I always loved the witty lyrics:
"We all got balls and brains"
but some's got balls and chains"...but it was only after I discovered the musical genius of 10cc by enthusiastically purchasing their back catalogue of vinyl albums, that I finally heard those lyrics. The single 45rpm version of 'Rubber Bullets' that got all of the radio airplay back in the day, never had those cheeky lyrics. Commercial radio couldn't handle such naughty lyrics in those much simpler days of the 1970's
I started with buying The Original Soundtrack (1975) and then How Dare You! (1976) followed by Deceptive Bends (1977). After wearing out my vinyl with this 10cc trilogy, I needed to hear more music. I slowly purchased the whole catalogue, including the pre-10cc HotLegs albums, which featured the stompin' "Neanderthal Man" single. That song always reminded me of John Kongos "He's Gonna Step On You Again", which Happy Mondays later reworked as their dance hit, "Step On".
It was the first 10cc debut self titled album that had the longer verison of 'Rubber Bullets', complete with those risqué lyrics.
This is why I have always loved 10cc. They were very experimental and most inventive. "I'm Not in Love" was their breakthrough worldwide hit and is well known for its innovative multilayed backing track. Kevin Godley and Lol Creme invented a electric guitar effect called the "Gizmotron". It was used with great effect on numerous 10cc songs. Other artists also used the Gizmo, including Paul McCartney, The Church, Siouxsie and The Banshees and even Led Zeppelin. While Queen were releasing mini-operetta with "Bohemian Rhapsody", 10cc featured nine minute musical story with "Une Nuit a Paris". Their unique album cover artwork were created by Hipgnosis. The same artists that made album covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the infamous copulating escalator robots that graced an album cover by Black Sabbath.
Production values of their recording were always very high but it was the band's witty lyrics that got me hooked. My favourite 10cc songs include the sublime "Waterfall", "Life Is A Minestrone", "I'm Mandy, Fly Me", "Head Room", "Good Morning Judge" and their batshit crazy "I Wanna Rule the World".
Godley and Creme left 10cc after How Dare You! They would continue on their path and release great songs such as "An Englishman In New York", "Cry" and "Golden Boy".
When I photographed 10cc at the Palais Theatre a decade ago in 2010, Eric Stewart had left the band five years earlier. So with only one remaining band member being Graham Gouldman, known for four decades of song-writing excellence.
Keeping the music alive, Gouldman has assembled a tightknit band that does the 10cc legacy justice. Paul Burgess on drums has been with 10cc since Deceptive Bends. Rick Fenn, who lives in Byron Bay and works with Brian Cadd, joined 10cc on the Live and Let Live album in 1977. With Keith Hayman on keyboards and Iain Hornal who sounds identical to Eric Stewart, it is as close as you are going to get to a genuine 10cc lineup and they perform the songs with such reverence.
Tonight at The Melbourne Zoo, they didn't disappoint as they banged out the hits, as well as their twelve minute dreamscape of "Feel The Benefit".
The encore featured a sublime a-cappella version of their first single, "Donna" and then to get everybody dancing, the uncensored extended version of "Rubber Bullets". I beamed a mile wide smile, when I heard those lyrics.
LONG LIVE 10cc!
The support tonight was from iconic Australian singer-songwriter and ARIA Hall of Fame winner, Russell Morris. Oo-mow-ma-mow-mow!
Photography by CarbieWarbie