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Among the most inventive and influential bands in the history of popular music, 10cc are one of the very few acts to have achieved commercial, critical and creative success in equal measure. Testament to 10cc’s ongoing appeal, the band can count a generation straddling array of fellow artists, everyone from Chrissie Hynde to The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie and Axl Rose to Sophie Ellis Bextor, among their many millions of fans.
I’m Not In Love, co-written by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart, features prominently in the soundtrack to the 2014 blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy, which grossed $635 million in its first two months in US cinemas and spawned a No 1 album. Meanwhile, a key element of the soundtrack to 2010’s Facebook feature film The Social Network is Dreadlock Holiday, which is also the Sky Sports cricket reports theme in Australia.
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. 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.
10cc 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.’
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Nik Kershaw signed with MCA Records in 1983. His debut album ‘Human Racing’ gave Nik his first UK top 5 singles with the hits ‘I Won’t let the Sun Go Down on Me’ and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Good’ and launched his career worldwide.
The equally successful ‘The Riddle’ followed with the title track, ‘Wide Boy’ and ‘Don Quixote’ all reaching the UK top 10 and in 1990, after four MCA albums and sales of over 8 million, Nik left the spotlight to concentrate on song writing and producing.
The following years saw him working with many artists including Elton John, Chesney Hawkes, Ronan Keating, The Hollies, Colin Blunstone, Imogen Heap & Gary Barlow. Nik rekindled his recording career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album ‘15 Minutes’ and has subsequently released three further albums: ‘To Be Frank’ in 2001, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ in 2006 and in 2010 the solo acoustic album ‘No Frills’.