June 21, 2021
What do you think of 10cc’s most epic track?
Paul, Eric and Sean pore over this monumental work in their usual forensic fashion to make up their own minds once and for all. Unconditional love, or not so? Stunning musicianship and arrangement? A unique, orchestral triumph? A tour de force, made for the stage? Eric Stewart’s finest moments at the mic and on guitar? But is the song itself a slight case of mutton dressed up as lamb, with too many incoherent parts? Just the formulaic third in a series of three-part 10cc songs with a Latin break in the middle? A muscle-flexing statement of independence after Kevin and Lol's departure? Whatever 10cc fans' differing views, the three of us all have a tremendous admiration for it. And for the incredible talents of one Del Newman.
We hope you enjoy the harmonic piano insights of Mr Baumgartner, the numerous audio Easter eggs, the cheeky influences we’ve spotted, and the debate over the song’s title and wordplay, which don’t seem to have translated well across the pond!
Oh, and you’re all in for a bit of a surprise too, just as Eric and Paul were!
June 7, 2021
Bienvenue tout le monde! And a big welcome back to our New Best Friend and maestro Eric Baumgartner for what can only be described as a musical tour-de-force deep dive into 10cc’s quirky 1975 masterpiece ‘Une Nuit à Paris’.
Perhaps surprisingly, two out of three of us here are less than 100% in love with this track. Is there something unsatisfying about the song itself, and is it just too harsh on the ears? All of us agree though that as a structured piece of theatre, it’s a masterwork.
Needless to say, Monsieur Baumgartner’s musical analysis and dancing fingers are dazzling again, and Sean’s hit a bit of a purple patch with some audio geekery - all just for a bit of fun! (He should get out more). Paul treats us to some fascinating and funny anecdotes direct from the band members. We guarantee that you’ll be hearing a dozen things that you’ve never known or noticed before.
In a word - which we use many times during this podcast - MAGNIFIQUE!
May 24, 2021
Once again, Paul and Sean are completely indebted to friend of the show Dave Jarvis for a succession of early Godley and Creme recordings that are rarer than a really rare thing!
This pod acts as a kind of companion piece to episode #22 (‘I’m Beside Myself’). We won’t give away too much, but among the dozen or so tracks we listen to here, we have perhaps the earliest ‘proper’ recording the boys committed to tape: a limited edition promotional record for a hot Manchester night spot. It’s a cracker. Also featured are two of the very early songs Kevin mentions in his excellent autobiography ‘Spececake’, but which he can’t lay his hands on. Other delights are literally one-off acetates made from collaborations with Graham in the late 1960s, and an unidentified Kev/Lol/Graham track that turns up mysteriously tagged on the end of another band’s album in 1977. And finally, a round-up of some of the tasty morsels on the excellent ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ compilation that we didn’t get around to discussing on podcast #22. The last track we look at here is 10cc's final blueprint for their trademark sound, under the bizarre name ‘Grumble’. It’s a wonderful prototype for the debut album, and just one of the many listening treasures in this episode.
Whether you agree with us on the relative merits of these musical curios, we’ll all speak with one voice in praise for Kevin Godley’s incredible vocals on the lion’s share of the tracks. Really brilliant.
May 10, 2021
Sean and Paul are once again under the spell of Atlanta's affable and twinkled-fingered musicologist, Eric Baumgartner! Not only that, but more than a year on from the start of the pandemic, we've finally found a way to record everyone in hi-fi sound... one of the many reasons why this is one of Sean's favourite episodes!
Eric's musical understanding is second to none, as we journey around 10cc's unusual and ground-breaking adventures with harmony. Now, we're not talking about the bursts of 'oos' and 'aahs' here. This is about their all-important use of chords, and Eric plays us dozens of examples, first through other pioneering pop writers who influenced the Stockport foursome, and other great composers who used similar techniques. Now don't get worried here: we're not going to dazzle you with science. We're just going to let you hear what made 10cc's compositional chops so amazing!
There are signature songwriting techniques being analysed here, such as 'slash chords', chromaticism and pedal points, and you'll giggle in recognition as Eric plays snippets from a huge array of 10cc classics. These guys were up to some clever and surprising tricks! But for us the *real* treat is his discovery of 'Lol's Magic Chord'... We won't give anything away, but suffice to say it's a real scoop! Hilarious and beautiful with it.
Thank you so much Eric, this was an absolute hoot!
April 26, 2021
Paul and Sean really enjoyed our second conversation with Rick Fenn. Once again, he’s incredibly honest and unassuming about his fascinating and hugely surprising career outside 10cc. He’s collaborated with many of Rock’s biggest names, as we shall hear.
Rick has been nothing short of prolific in his musical projects, since the temporary demise of 10cc in 1980. We look in detail at his stint in Mike Oldfield’s first integral band: as guitarist, later as keyboardist/vocalist, and as it turned out, co-writer. He tells some entertaining (and terrifying!) stories of his time on tour with the band. We briefly touch on 10cc’s Windows in the Jungle before hearing about his role in the joint project with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason. The ‘Profiles’ album is proof positive of Fenn’s mastery of Prog-influenced keyboards as well as guitars. 10cc fans will love a clip of an Eric Stewart lead vocal that no-one has heard since the mid-80s!
A substantial portion of this podcast is taken up with Rick’s long-time collaboration with soulmate Peter Howarth, best known perhaps as the current lead singer of the Hollies. He’s a gifted singer and an underrated guitarist. Together they co-wrote a major West End musical, ‘Robin: Prince of Sherwood’, and the clips we play demonstrate both enormous vocal and instrumental versatility and a real talent for composition and lyric writing. They also ran the gamut of genres in their Pop writing too, with their listenable collection of self-penned songs ‘And Still I Fly’, available on Spotify. https://open.spotify.com/album/0ks9w6MvgfvuVwPNAuacXt?si=KtMoq0xUQjegSRhZdvegig
Like us, you’ll no doubt be thinking that this Rick Fenn fellow is a proper dark horse! You’ll also hear some rarely-heard snippets from their sadly abandoned musical project ‘Androcles and the Lion’, and we’re so grateful to Rick for his generosity in sharing with us so many rare film and audio clips.
April 12, 2021
Sean and Paul are thrilled to have spent three hours in the company of a 10cc legend in the past few weeks. Rick Fenn has, for no fewer than 45 years, been a core part of 10cc’s live set-up, as well as taking part in most of their post-Deceptive studio projects. A consummate musician. he sees himself as a guitarist, but his mastery of most other instruments is stunning: among them piano and synths, bass, even saxophone! Starting his musical career in Cambridge, he moved to Manchester in 1976, and our story starts with a remarkable TV appearance that sees Rick lock (Dorking) horns with someone who’s quite simply his musical opposite... The rest is history of course, but we won’t spoil the surprise!
Rick gives us so many remarkably candid insights into his time with 10cc. His uncanny audition, the joys of the first tour and recording Bloody Tourists, the stark contrast with Look Hear, and the fall-out from Eric’s tragic accident in 1979, including the deteriorating relationship between Eric and Graham. We continue the story up until the Ten Out of Ten sessions, and we’ll pick up from here next time.
We hope (and expect!) that you really enjoy this episode. We’re excited about the next pod too, where we explore Rick’s incredibly prolific career with other artists as session and live player, and his less well-known core business of commercial soundtracks and musical theatre composer. This chap’s truly been round the block!
March 29, 2021
Sean and Paul feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to share these incredible finds, courtesy of the Strawberry Archive. We feel like archaeologists coming back with the spoils! Here’s a deep-ish dive into those two other 10cc tapes we baked for The Great Stockport Bake-off.
This is really a live ‘listening party for two’ where we drool and speculate over three multi-track recordings: Hotlegs’ You Didn’t Like It Because You Didn’t Think of It and 10cc’s Survivor and Tomorrow’s World Today. The first two songs in particular have us raving! The first… well, you’ll have to listen to us change our minds, contradict ourselves and talk nonsense in real time before we wonder out loud about what we might have found. Elementary, my dear McNulty. Not.
Could we have accidentally stumbled across the very first recording that the four members of 10cc ever made together?
March 15, 2021
'How ya doing? Your Disco King here to do his thing!
I hope you have had a be-YOOTI-ful day.
We are here to keep it that way!'
Paul and Sean are delighted today to have a very special guest: British radio legend Andy Peebles - a life-long champion and friend (in every sense) of 10cc.
Andy began his DJ-ing career in Bournemouth, before moving to Manchester to take up a residency at Hardrock, Rank’s huge and prestigious live venue and discotheque in Stretford, Manchester. After a stint with BBC Radio Manchester in the early 70s, he became one of the founding DJs on Piccadilly Radio a few years later. But most of us know him as a Radio One presenter, where he garnered a reputation for thoughtful interviews and sheer passion for music. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his famous and candid interview with John Lennon, taped just days before his death in 1980. He continues to broadcast to this day.
We hope you enjoy this entertaining whistle-stop tour through Andy’s career, and his frequent crossing of paths with Eric, Lol, Kevin and particularly Graham.
And did we mention that Andy was further immortalised by his cameo appearance on *that* triple album?
March 1, 2021
Sean and Paul hope you enjoy this episode. It's extremely long, but we think you'll find it extraordinary.
As you all already know, 17th December 2020 was an amazing day for us: when we unearthed the lost magic of 10cc's beautiful recording of that 30-second advert... This is our own sort of tribute to the contents of that incredible tape. We dive really deeply on this one, so hold onto your hats for our geekiest trip yet! We examine every part committed to that tape and unearth some truly lovely discoveries.
But that's not all. Atlanta, Georgia musician Eric Baumgartner is on hand to give a truly breath-taking musical analysis of every single 10cc musical trope audible in Natural Wonder. His musicality really is dazzling, and you're in for a real treat. The man's a genuine 10cc jukebox!
February 15, 2021
Paul and Sean return to their ‘roots’ for our first pod about *that* triple album for over a year. Today, we talk to former BBC producer Giles Booth, who created Consequences history in the late 1990s with his excellent website, ‘Mr Blint’s Attic’. Mojo magazine even picked up on the story, as this was startlingly early for any website dedicated to one album, let alone a Marmite cult classic like this!
Giles has a lot to get off his chest as he admits that this is the first time he’s actually talked to anyone about said record since he was (yes) 17. The result is the geekiest conversation any of us has ever had. And we loved every minute! Hold on to your hats as we race down dozens of joyous rabbit holes: dummy heads, the number 17, the musical play and its five characters, Peter Cook and Beyond the Fringe, mysterious tapes, the reissues, Kevin and Lol and their attitude to the album’s abject commercial failure. We also can’t resist throwing in some wild theories and fantasies, and we hope you enjoy our nerdy enthusiasm for this under-appreciated wonder!
Giles’s website can be found here: http://www.suppertime.co.uk/blint/. Check it out; it’s brilliant.
Paul and Sean will be performing some more ‘deep dives’ in the coming weeks, and we can’t wait. Thanks so much for listening!