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From left to right; Lol Creme, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Graham Gouldman.

"It's one thing to know it, but another to admit; we're the worst band in the world, but we don't give a..."

10cc are a British art rock/pop rock band from the Manchester area. The original lineup consisted of former Mindbender Eric Stewart, successful songwriter for hire Graham Gouldman, and session musicians Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. While all were multi-instrumentalists, the standard arrangement was Stewart and Creme on a guitar/keyboard match, Gouldman on bass, and Godley on drums.

The band members had worked together frequently starting in the late 1960s, often participating in recording sessions at Strawberry Studios, a recording complex co-owned by Stewart and Gouldman. Creme, Godley and Stewart scored a worldwide hit with "Neanderthal Man", credited to Hotlegs, in 1970. In 1972, they decided to formally band together as a quartet.

This lineup recorded four albums in the early to middle seventies, gaining in popularity and enjoying a hit single in “I’m Not in Love”. Afterward Godley and Creme split to make more experimental records before becoming a busy music video directing team. Stewart and Gouldman continued on in a pop rock vein, having two more hit albums before things quieted down. The original lineup reunited in the early nineties before breaking up again in 1995. Graham Gouldman formed a new lineup in 1999 and they’ve continued to tour since then.

Fun fact: The band name was suggested by their first manager, Jonathan King, who dreamt about an act with that name on stage making it big. Urban Legend says he thought it to be the average measure of a man's ejaculate. The real volume is about a quarter of that.

Studio discography:

  • 1973 - 10cc
  • 1974 - Sheet Music
  • 1975 - The Original Soundtrack
  • 1976 - How Dare You!
  • 1977 - Deceptive Bends
  • 1978 - Bloody Tourists
  • 1980 - Look Hear?
  • 1981 - Ten out of 10
  • 1983 - Windows in the Jungle
  • 1992 - ...Meanwhile
  • 1995 - Mirror Mirror

Tropes associated with 10cc:

  • Affectionate Parody: "Donna" is this for cheesy love songs. It may have been deliberately referencing the Ritchie Valens song of the same name.
  • Album Title Drop: In "Woman in Love" off of ...Meanwhile.
    I don't know why it's the way of the world, the way of the world...
    But meanwhile...
  • Anti-Love Song: Subverted in “I’m Not in Love”, in which the “not” is a thin bit of denial.
  • Ascended Extras: The band's principal members were active in the sixties writing hit records for other people to become famous with, such as "Evil-hearted You", "For Your Love" and "Heart Full of Soul" for The Yardbirds, and "Pamela, Pamela" for the Mindbenders. They also worked as session musicians for other artists. Then they wondered if they could do it for themselves...
    • Paul Burgess was originally the band's touring drummer who would play when Kevin was singing. After Kevin and Lol left, he was promoted to the band's main drummer, a position he still holds to this day.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Played With, in that all four original members were the face depending on the song. However, Eric Stewart sang most of the band's best-known songs, and Graham Gouldman is the only founding member left.
  • Blackmail Backfire: "Blackmail": A man has "compromising" photos of a woman and threatens her with their release. Not only is she not intimidated, but she and her husband sell them to Playboy and she winds up becoming a star.
  • Blatant Lies/Bad Liar: Every single time the singer of “I’m Not in Love” drops the title or otherwise hints at it, it is a clear example of this trope. This was done deliberately, as Stewart felt that saying “I love you” to his wife too frequently would cheapen the meaning of the phrase, so he wrote a song that repeatedly said “I’m not in love with you”, but then proceeded to list all the reasons he could never leave the relationship.
  • Book Ends: Windows In The Jungle opens with the 8 minute epic "24 Hours", which starts off with jungle noises. The album ends with another epic, "Taxi Taxi", which not only ends with the same jungle sounds that started the album, but also reprises many elements of "24 Hours".
  • The Bus Came Back: Years after leaving 10cc and becoming successful music video directors, Godley and Creme directed the video for 1983's "Feel the Love", a single from Windows in the Jungle.
  • Call-Back: "I'm Mandy Fly Me" has a brief clip of their earlier song "Clockwork Creep" in its intro.
  • Careful with That Axe: Lol Creme's dictator screams in "I Wanna Rule The World".
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: A name drop only; "Sand in my Face" has the singer live out the Charles Atlas ad complete from getting sand kicked in his face to using the exercise to get back at his bully.
  • Concept Album: Windows In The Jungle is the only straightforward example. Some other albums, such as The Original Soundtrack, Bloody Tourists, and ...Meanwhile have a loose theme running throughout, but calling them concept albums would be stretching it.
    • Godley & Creme's post-10cc debut, Consequences, is an especially ambitious example of this, telling one continuous story over the course of a triple album.
  • Continuity Nod: "Anonymous Alcoholic" reuses a line from the B-Side "Get It While You Can" ("Everybody's having fun, so why be the one left out in the cold?").
  • Creepy Old-Fashioned Diving Suit: The Hipgnosis artwork for Deceptive Bends has both the band members and an unknown guest star character wearing old diving suits. It's a Visual Pun based on "the bends of a diver".
  • Dance Sensation: Parodied in "The Sacro-iliac".
  • Epic Rocking: “Une Nuit a Paris”, "Feel The Benefit", "24 Hours", and "Taxi Taxi".
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Creme, Godley and Gouldman were all childhood acquaintances.
  • Gay Paree: Parodied to the hilt in "Une Nuit a Paris", complete with overdone accents.
  • Genre-Busting:
    • Because they were really the first band to deconstruct the pop song, each bandmember could put a bit of everything they knew into the songwriting, arrangement, recording and production process. To take two extremes: Gouldman and Godley. Gouldman, being a writer of the more typical pop song of the time, would use a very standard pop form but with emphasis on making that form the best it could be. Godley, being a total nonconformist at any time, would put what he wanted into what was probably a very unconventional form which was likely interpreted by the whole band.
    • This extended to those who weren't on writing duties for a specific song. I.e: Godley's suggestion that "I'm Not In Love" be changed from a standard bossanova into what it became; a song which used dense vocal harmonies and minimal instrumentation. For example, Gouldman could play a jazz bassline over which Stewart would bring in a soul piano, Creme might give it some funk and Godley a rhumba beat. But their parts would be further deconstructed into what was usable in realistic terms and needed for that particular song. The results of this process can't really be explained beyond that and need to be heard.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Modern Man Blues"
    Now a man can move much faster
    Without a millstone around his neck
    So if you get the chance to lose it
    You've gotta drop it and run like heck
  • Harassing Phone Call: The back cover of How Dare You! shows a woman receiving a call from a Dirty Old Man in a phone booth who's wrapped his handkerchief around the mouthpiece.
  • Lighter and Softer: By their own admission, Stewart and Gouldman made Deceptive Bends a much more pop-oriented album to show that they could still have hits without Godley and Creme.
  • Live Album: Live and Let Live, recorded shortly after Deceptive Bends was released, with the first post-Godley & Creme lineup. They do an admirable job of translating the sophisticated studio recordings to a concert setting.
  • The London Underground: The setting of "Shock on the Tube (Don't Want Love)". The singer thinks he's seen his dream girl on the Underground, but it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Looped Lyrics: The pre-10cc Hotlegs hit "Neanderthal Man" is just one verse repeated many times with some variations.
    I'm a Neanderthal man
    You're a Neanderthal girl
    Let's make Neanderthal love
    In this Neanderthal world
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The band does this quite a bit. "Somewhere in Hollywood" sounds like a wide eyed appreciation of Tinseltown. The more you listen the more it comes to seem like several Horrible Hollywood scenarios seen through a druggy haze. "Rubber Bullets" is a danceable little number about a Prison Riot. "Dreadlock Holiday" is a pleasant reggae song about a tourist in Jamaica desperately trying to talk his way out of a mugging.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Almost entirely avoided. "I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor" (1:48) from Deceptive Bends was their only song to run less than two minutes.
  • Money Song: Several. “Wall Street Shuffle” and "Art for Art's Sake" are both cynical songs about how you need to make money, and a lot of it; Gouldman even referred to "Art for Art's Sake" in an interview as the "inevitable money song" on its album. The final verse of "The Dean and I" counts too.
  • No Ending: "Feel The Benefit". This nearly 12 minute song climaxes with a 2 minute guitar solo that just abruptly stops.
    • "Don't Hang Up" also has this by way of the singer being hung up on; it cuts off midway through a line and fades out with a dial tone.
  • One-Woman Song: "Donna"
  • Poor Communication Kills: “The Things We Do for Love”.
    Communication is the problem to the answer
    You've got her number and your hand is on the phone
    The weather's turned and all the lines are down
    The things we do for love, the things we do for love.
  • Self-Deprecation: The Worst Band In The World
    It's one thing to know it, it's another to admit
    We're the worst band in the world and we don't give a...
  • Shotgun Wedding/Teen Pregnancy: The second verse of "The Dean and I" suggests this happened to the narrator and the dean's daughter:
    But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do
    The consequence should be
    Church bells, three swells, the dean, his daughter and me.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Silly Love" is a merciless satire of them.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: The Hipgnosis cover for How Dare You! uses this trope.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Graham Gouldman generally only sang once per album. Stuart Tosh sang "Reds In My Bed", Rick Fenn sang "Don't Send We Back", and Andrew Gold sang "Ready To Go Home".
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The entire lyric of "I'm Not in Love".
  • Team Dad: Eric Stewart, as the co-founder of Strawberry Studios and the one who had the most knowledge about recording equipment and techniques, played this role for the band.
  • Teenage Death Songs: "Johnny Don't Do It".
  • This Is a Song: "I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor" has lyrics that narrate its own chord changes.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Zig-Zagged with "I'm Not in Love". It uses only a synthesized bass drum, electric guitar, Rhodes piano, bass guitar (on one part of the song only), and vocals. However, we're talking about a song with literally hundreds of vocal overdubs.
  • Title Track: How Dare You! is their only album with one, and oddly, it's an instrumental.
  • Translated Cover Version: Their song "Rubber Bullets" received a Finnish cover by Finnish singer Vicky Rosti titled "Puupaukut".
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The final verse of "Dreadlock Holiday".
  • Tsundere: "I'm Not in Love" might as well be their anthem.
  • Villain Song: “I Wanna Rule the World” is filled to the brim with villainous boasts and threats.
  • Vocal Tag Team: All four members of the classic lineup shared lead vocals, sometimes in the same song. Notably, each member sang lead on one of their #1 British hits: Creme on "Rubber Bullets" (with Godley singing the bridge), Stewart on "I'm Not in Love", and Gouldman on "Dreadlock Holiday". "18 Carat Man of Means" also has each member swapping off the lead vocal.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Though the quartet would work together again on a few occasions, Godley and Creme's decision to leave the band in 1976 caused much acrimony for everyone involved, and all four agree in hindsight that they should've just put the band on hiatus until they were all ready to work together again. The Godley/Creme and Stewart/Gouldman partnerships continued on into The '80s and The '90s, but they both ended on bad terms as well.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: An interesting variant: "Clockwork Creep" is a song about a bomb put on a plane from the bomb's perspective.