10cc: Tenology – album review

10cc – Tenology
4CD / 1 DVD
Available now

The definitive guide to one of the essential bands of the ’70s.

This week saw the long overdue release of a one-package overview of the career of one of the essential bands of the 1970s, 10cc. The box-set comprises 4 CD’s and a DVD, along with a selection of images and a booklet written by Guardian journalist and fan Paul Lester.

Crucially this release, timed to coincide with the band’s fortieth anniversary, has benefited from the involvement of all four members – Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Two of the discs focus on singles, in which the band undoubtedly excelled, while one is b-sides and rarities. The other disc is a collection of album tracks which takes us beyond the well-trod path of compilation and gives us an insight into the creative process that was at the heart of 10cc.

It may be an over-simplification to describe the band as consisting essentially of two song-writing teams but Gouldman and Stewart generally wrote the more accessible songs, while Godley and Creme were free to push boundaries in a more art-school style. This sees well known classics like ‘Rubber Bullets’, ‘Art for Art’s Sake’, ‘The Dean and I’ and the towering ‘I’m Not in Love’ sit comfortably alongside some of the experimental and highly influential album work like ‘Clockwork Creep’, ‘Une Nuit A Paris’ and ‘The Second Sitting for the Last Supper’. Such a format enables the box-set to succeed in giving a full overview of the work of 10cc – the experimental side set alongside the more familiar mid-’70s hit-machine.

The cooperation of all four members is crucial to the success of this release and ensures delivery of a comprehensive overview of 10cc, a band whose career and talents still command great respect. The involvement of Godley, Creme, and Stewart alongside the still touring Gouldman also ensures a rounded perspective in the track listing.

The classic line up was fractured by the departure of Godley and Creme in 1976, within months of the smash hit ‘I’m not In Love’ that enabled the band to virtually name their price to sign with Mercury Records.

Despite this setback, which would finish many bands as a creative force, 10cc continued for another seven years after the loss of two of their founder members, scoring more hits like ‘The Things We Do for Love’, ‘Good Morning Judge’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’. Also covered are the less commercially successful early ’80s and the partial reunion of 1992’s ‘Meanwhile’ album that saw Godley and Creme reunite for some tracks, most notably featured here, ‘Woman in Love’.

10cc: Tenology – album review

The DVD features promotional videos which were genuinely ground-breaking at the time, alongside a range of other TV appearances like Top of the Pops and BBC In-Concert. The box-set design is by the legendary graphic designer who worked with the band in the 1970’s,Storm Thorgerson, with input from the band and there is also an 8500 word story of 10cc by Paul Lester which includes new interviews with Godley, Creme, Stewart and Gouldman.

This is the final word on the career of 10cc and very much a fitting summary of a band that were always prepared to push the boundaries and never content to settle into a successful formula. It will appeal not only to those who remember the 1970s, but also to those yet to discover the full extent of the career of one of this country’s most original bands from that period.

All words by Dave Jennings. You can read more from Dave on LTW here.

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