Sunday, February 4, 2018

Graham Gouldman song writer (10cc)

Graham Keith Gouldman was born in 1946 in Broughton, Salford, Manchester. His father, poet and playwright, Hymie Gouldman encouraged him to develop his musical talent. He started with drums but soon moved onto guitar when he was 11. By slowing down the singles Graham learned to play songs like Apache and Rebel rouser. He attended Sedgeley Park County Primary School in Manchester and as a devout Jew, Graham attended synagogue. He was especially attracted to chants sung with minor chords and later attributed this to the inspiration for much of his music. He played in a number of Manchester bands before forming The Whirlwinds in 1963. The Whirlwinds signed to HMV in 1964, and recorded a cover version of Buddy Holly’s "Look At Me", with the B side “Baby Not Like You", written by Lol Creme. The single flopped and the group broke up. He briefly formed the Mockingbirds with school friend Kevin Godley on drums and inspired by the Beatles began song writing. Graham was working by day in a men's outfitters shop called Bargains Unlimited and in his spare time penning many songs which would eventually become Number One hits. Graham formed The Mockingbirds in 1965 and the group signed with Columbia. They released "That’s How (It’s Gonna Stay)" written by Gouldman and "I Can Feel We're Parting". Neither single impacted. The band quickly switched labels to Immediate label and released "You Stole My Love " which was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and Paul Samwell-Smith (former Yardbird) with Julie Driscoll singing background vocals. It bombed so they went to Decca in 1966. "One By One" and "How to Find a Lover" also failed to attract chart attention but despite the lack of commercial success the Mockingbirds were a good sounding group and got regular work as warm-up on BBC TV’s Top of the Pops.

By this time Graham had written hit singles including For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul, and Evil Hearted You all recorded by The Yardbirds. Two Hollies hits: Look Through Any Window (with Charles Silverman) and Bus Stop; and a couple of hits for Herman’s Hermits: Listen People and No Milk Today.

In 1965 The Shadows did a cover version of Naughty Nippon Nights an instrumental written by Graham Gouldman. His talents as a producer were also in demand and he produced a couple of singles for local Manchester acts. He continued to pursue his own career and recorded with High Society (with Peter Cowap and Friday Browne) and The Manchester Mob made up of the same musicians.

In 1968 he played bass with The Mindbenders and they recorded two of his songs, the controversial "Schoolgirl" (about teenage pregnancy) and "Uncle Joe, the Ice Cream Man" before they finally broke up.

Recognised now as a consummate pop song writer he worked for Robbins Music and producer Mickie Most before shifting to the Kennedy Street Enterprises in Manchester. In 1968 he released a solo album, The Graham Gouldman Thing.

More hits for others came including Cher, Jeff Beck and Wayne Fontana. Super K Productions were based in New York and pop producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz invited Graham to write bubblegum songs. He relocated to the Big Apple and for a year worked incessantly as a staff writer. Despite the volume of work he produced few actually charted. He decided to return to the UK and convinced his American bosses his songs would be better performed by his own band at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, Cheshire UK. Gouldman had a share in the recording studio which was owned by Eric Stewart (former Mindbenders). Kasenetz and Katz agreed and Gouldman, Kevin Godley, Lol Crème and Eric Stewart (former Mindbenders) started producing music. They worked well together and because they were masters of recording produced some interesting sounds. When Graham returned to NY he left the trio to dabble in the studio. Under the name Hotlegs they released Neaderthal Man and it became a UK hit in 1970. When Graham returned to the UK the four musicians continued to work at Strawberry Studios backing and producing other artists. They also released several singles under several names but none caught the charts. In 1972 Jonathan King signed them and they started recording as 10 cc. The group had phenomenal success and Graham co-wrote some of their biggest hits, including "The Wall Street Shuffle" (1974), "I'm Not in Love" (1975), "I’m Mandy, Fly Me" and "Art for Art’s Sake" (1976), "The Things We Do For Love" (1977) and "Dreadlock Holiday" (1978).

Kevin and Lol left in 1976 to pursue their careers as Godley and Creme and Graham Gouldman continued with Eric Stewart using session men to fill in. Gouldman continued to write and produce for others as well as having a solo career. By the eighties Graham was writing with Andrew Gold and they produced four albums together. 10cc reformed in the early 1990s and recorded several albums before finally dissolving in 1995. Graham continues to perform and has from time to time collaborated with Kevin and others in response to their earlier works.

Worth a listen
The Yardbirds
For Your Love (1965)
Heart Full of Soul (1965)
Evil Hearted You (1965)

Look Through Any Window (1966)
Bus Stop (1966)

Herman’s Hermits
Listen People (1966)
No Milk Today (1966)

Jeff Beck (1967)

Wayne Fontana
Pamela, Pamela (1968)

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)
Dreadlock Holiday (1978)

1 comment:

Geoff Brown said...

Graham must rate as one of the most talented lyricist/musicians of the modern pop era.

I had the privilege of seeing him recently at Kilworth House and I was blown away by the sheer talent of the man.

He also seems to be a real nice guy