10cc Founder Graham Gouldman on song writing and longevity in music


Prolific Writer - over 350 songs during 50 year career

British born, Graham Gouldman is a musician and songwriter who’s been writing some of the most successful pop hits of the last fifty years. Gouldman has written songs for artists like The Yardbirds, The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, Wayne Fontana, Jeff Beck, Cher, The Shadows and P.J Proby. In 1966 he wrote ‘Bus Stop’ for The Hollies, which became their first American hit. 

Gouldman’s next success as a songwriter came with his song, ‘No Milk Today’ that Herman’s Hermits recorded in 1967. He tells me that his father was hugely instrumental in bringing about this song.

Graham was born in 1946 in Manchester England. He was given his first guitar at age eleven and started forming and working with local bands at age fifteen. Inspired by The Beatles and encouraged by his parents Betty and Hymie, who often helped him with lyrics, Graham started writing songs. In 1964 he met Harvey Lisberg who became his manager. Harvey also managed Herman’s Hermits for whom Graham would later write ‘Listen people’ and ‘No milk today’. But he had his first hit as a songwriter in 1965 writing ‘For your love’ for the Yardbirds. 

He also wrote their follow up hits ‘Heart full of soul’ and ‘Evil hearted you’. In the same year The Hollies recorded his song ‘Look through any window’ followed by ‘Bus stop’ in 1966.

At the Sausage Factory making Bubblegum

Gouldman’s reputation as a hit songwriter attracted the attention of bubblegum pop producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz of Super K Productions, who invited him to New York City to write formula bubblegum songs. In what he later called a “creative lowpoint”  He tells me he hated being there and only lasted a short while before returning home to Manchester, burnt out and depressed. One of his first tasks for Super K had been writing and singing lead vocals on “Sausalito (Is the Place to Go)”, which was released in July 1969 under the name of the Ohio Express.

The Formation of 10cc

In 1972, along with Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, Graham formed the band 10CC. As boys, Godley and Creme knew each other; Gouldman and Godley attended the same secondary school. In 1973 the band released their first single ‘Donna’ a Godley/Creme composition and enjoyed a string of Top 10 hits, including three No 1s – ‘Rubber Bullets’, ‘I’m Not In Love’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’.

The four musicians worked together at Strawberry Studios, producing and backing artists including Cowap, Dave BerryWayne FontanaHerman’s Hermits and Neil Sedaka, as well as recording quite a number of one-off singles on many different labels, using many different performer names. In July 1972, they were signed by entrepreneur, producer and recording artist Jonathan King and given the name 10cc

What does the name 10cc refer to?

You’ll have to listen to the interview to find out!

Over the course of the next 23 years, 10cc scored three UK No.1 singles and five Top 10 albums, with Gouldman co-writing some of their biggest hits, including “The Wall Street Shuffle” (1974), “I’m Not in Love” (1975), “I’m Mandy, Fly Me” (1976), “Art For Art’s Sake” (1976), “The Things We Do for Love” (1977) and “Dreadlock Holiday” (1978)

Gouldman began touring as “10cc featuring Graham Gouldman and Friends”, with his band performing in 1999, at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Birmingham. After the release of his solo album, he got the lads back together to celebrate 30 years of 10cc in 2002, billed as “Graham Gouldman celebrates 30 years of 10cc”. In 2018, Gouldman joined Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band on tour. In 2019, he announced a new album titled Modesty Forbids featuring Ringo Starr, which was released in March 2020. He tells me all about it.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Max Robertson

    Hi Sandy absolutely loved your interview with Graham i am a huge fan of his work i have been to many concerts of 10cc going back to the 70s and they last concert at the Melbourne Zoo and hope to go when they come here next year. Thanks again regards Max.

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