it's Beatles inspired sound on it's sleeve, but it is just complex enough to make it interesting. It's a mid-tempo rocker featuring a nice guitar solo in the instrumental break, a bit of a dark feeling with meticulously placed chords and simple embellishments throughout. "Life is a Minestrone" is the hilarious political and societal comment that became the second single from the album, one that was somewhat known around America, but not as huge as "I'm Not in Love" probably because of the lyrical content not being as relatable. The chorus flips the somewhat complex bridge to a basic boogie style, and these meter changes might have been too much for most of the pop audience. Even so, it's a great song. The last track is the very- retro sounding "The Film of My Love", that sounds like a lounge song from the early 60s, something that you might hear serving as a theme song from an old movie, with the words "over and over" being repeated over and over again. Funny, but probably not the best way to end the album.

This album is definitely the most progressive of the band's albums. It also proves that art pop can be progressive as it takes the style made famous by The Beatles and takes it up a few more levels, and even manages, most of the time, to keep it sounding relevant. I'm not exactly sure if the American public understood the satire in 10cc's songs or the complexity of their pop style, but it never became the classic album that it deserves to be. I wish the ending wasn't so weak, but I understand the humor behind it all. Even with that though, I still consider this an art rock masterpiece that so often gets overlooked because it has that pop edge to it, but if you really listen to the music, you can hear the brilliance and the dashes of progressive music behind most of the songs on this album.

 Sheet Music by 10CC album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.68 | 142 ratings

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Sheet Music
10cc Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Our second album wasn't our difficult second album, it was our best second album. It was the best second album we ever did." - Graham Gouldman.

Sheet Music is the second album of 10cc (not counting the 1970 album under the name Hotlegs). Occasionally flirting with the early rock'n'roll stylings, luckily less than the eponymous debut, it is not quite as fine and coherent as the next albums, The Original Soundtrack (1975) and my personal favourite How Dare You! (1976), but the charmingly original and witty songwriting and arranging style shared by the tight quartet of Stewart, Gouldman, Godley & Creme is definitely blooming here as well. 'The Harlem Street Shuffle' is a catchy opener. For a few seconds it's almost like any other funk rocker with powerful riffs, but it contains many clever details along the way, and especially the multi-level vocal parts are genuine. 'The Worst Band in the World' is amusing in its ironic approach. Pure 10cc excellence -- something that may irritate the listener in too big doses.

'Hotel' starts in a bizarre and experimental manner with whirling synths and delicate vocals before turning into a lively celebration of a tropical holiday. Thank god the next track 'Old Wise Men' is a serene slow-tempo song with a more spacey soundscape, and those great vocal harmonies. 'Clockwork Creep' and 'Silly Love' are over-the-top hilarious, fast paced songs: The Alan Parsons Project song 'Pyramania' pales in comparison in that matter, but this cheek-in-tongue craziness is not really what I enjoy on the long run.

'Somewhere in Hollywood' (6:37) has nearly an epic feel and it stays quite calm, which is a good thing in this album context. I frankly don't like 'Baron Samedi', especially for the "rough" vocals. 'The Sacro-Iliac' is a little vocal harmony oriented song, and also 'Oh Effendi' reminds me of Frank Zappa at his most humorous [=irritating]. For a fan of this quirky band Sheet Music is among the most essential albums, but I advice newcomers to start with e.g. How Dare You! 3½ stars rounded down.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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