10cc has sold more than 30 million albums around the world and the band’s longevity is testament to their timeless songs, and reflecting Gouldman’s status as one of the world’s leading songwriters, he was inducted into America’s Songwriter’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York in June. Previous inductees include Noel Coward, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Elton John and Sting.
The band continues to traverse the globe and play countries as disparate as Iceland and South Africa, Latvia and Japan, as well as across Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the US.
Following a 26-date UK tour in October-November, early 2019 will see the band play three concerts in Japan, before touring Denmark, Sweden and Norway, followed by a 15-date major city UK tour and the band’s first concert in Moscow.
10cc returns to the UK’s prestigeous, 5,200-capacity Royal Albert Hall in London on 2 May 2019.
Gouldman attributes 10cc’s lasting appeal to the quality and individuality of the band’s songs. “They don’t seem to date; they are original, we never followed any trend we simple wrote for our own pleasure. The fact that the songs are being played as often on the radio today as they ever were shows how true that is,” he says.
0cc ruled the pop world at a time – the 1970s – when the charts were dominated by some of the most creative and colourful artistes in pop history.
Unlike David Bowie, Queen, Elton John or Rod Stewart – all of whom they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with for a decade – 10cc’s energies were not centred on image or celebrity-status, but on creating highly sophisticated rock masterworks with mainstream appeal.
Early influences on the band included The Beatles and the Beach Boys, but their palate proved wide. Says Gouldman: “For me it was people like Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Jimmy Webb, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. Eric [Stewart] was more rock ’n’ roll, the blues and R&B; while Kevin [Godley] and Lol [Creme] were into more artistic and avant-garde acts including Jacques Brel. It’s what happened when we put all those things together that made 10cc.”
The result was some of the greatest pop records of the 20th Century. From breakthrough hit Donna in 1972 to their final No 1, Dreadlock Holiday in 1978, via landmark releases including 1975 worldwide hit I’m Not In Love, 10cc stood for the kind of heightened pop sensibility achieved only by the very greatest music practitioners. As Rolling Stone magazine put it in 1975, ‘There is more going on in one 10cc song than on the last ten Yes albums.’
With hit song-writing credits with bands including the Yardbirds, Hollies and Herman’s Hermits under his belt, the early 1970s saw Gouldman and his compatriots reach new levels of creative endeavour.
He spent time in New York writing for bubblegum kings Jerry Kazenetz and Jeff Katz., but fed up with being away from home, he returned to the UK to record the songs he had written Stateside with his friends at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.
Back in Manchester, Stewart, Godley and Creme had also been busy, with Stewart testing a new four-track recorder that lead to the recording of Neanderthal Man, a track that went on to enjoy 14 weeks in the UK charts in 1970, peaking at No 2. The band was called Hotlegs and comprised Godley, Creme, Stewart, and briefly Gouldman.
In1972 Gouldman’s manager Harvey Lisberg (later to become 10cc’s manager) met Neil Sedaka, who was playing a residency at Batley Variety Club in Yorkshire. Sedaka’s career was in decline and Lisberg suggested he worked with the guys at Strawberry.
The result was Sedaka’s hit comeback album Solitaire, produced by Gouldman, Stewart, Godley and Creme, with Stewart acting as engineer.
“We all learned so much from those sessions. Neil’s sheer professionalism, musicianship and song-writing were inspiring,” says Gouldman.