[Review] 10cc (1973)

A satiric sense of humor and a keen sense of melody collide on 10cc’s classic debut album.

Kronomyth 1.0: Dean and Donna.

10cc derived their name from the average amount of semen in a male’s ejaculation. Despite an overabundance of commercial pop potential, it’s this kind of willfull strangeness that presents a uniquely sticky problem to appreciating their music. Their eponymous debut splits its time between doo-wop sendups (“Donna” is far and away the best of these) and defiantly unconventional stories that find veins of pure pop gold amidst complex but not entirely effective narrative structures. Case in point: “The Hospital Song” applies a wonderful melody to the story of a man in a hospital who takes revenge on his caretakers by peeing his bed.

In addition to “Donna,” the album features such 10cc classics as “The Dean and I” (awfully catchy, but the shifts in arrangement are hit or miss) and “Rubber Bullets” (a retro rock tune with a futuristic guitar solo). There are some obvious references to the Beatles here: “Headline Hustler” recalls the work of George Harrison, “Ships Don’t Disappear in the Night (Do They?)” and “Fresh Air for My Momma” sound like Wings, and “Speed Kills” feels a lot like “Blue Jay Way.” Similar to Sparks, 10cc’s sense of humor and love of unlikely heroes undermine their melodic craft at times, but it adds some artistic integrity in the bargain. Pop fans may feel the band’s estimable talents are misdirected, but even they’re bound to be intrigued by much of this record.

Original LP Version

A1. Johnny, Don’t Do It (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme/Graham Gouldman) (3:37)
A2. Sand In My Face (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme/Graham Gouldman) (3:37)
A3. Donna (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme) (2:54)
A4. The Dean And I (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme) (3:03)
A5. Headline Hustler (Graham Gouldman/Eric Stewart) (3:30)
B1. Speed Kills (Eric Stewart/Kevin Godley/Lol Creme/Graham Gouldman) (3:48)
B2. Rubber Bullets (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme/Graham Gouldman) (5:18)
B3. The Hospital Song (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme) (2:36)
B4. Ships Don’t Disappear In The Night (Do They?) (Graham Gouldman/Eric Stewart) (3:03)
B5. Fresh Air For My Momma (Kevin Godley/Lol Creme/Eric Stewart) (3:02)

Japanese CD reissue bonus tracks
11. Bee In My Bonnet
12. Gizmo My Way
13. 18 Carat Man of Means

German CD reissue bonus tracks
11. Hot Rock Sun
12. 4% of Something
13. Rubber Bullets (single version)
14. Waterfall
15. Bee In My Bonnet

The Players

Lol Creme (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, grand piano, electric piano, Moog synthesiser, mellotron, percussion, vocals), Kevin Godley (drums, percussion, vocals), Graham Gouldman (bass and acoustic guitar, dobro guitar, electric guitar, tambourine, vocals), Eric Stewart (lead electric guitar, slide guitar, Moog synthesiser, vocals). Produced by 10 c.c.; engineering and mix sound engineering by Eric Stewart.

The Pictures

Photography by Chris Grayson.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in July 1973 in the UK (UK Records, UKAL 1005), the US (UK Records, UKS 53105) and Israel (Pax, ISX.9112). Reached #36 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1982 in the UK (Mercury, PRICE 7).
  2. Re-packaged with Sheet Music on compact disc in 1990 in the US (DZS 053).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1992 in the UK (Castle, CLACD/CLAMC 185).
  4. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc on April 4, 2000 in Germany (Repertoire, 104 844) with 5 bonus tracks.
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in 2000 in Europe (Original Masters, 15604).
  6. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 2002 in Japan (Imperial, TECI-20147) with 3 bonus tracks.
  7. Re-issued on 180g red vinyl elpee in 2014 in Europe (Not Bad Records, BADLP006).
10cc album cover (Israel)
Pax ISX.9112 album cover

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