Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Wiseacre Duos, 10cc, Part VII (CONCLUSION)

By the late 1980s our two pairs of wiseacre duos had each gone their own ways. Eric Stewart was working with Paul McCartney and producing others' output.  Graham Gouldman formed a group with Andrew Gold.  Kevin Godley and Lol Creme had an impressive resume of music videos and a hit single ("Cry"), and in 1988 recorded the harmonica heavy Goodbye Blue Sky, which tackled some weighty subjects.  But soon afterward the relationship deteriorated.  Maybe they were just tired.  How long can the manic creativity burn before it consumes its author(s)?  Both men would continue to direct videos and make music in separate ventures.

In 1991, what appeared to be a minor show business miracle came to pass: all four of the original members of 10cc appeared on a new album, ....meanwhile.  But this reunion was not bona fide, not a return to the days when the guys composed and performed together.  Stewart and Gouldman wrote the tracks, but Godley and Creme had no creative input other than background vocals and one lead - Godley, on "The Stars Didn't Show".  It is reported that the only reason G & C appeared at all was due to an obligation to Polydor Records.

There was another promising element: Gary Katz was called in to produce.  You remember him, the guy who worked with Steely Dan in the '70s?  Many critics noted similarities between the two groups but other than a certain causticism I hear very little.  Nonetheless, it must've seemed like a good pairing, though proving otherwise. Stewart and Gouldman did not mix with Katz's style, one that was always controlling of every detail. Both state they were disappointed with ....meanwhile.  I read that Godley felt a distinct uneasiness in the studio, an atmosphere far from conducive for relaxed creativity, which might've been a better approach for this album.   Katz brought in several session musicians (including Dr. John and Jeff Porcaro) as he had on the Dan's later records, but the results are fair at best.  No hit singles, either.

In 1995, 10cc's final album to date, Mirror Mirror was released to an even cooler reception from fans and critics.  There might be some justice in that as the songs are mostly separate solo efforts from Stewart and Gouldman, aside from an acoustic redo of 10cc's smash "I'm Not in Love".  That track's presence only serves to elucidate how the mighty had fallen.  Sometimes I guess it really is "better to burn out than fade away".  Soon after the Mirror Mirror tour Stewart left the group, with Gouldman trudging on.

In the next decade, in a surprising turn of events, Gouldman's old band mate Kevin Godley joined him ("unfinished business..") to compose several songs for their new website:  The tracks are downloadable in MP3 and FLAC formats.   It would prove to be an interesting cross-reunion, one that to date has not happened in any other permutation with Lol Creme (who would become a member of Art of Noise and The Producers) or Eric Stewart, who continues to produce other acts.

A bit sad too, as these things usually are.  Geniuses come together for a time to create something unique, magical even, then disband.  Have the inevitable falling out.  Fans want them to work together forever and even like each other, too.  But we know how it goes.  David Byrne is at odds with the other members of his old group, Talking Heads, to name but one example.  Rush is an exception, still together after over forty years and still making solid music.   Maybe the guys in 10cc did in fact "make me a million for when I get old", but I for one would like to hear that they plan to play the Cambridge Festival or the like.   To one more time tell the world "I'm not in love".  No, really!
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