Saturday, 17 June 2017

Fingers crossed...

...that all the links now work. Let me know if any won't connect or are linked to the wrong files.
Hopefully, it's now business as usual...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Be Bop Deluxe MegaPost

I've cleared up the old individual Be Bop Deluxe live recording links and plopped them all here for your convenience. You really should grab them all, 'cos Bill Nelson is ace. I've removed a couple of recordings which are now available as part of the "Be Bop Deluxe at the BBC 1974-1978"  set, but I have included their mega rare first Top gear session.





Top Gear Session: 09 73
(Decent quality recording of the first Be-Bop Peel session with two unreleased tunes - essential)

John Peel intro
Axe Victim
John Peel intro
Bluesy Ruby
John Peel intro
Tomorrow the World
John Peel intro
___________________________________________
14 06 75 London Hippodrome
(Fantastic quality BBC recording that's not on the official compilation - shame)

Stage whispers
Third floor heaven
Adventures in a Yorkshire landscape
Sister seagull
Piece of mine
Maid in Heaven
Axe victim
___________________________________________

09 03 76 Detroit Ford Auditorium
(Reasonable audience recording, notable for the inclusion of the rare "No trains to Heaven").

Fair exchange
Stage whispers
Life in the air age
Sister seagull
Maid in Heaven
Ships in the night
Blazing apostles
Band introduction
No trains to Heaven
___________________________________________

21 04 76 Chicago Riviera Theater
(Rather "thin" sounding recording possibly soundboard?)

Fair exchange
Stage whispers
Life in the air age
Sister seagull
Adventures in a Yorkshire landscape
Maid in Heaven
Ships in the night
Blues improvisation
Blazing apostles
___________________________________________

06 07 76 London,
(Recorded for "Rock around the world" - decent version)

Intro
Life In The Air Age
Sleep That Burns 
Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape
Sister Seagull
Blazing Apostles
___________________________________________

02 10 76 London  Hammersmith Odeon
(Broadcast by K-HOUR - a more complete version of show that appears on the "At the BBC" collection)

Life in the air age
Orphans of Babylon
Sister seagull
Made in Heaven
Bring back the spark
Kiss of light
Fair exchange
Twilight capers
Modern music
dancing in the moonlight (all alone)
Honeymoon on mars
Lost in the neon world
Dance of the Uncle Sam humanoids
Modern music (reprise)
Forbidden lovers
Terminal street
Blazing apostles
___________________________________________

03 12 76 Philadelphia The Cathedral
(FM recording - slightly murky, but still listenable)

Radio intro
Fair exchange
Stage whispers
Life in the air age
Cryng to the sky
Ships in the night
Sister seagull
Maid in Heaven
Blazing apostles
No trains to Heaven
___________________________________________

06 12 76 New York Calderone Hall
(WLIR-FM Broadcast -  good quality - recommended)

Life in the air age
Fair exchange
Sister seagull
Ships in the night
Adventures in a Yorkshire landscape
Forbidden lovers
Terminal Street
Blazing Apostles
___________________________________________

19 03 78 Oxford New Theatre
(FM broadcast - runs a little slow)

New precision
Dangerous stranger
Superenigmatix
Lovers are mortal
New mysteries
Panic in the world
Forbidden lovers
Love in flames
___________________________________________

04 09 78 Pawtucket
(A rather "distant" audience recording of their opening slot for the Tubes - a few rare gems in the set tho')

New precision
Possession
Superenigmatix
Shine
Ships in the night
Speed of the wind
Dangerous stranger
Panic in the world
Forbidden lovers
Love in flames
____________________________________________





Sunday, 11 June 2017

Adam West


Adam West could have invented a cure for everything, brokered a deal which lead to world peace and correctly deduced the ingredients of McDonald’s secret sauce, but for my generation he’ll always be Batman. 

Every Sunday afternoon, sometime in the late sixties, I’d be glued to our tiny, LoFi TV waiting to see how Batman and Robin had extricated themselves from whatever bizarre contraption the Joker, Riddler or the Penguin had lured them into. It may be camp and kitsch now, but it wasn’t then. It was life and death. You can wax lyrical about any of the pseudo film noir versions of the character that have appeared in the last few years, but you’ll never get more than a grudging “s’alright…” from me. There’s only one Batman – spoiler alert – it ain’t Christian Bale. 


I met Adam West once, in rather unusual circumstances. I worked in A Very Big Record Shop for half of the eighties and we’d often have in store signings by artists desperate to prop up their ailing careers or newer artists trying to drum up support for some piece of tawdry nonsense they were attempting to sell to people who should know better. Anyhoo, some marketing genius decided the time was right to issue the first Batman movie on VHS. There will now be a short pause, while younger readers Google “VHS”. To promote this momentous event, Mr West was dusted off and sent on a signing tour of Very Big Record Shops, one of which was the one I worked in. The day duly arrived for him to appear and much to my chagrin, I had drawn the short straw and I was timetabled to be in a different department to Batman. I sulked off to the staffroom and started to make myself a peanut butter sandwich, while scowling and muttering. I thought I was alone in the room. I wasn’t. I turned around from my terrible pre-school lunch, only to find Adam West – my pre-school hero – staring intently at my sandwich. We looked at each other for about 10 seconds, which seemed to last about an hour before I spoke. “Would you like a sandwich?” It was the best I could do, under the circumstances. Batman remained silent, but a confused look spread across his face. He considered my proposition for a quite a while, before he replied “Do you think I’m hungry? Do you think I need food?” Not in an aggressive way – he was genuinely asking me if he needed something to eat. It was that point that two of his minders/assistants/nurses appeared and led him gently, but firmly onto the shop floor. On the way however, he scribbled over every one of those insurance and public liability documents that shops are legally bound to display, thus rendering them null and void. What a guy. 

I did get him to sign my copy of the Jan and Dean version of the Batman theme tune tho’. 
When he appeared as the fantastic “Mayor West” character in “Family Guy”, I was delighted. I was also thrilled that his on-screen persona matched exactly that of the man I had a brief and bizarre interaction with sometime in the eighties. 

So farewell, Batman. The final Batsignal has illuminated Gotham’s sky and you’ve answered the call. Chief O’Hara thanks you. Commissioner Gordon thanks you. The grateful citizens of Gotham thank you. 

And Rushbo thanks you.  

Friday, 2 June 2017

Moonlighting...

http://www.gigsoupmusic.com/author/rushbo/

https://www.rockerzine.com/author/ian-rushbury/Some lovely, foolish people have asked me to write some reviews for them. Ha! They'll learn. But in the meantime, here are some links to what I get up to you when I'm not here...



Many thanks to Erin Amar at Rockerzine and Paul Smith at Gigsoup for the webspace. Yer both ace.

GIGSOUP

ROCKER




Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Worst Gig Ever' #2: The Breedon Bar

The late, lamented Breedon bar. Oh the memories...

I’ve played in a lot of bands. I’m serious…a LOT of bands. Most of these were pretty groovy – nice chaps, good tunes, some enjoyable roadtrips and a hatful of good memories. Obviously, no riches or enormous fame or I’d have one of my uniformed minions type this for me whilst I snacked on a Swans Neck Kebab, but some good times. With the good, with depressing inevitability, must come the bad. Hot on the heels of my last ‘Rushbo’s Guide’ post, here’s part two…just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, along comes…The Bikers Wake.


It’s very rare that any of my Pop Combos are in the right place at the right time, but it did happen once. It’s the early 90s and everyone is tearing holes in their jeans, buying Fuzzboxes and generally ‘Rocking Out’. And so was I. This time around I was the Bassist in the delightfully named ‘Diabolo Go’. Our speciality…Pearl Jam meets the Manic Street Preachers, topped with some pseudo Jim Morrison-esque lyrics. We ticked all the right boxes and the only thing that held us back was the fact that we hailed from Birmingham – then about as hip as Pat Boone. But we rehearsed our butts off and we were a decent little Rockin’ band.

Ah rehearsals…we shared a local rehearsal space with a local (and very successful) Prog Rock band called Ark. Very big in Italy they were, apparently. The facility was run by an affable chap called Fin, notable for being the Bassist in a Metal band called The Handsome Beasts. Never has a band been LESS aptly named. Now this is where the story starts…

It was a Tuesday night and probably drizzling outside. Not that we would have known as our lock-up was untroubled by natural light…or ventilation. But we liked it that way. We were halfway through one of our thinly veiled excuses for a Wah-wah freakout, when in runs Fin in a state of high excitement, waving his arms for us to stop. ‘Lads, lads…I’ve got a gig for you! No money, but a massive Rock audience. Get in the Transit van, we’ve only got an hour to get there!’  No money. There was never any money. Excited by the opportunity to play in front of something other than Arks intimidating and expensive Italian funded equipment, we loaded our gear into the back of Fin’s van and set off. Uncharacteristically, I blagged the shotgun seat and started to get a few details about this mysterious, impromptu gig. Apparently, the organisers had been let down by a band at the last minute and the venue owner turned them on to Fin. ‘Sounds plausible’, thought I. He was a bit more reticent about the remaining arrangements, but I was prepared to let that go. After all, it was a gig in front of a ‘big Rock audience’.

The gig turned out to be at The Breedon bar. A great venue – I’d seen a ton of bands there and some of my heroes (American Music Club! Green On Red!) had graced the stage. So far so good. We pulled into the car park which was FULL of expensive and opulently chromed motorbikes. Proper motorbikes. ‘Easy Rider’ motorbikes. Oh jeez…it’s a bikers gig. Now for some reason, I’ve never really got on with the biking fraternity…I am sure they’re all lovely people who spend freely at the bar and do tons of charity work, but I just feel incredibly uncomfortable in their presence. And there were about 200 of ‘em in pretty small space, right here. We unloaded the van and my apprehension was shared by the rest of the guys in the band. No one seemed to be having a lot of fun – in fact there was a really sombre air in the place. Wait a minute…why are all these guys wearing black armbands? Yep. It was a wake. Fin had tricked us into playing a wake. No wonder the other band had pulled out.

"It just needs cleaning..."
We unloaded the gear. ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ played over the PA and no-one smiled. Occasionally a glass smashed and voices were raised, followed by an uneasy détente. This was not going to be a good night for anyone, especially us. I dutifully set up my trusty Bass, taking care to put it into dropped D tuning for our first, epic number. Satisfied, I left the stage and hid in the toilet for about 20 minutes. It was in there that I heard the sound of music…not ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ which had been playing on a loop since our arrival, but a Bluesy jam. I left the safety of the urinal, only to find three bikers had ‘borrowed’ our gear and were jamming away in the key of A. All apart from the guy on the Bass – sorry, MY Bass, who was looking bemused. I jumped on stage and told him the Bass was in a weird tuning and maybe I should carry on from here. He grunted and thrust the Bass back at me. I strapped it on and ploughed through ten minutes of lack-lustre 12 bar strummage. After that, we had a few minutes before showtime, so I raced to the bar to get something to take the mania off the whole sorry affair. It was there I met the erstwhile Bassist who told me the back story to the gig. Apparently, the wake was for a biker in a local chapter who had come off his bike in ‘dubious circumstances’. ‘See them?’ he pointed at a group in the corner. ‘They reckon he was killed by them’. He pointed to an equally dour looking bunch. ‘But they…’ he pointed to a third group ‘reckon it was them’. He pointed to a fourth. ‘So why aren’t they beating each other up?’ I asked, nervously. ‘Truce’ he replied. ‘Until midnight tonight’. I checked my watch. 10.50pm. Shit. I quickly shared this information with my bandmates and we ran on stage to get this over with. We waited patiently for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ to finish as we thought we’d be beaten up if we interrupted that… Finally, we caught our breath and lurched into song number one. And so it began….

The first song had a great ‘car crash’ ending where we all played the final chord over and over, finishing off with a highly choreographed KA-BLAMM! accompanied by a heroic, Iggy-esque leap into the air. One person clapped. It was Fin on the sound desk. We raced through an hours worth of material in 50 minutes. It was at this gig we realised that almost all of our songs had the words ‘Death’, ‘Ghost’ or ‘Murder’ in the lyrics, which were hastily changed on the fly by our quick thinking and terrified lead vocalist. After a few songs, even Fin stopped clapping and the only noises we heard between songs were the gritting of teeth, glasses breaking and the odd scuffle…and the occasional muted sob from our drummer.

'The good news is there's a big crowd out there.
The bad news is they're all carrying machetes and
baying for your blood...'
At 11.45, we finished. As the last chord rang around the room, we started yanking out jack leads and tossing equipment into the back of the van. ‘No time to put it into cases boys, just get it outta here!’ As we were frenziedly throwing stuff off the stage, a large biker collared Chrissie, our drummer. He gesticulated sharply to the aged Piano to the right of the stage. ‘Ay mate, d’yow play Pianner?’ Relieved that it wasn’t a death threat, Chrissie smiled and shook his head. ‘Y’ow can’t play the fuckin’ Drums either’ came the less than friendly retort. I have to admit that even under the shadow of doom, that made me laugh…under my breath, of course.

By 11.58, we were all in the van, bloodied but unbowed. Fin put his foot to the floor and we raced out of the car park. It was a while before anyone could speak, so the usual post gig autopsy would have to wait until another, less stressful night. About two miles down the road, we passed a fleet of Police cars racing in the opposite direction, blue lights flashing. I checked my watch. The time was 12.04

I was a post teenage coverband Bassist

This man's bottom is the wrong way around.
It’s a time honoured scenario, played out in grey community centres almost every week. Down a dingy corridor, the walls painted hospital blue, stands a room. There is a tattered, handwritten sign Blutacked to the door which just hints at what lies within. Inside is the usual collection of debris – metal backed chairs stacked clumsily in a corner, an upended table tennis table with distressed nets and boxes of filthy costumes once used for a pantomime a lifetime ago. As well as this flotsam and jetsam are some human detritus - a dozen men sit in a ragged circle in the middle of the room. All are dressed in various shades of grey or black. None are clean shaven. The main thing they have in common is the haunted look they have in their eyes. These men are pariahs. Outcasts. The dispossessed. Some nurse plastic cups of foul tasting coffee, whilst others stare at their shoes. No one talks. No one has to. Occasionally, one will look at the wall, with its sad collection of posters for Village Fetes which were inevitably rained off or self-help groups which closed due to lack of interest. The pendulous silence is broken only by the ceaseless rain on the fly-blown windows and the buzzing of the strip lighting which casts a sickly yellow glow over everything.   I feel strangely comfortable here. These are my people and we have shared much without ever having met. Few would be willing to live how we do. After what seems like an hour, the door creaks open and another grey man enters – younger this time and carrying a brown cardboard clipboard, bristling with curling A4 paper. He talks for a while. No-one listens. The words he speaks are as familiar to these people as The Lord’s Prayer…or The Last Rites. Eventually he stops and gestures to me. Although I have never been here before, I know exactly what I must do. Unsteadily, I climb to my feet, feeling strangely calm in spite of the dryness of my mouth and the clamminess of my palms. I start to talk – my voice sounding eerily distant as the words come forth…
“Hi, my name’s Ian and I play Bass in a tribute band….”
This can't be the real Kiss - no one is wearing a wig...
Nowadays, it seems that  (to some musicians at least) if you play in a covers, functions or tribute band you are up there with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot and should be shipped off to some offshore correctional facility and made to play ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ until you chew your own ears off. But to those musicians, the people that write their own material are bungling, deluded amateurs who just get in the way of the real talent and make them look bad.
Erm, aren’t we all on the same side?
 
If I see one more post along the lines of ‘it’s all tribute and cover bands round here and no-one else can get a gig’ I may cry. Speaking as a humble Bassist who’s done both the covers thing and fought in the trenches playing original music, I think I have a good idea of how it works. Guys (that’s the non-gender-specific use of the word) in covers and tribute  bands have an advantage in the early stages of their career as Joe Public kinda knows what to expect. If you see Nearvana or Byron Adams or one of the other imaginatively named combos on the scene advertised on a poster or the Interweb, you know how your evening’s entertainment will pan out. Whether they are any good or not is another thing entirely. With a band that writes their own material, you get people to gigs by sweet talking, emotional blackmail and low level bullying initially. And then you graft. And often it’s the quality of grafting and the tenacity and persistence of the band that are the deciding factors in the success of the group – more than the quality of the material. I can name a dozen great songwriters and amazing musicians who have bowed out of the musical rat race because they lack the stomach for the real hustle. And who can blame them?
As a bassist in a covers/tribute band, I have effectively capped my earnings. With the exception of The Bootleg Beatles, The Australian Pink Floyd and Oasis (KIDDING!), bands like mine never rise above the 200-300 venue ceiling. If your career takes off in an original band – “Hello Wembley”… The other gripe is that ‘Every local venue just puts on tributes’…well, that as we say in Halesowen, is BullPlop. There are a handful of local venues round these parts which specialise in cover/tribute bands, but by the same token, there are WAY more that may turn their noses up at By Jovy or MaltLoaf etc. And if you really are stuck in a venueless void, find a pub, community centre, leisure centre etc, hire/buy a vocal PA and put your own damn gig on. Guerrilla gigs are so 21st century right now.
The prejudice works both ways, with rather superior trib musos looking down their noses at the ‘wannabees’ who write their own material. To them I say that hopefully one of those ‘wannabees’ will hire your band to play at the celebration party for their quadruple platinum album. Right now, that band playing original material may not have ‘the chops’ but they may have something way more useful – potential.
What we sometimes forget is that we’re all in the entertainment industry. Some people like to be entertained by something familiar. Some people like to seek out The Next Big Thing. These people pay our wages and they deserve something which doesn’t insult them. Rather than wasting time bitching, I suggest we go back to the rehearsal room, the kitchen table or wherever the muse may strike and get better at what we do.
Just sayin’…

10CC "Sheet Music" 33 1/3 Proposal

(A little background...in March 2008, I submitted a proposal for the excellent "33 1/3" series of books. Sadly, it didn't get picked, but I've always liked what I wrote... and I do love 10CC so here it is - my consolation prize to myself...)
I was eleven years of age in 1974. Chubby, bespectacled and lisping. I may as well have had ‘Kick Me Hard’ embroidered on the back of my anorak. I was too clever for the bullies, not clever enough for my teachers and the thought of any kind of organised sport filled me with an icy dread. Ritual humiliation in nylon shorts wasn’t my favourite way to spend a wet Tuesday afternoon. In spite of all that, I think I got off lightly in the exquisite torture chamber of ‘the best years of your life’, because I had one unique talent. I knew everything about The Hit Parade. Not the LP charts with its weird melange of bearded virtuosos crafting concept albums and the hastily assembled album’s of songs by faded stars, new Pop sensations and tortured singer-songwriters. No… my forte was the singles chart. In the playground, I was seen as a sort of wise elder of the tribe and as such, immune to the lion’s share of the beatings handed out by ‘The Rough Boys.’ Apparently, knowing far from intimate facts about The Sweet is tantamount to having an invisible shield around you. The source of my power was my radio… My baby blue Binatone wireless went everywhere with me and although the dial held the promise of a whole world of music, it may as well have had just one setting -247 metres on the Medium Wave -Radio 1.
I loved that station and I loved that radio. I’d plug its single earpiece in my right ear and let that fizzy signal take me to a place where no one laughed at my hand knitted tank tops. This world was a million miles away from the three day weeks and the terrorism which haunted reality. This was Panavision and Technicolor. Of course, this was only background information in comparison to the visual overload of ‘Top Of The Pops’. Every Thursday night, the nation would gather around their only-just-about colour TVs and would be either enraptured or appalled by what they saw. ‘Serious’ music fans  - devotees of Oldfield, Wakeman, ‘The Floyd’ and all those bands comprised of bearded Germans didn’t complain though. TOTP (as no one called it at the time) was so far beneath them that they’d get nosebleeds just thinking about it. Which they didn’t, as they had ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ where everyone played live, never smiled, wore brushed denim and was ugly.
Yeah, in the playground, I was king and I thought I knew it all. I knew Alvin Stardust’s real name. I knew the Glitter band had two drummers. I knew I felt a bit funny when I saw Suzi Quatro, but I didn’t know why. Only one band were a mystery…
10CC
They were on the radio all the time, but no-one knew anything about them. They looked a bit like an ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ type of band, but they were on TOTP a lot. And when they were, instead of the usual silver satin hotpants, they wore earnest expressions, neatly creased jeans and blow dried centre partings. They sounded…odd. One single would sound like those old Rock and Roll tunes which were re-issued with alarming regularity during the early 70s. Another would sound like a showtune. Another would sound a bit ‘Whistle Test’, but with a great hookline that burrowed its way into your subconscious. But that was all I knew. Occasionally a girls teen mag would have a soft focus picture of all four of them, but with Eric Stewart (nominally, the girls favourite) towards the front. Never a biography. Their favourite colours and what they looked for in a girl remained undisclosed. They looked awkward in photographs and resembled geeky university students who were still dressed by their mothers.  But they were still Pop stars. I was hooked and I didn’t know how or why.
To be fair, everyone was a bit confused in the early 70’s. The sixties had finished, but the hangover persisted well into the following decade. With the Lovable Moptops out of the picture, we needed direction and a clear sense of something happening. What we got was a blindfolded trolley dash through Tin Pan Alley, grabbing the shiniest or the most elaborate items on display. The gulf between ‘Pop’ and ‘Rock’ couldn’t have been wider than in 1974. David Bowie had hit singles, but they were perceived as calling cards for his ‘serious’ albums. Slade tried hard to be the tough, rockin’ band they aspired to be, but were constantly depth charged by Dave Hills’ toothy grin and tinfoil stage gear. 10CC slipped neatly under the wire. Devoid of any discernable image, they sneaked into the singles charts singing about prison riots, the economic downturn and how love songs (the lingua franca of Pop) were ‘silly’. Their albums offered further subtle deviation. Their debut album mixed bubblegum Doowap pastiche with 12 bar Blues tunes about drug addiction and a heartfelt tribute to Charles Atlas. ‘Sheet Music’-their second LP- went even further. This is where I came in. After a period of protracted and heavy negotiation with The Parents, I was furnished with the funds to purchase my third Long Player. (Benny Hill and Herman’s Hermits were one and two, in case you were interested).  After drawing my gaze away from the searing yellow of the cover (and Kevin Godley wearing what seems to be a dressing gown) I slipped the record out of its dust jacket and placed it on the turntable of my not-quite-Dansette. Pretty quickly, I came to a simple conclusion. This was the greatest music I had ever heard.


There are 10 songs on ‘Sheet Music’. The album is 37 minutes long. It was filed under ‘Pop’ in your local Woolworths, alongside David Essex and The Wombles. Let’s examine the lyrical content shall we?  We’ll start, song-by-song, with side one….

1. ‘Big business is shafting everyone and no one can do anything about it’. (Also note the use of the phrase ‘screw me’, which didn’t halt its progress into the UK Top 10).

2. ‘Our band is terrible, but we still sell millions of records’. What a refreshing outlook. (Also note the use of the phrase ‘up yours’, which did halt its progress into the UK Top 10)

3. The pros and cons of tourism. And racism. And xenophobia.

4. ‘Aren’t some people too old to being playing Pop Music?’ (Mick Jagger was 30 at the time)

5. ‘I am a bomb on board an airplane, waiting to blow up’. We also hear the thoughts of the airplane here as well. Balance is everything.

Now side Two:

6. ‘Love songs are trite and stupid’

7. A charming and heartfelt homage to the golden age of movies

8. A beginner’s guide to voodoo

9. A dance craze aimed at alcoholics

10. The current state of Middle-Eastern terrorism

And the tunes…brimming with ideas and invention, but all reined in with a lovely, elasticated Pop sensibility. What they also had was the ability to make an album with such a disparate selection of themes and styles and hone it into something which doesn’t sound like a jukebox.
‘Sheet Music’ was released into a Pop culture which was so far removed from reality you almost needed a passport to enter it. As IRA bombs blew a hole in the centre of Birmingham, the Bay City Rollers topped the album charts. We huddled in our kitchens, playing pontoon by the candlelight, waiting for the power cut caused by the fuel crisis to end, while Rick Wakeman jostled for the top slot with Perry Como, Slade and The Carpenters. You want gritty social realism? Turn the radio off.  ‘Sheet Music’ however, manages to hold a mirror up to contemporary society, whilst giving it the finger and a lingering French kiss, all at the same time. The album is an unassuming masterpiece. But the album (or the band) will never be listed in one of those ‘best bands/albums/haircuts of the 70’s’ TV programmes which litter our screens in the small hours of the morning. Yet they’ve had 9 Top 40 albums and 12 Top 40 singles in the 70’s, three of which were UK number ones. Their most recent compilation CD sailed easily into the UK top 50 and they can still fill 2-3000 seater venues. Critically however, they’re off the map. I believe the phrase is ‘Only popular with the public…’

That is why I want to write this book.

For a band with such a rich and fascinating history, 10CC has been poorly served when it comes to the printed word. Alongside the occasional fanpiece in the aforementioned teenmags (and the odd mention in the ‘serious’ Music press), there are just two full length books about the band, both of which are well out of print. The most recent (Liam Newton’s ‘Worst band In The World’) crops up on Ebay from time to time. It sells for the cost of a modest sofa. Both books offer an excellent overall impression of the band, but being given the luxury of just being able to focus on this one album would mean I could concentrate on the two main areas which (in my opinion) gave the album it’s shape and form:

The way they plugged the gap between Pop and Rock

and:

The way they integrated a vast number of contemporary issues into their material, which none of their peers – ‘serious bands’ or otherwise – would have dared to do.

The best music happens when the creators show no respect for musical boundaries. The Beatles mixed Rock and Roll with a strong Music Hall sensibility and breathed life into a dying genre, perceived as nothing more than a novelty. The Byrds then combined that hybrid with ylan, then Shankar, then Parsons to create something far greater than the sum of the parts. Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead…all these bands straddle borders beautifully and sound all the better for doing so. 10CC managed to do that so successfully that they went from being described as ‘Pop’ to ‘Progressive’ almost overnight. There is a precedent for that, of course – both King Crimson and Gentle Giant have Pop skeletons in their cupboards, but both those bands changed their sound (and image) to appeal to more ‘serious’ fans. 10CC did it by simply stretching a tune or two over four minutes long. 

I fully intend to contact all the key figures attached to the making of this album. Fortunately, all four members of the band are still alive and active in the Music Industry – Graham Gouldman helms a version of 10CC (along with longtime members Paul Burgess and Rick Fenn) who are soon to embark on a sell-out tour of Europe, Eric Stewart is about to release his fourth solo album, Lol Crème is working alongside such luminaries as Trevor Horn in The Producers and Kevin Godley is working with Gouldman in the GG06 project. He also made a memorable return to the live stage last year (after almost 30 years) with 10CC to sing ‘Old Wild Men’ – a standout track from this album. I’d also like to speak to the venerable George Hardie (of Hipgnosis fame) to ask him about the concept behind the eyecatching cover and graphics of the album. All these people live and work no further than 100 miles from where I sit to write this.

I was fifteen years of age in 1978. That was the year I saw my first live band. The band was 10CC. The first song they played was ‘The Wall Street Shuffle’ – the first song on ‘Sheet Music’.

It changed my life.

That is why I want to write this book.