KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Forty Year Friday – 10cc “DECEPTIVE BENDS”

Artist: 10cc
Album: DECEPTIVE BENDS

[Welcome to Forty Year Friday, the weekly series on my favorite albums of 1977]

Can one incredible song turn an otherwise very good album into a great one? In the case of 10cc’s Deceptive Bends the answer is a resounding “yes.” The fifth album by this English art-rock band, which had previously scored several hits in their homeland as well as the worldwide smash “I’m Not In Love” in 1975, was also its first without founding members Kevin Godley & Lol Creme, who went on to record some wonderful music together and directed a number of groundbreaking videos for themselves & other artists. The remaining duo of multi-instrumentalists/producers Eric Stewart & Graham Gouldman, augmented by drummer/percussionist Paul Burgess, set out to prove that they weren’t merely “5cc” (as the cynical British press suggested). Although they lost some of the quirkiness that made their earlier records so much fun, the record is jam-packed with post-Beatles melodic tunes that take all kinds of surprising twists & turns. The jaw-droppingly awesome song I referred to above, “The Things We Do For Love,” was the album’s first single and also my introduction to the group as a 10(cc)-year-old. Opening with some of the atmospheric lushness of the aforementioned “I’m Not In Love,” it shifts to a pop/rock shuffle with numerous hooks, especially at “like walking in the rain and the snow…” and “ooh you made me love you, ooh you’ve got a way.” It’s a delightful slice of Paul McCartney pop perfection injected with a lovely little George Harrison-esque guitar solo that was a Top 10 hit in multiple countries. I can’t say enough about this song.

There’s nothing else quite like it here, and they never impacted the U.S. charts again, but as a fan of well-written, well-produced, super-melodic yet unpredictable music, I think it’s every bit as strong as their prior work. Album opener “Good Morning Judge” was another Top 10 hit in the U.K. I love the funky groove & bluesy guitar tone, as well as the quasi-disco/reggae feel at “He didn’t do it, he wasn’t there.” “People In Love” is a pretty piano-and-strings ballad with a catchy melody at “Ooh, sitting alone in the dark.” “Modern Man Blues” is a tight, almost sinister-sounding shuffle in 3/4 time that’s not quite raw enough to be real “blues” (other than the biting guitar solo) but I don’t think that was their intention. The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek about the need for a man to cheat (“A sophisticated man needs a little something on the side, so what you don’t get at home you’ve gotta get outside”). “You’ve Got A Cold” is a bouncy tune with a tight groove and a simple light-reggae chorus with the title repeated twice. I really enjoy the alternate section with call-and-response vocals (“Hot toddies/won’t help you, warm blankets/won’t sweat it out”), and it features another super-tasty guitar solo. “Honeymoon With B Troop” is a bit too schizophrenic, with each of its wonderful individual parts never quite sticking together, but I enjoy it nonetheless. “Marriage Bureau Rendezvous” enters soft-rock territory (nothing wrong with that), with hints of country, reggae, some more George Harrison-inspired guitar, and a strong hook at “Do you like ‘em small, love ‘em slim long & tall?” Deceptive Bends ends with a 3-part 11-1/2 minute suite called “Feel The Benefit,” which travels from an introduction that recalls The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” punctuated by dramatic accents & sweeping strings to a midtempo Badfinger/Harry Nilsson-style ballad to a Latin rhythm (subtitled “A Latin Break”) and back to “Dear Prudence” territory before its extended instrumental outro with searing guitar work. Some CD editions include the b-sides of the album’s three singles, all of which would have fit nicely on the original record, with “Hot To Trot” being my favorite. I still own my 45 of “The Things We Do For Love” even though I rarely play singles anymore, and I’ll never forget how excited I was the first time I heard it. That excitement returns every time I hear it, and the whole album still sounds fresh after 40 years.

 

16 comments on “Forty Year Friday – 10cc “DECEPTIVE BENDS”

  1. Murphy's Law
    November 17, 2017

    I could hear the single in my head as soon as I saw the headline. It is truly a great piece of pop. I’m going to have to hunt up some of their other work – I’ve only heard the 2 hits (the middle of I’m Not in Love is really creepy when heard through headphones).

    Like

    • Amazing how some songs you can hear vividly in your head at just the mere mention of an artist or album. There is a lot to love in the 10cc discography beyond the two huge singles. Please let me know if/when you check them out. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

      Like

  2. 80smetalman
    November 17, 2017

    Things We Do For Love was a great song back when I heard it, still is. My ex wife had this album and I listened to it a couple of times. Problem is that we’ve been split up for more than 17 years. Not that I heard “Good Morning Judge” again after so many years, I do remember it.

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    • Sorry you no longer have access to your ex-wife’s copy of this album, but there are plenty of ways you can hear it so who needs her? 😀 It holds up extremely well and there’s a whole lot to love beyond “The Things We Do For Love.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Daddydinorawk
    November 17, 2017

    Feel the Benefit may be my favorite 10cc track. I really enjoy this one front to back and the B sides, Dont Squeeze and Laid Back are among my favorite ever Gouldman/Stewart songs.

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    • Hard to argue with your choice of favorite 10cc song. Had I not grown up with “The Things We Do For Love” and discovered them a little later, I probably would have chosen “Feel The Benefit” as a favorite. It certainly should appeal to progressive rock fans. I agree about the b-sides being among their best. Thanks for the feedback.

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  4. Alyson
    November 18, 2017

    “…. as a fan of well-written, well-produced, super-melodic yet unpredictable music” – I like what you said there as during my time on the music blogosphere it seems that not everyone is – Strange. I loved 10cc back in the ’70s although it was not until much later that I discovered it was Gouldman who wrote so many of those ’60s hits I was so familiar with. As ever I didn’t actually have this album but like you I did love “The Things We Do For Love” – I have a post pending, where I was going to write about the song “I’m Not In Love” which featured in the move Guardians Of The Galaxy (I have a series going!). It was not until I watched a BBC4 documentary about the making of it, that I truly realised how much had gone into it, what with all the multiple recording of the word “ahhh” and the looping of the tape. Looking back at their string of hits in the UK, it is now easy to work out which was a Gouldman/Stewart composition and which was a Godley/Creme – Think I warm most to the G/S partnership, just as I warmed more to McCartney rather than Lennon songs. Thumbs up this week!

    As I haven’t furnished you with an anecdote for a good few weeks now, here’s one – The 10cc song Donna had just come out when I started High School and one of the girls in my class was indeed called Donna. I still remember an art class when we had to attempt portrait drawing of our classmates who were sitting opposite – The girl who had to draw Donna (a very pretty girl I seem to remember) proceeded to sing the song Donna throughout the whole lesson. Nice for a start but it did wear a bit thin after an hour!

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    • I don’t understand why so many music lovers/critics/bloggers dismiss catchy music. I realize it’s never been cool (other than The Beatles, I suppose) but the simplest sounding songs are often the most complicated to write and the great artists make it sound easy. Looking forward to reading your post about “I’m Not In Love” whenever you get around to it. I wasn’t initially aware of that song but I was introduced to it via the novelty song “Mr. Jaws” which used the whispered “big boys don’t cry” vocals.

      That’s a great story about Donna. Had you been a decade or two older the same story might have referred to the Ritchie Valens song of the same name.

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      • Alyson
        November 19, 2017

        As it turns out that was the year that Donny Osmond became a massive teen heart-throb and I remember the lyrics to that Ritchie Valens song being changed to “Donny” by a girl group – Hadn’t thought of that one in years but was played on a radio show called Junior Choice quite a lot!

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      • That’s really interesting. Who would have thought there would be a connection between Ritchie Valens & Donny Osmond? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. kevin
    November 18, 2017

    I share your excitement on “The Things We Do For Love” completely. I remember being 7 years old, radio surfing frantically hoping to hear it. It is a perfect pop song. Audio Prozac. I wonder how jealous McCartney must have been when he first heard it. The rest of the album doesn’t quite measure up – but how could it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you agree that “The Things We Do For Love” is the perfect pop song and I certainly can’t argue regarding “audio Prozac.” I think the rest of the album is pretty great as well, but how can anything compare to that first single?

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  6. DanicaPiche
    November 18, 2017

    “The Things We Do For Love” sounds great every time I hear it. I’m enjoying “You’ve Got A Cold” and it seems like something that would be featured on Sesame Street! That’s not a bad things at all. 🙂

    Like

    • Hmm, I hadn’t considered “You’ve Got A Cold” as a kid-friendly song but you may be on to something. Glad you agree about “The Things We Do For Love.” Melodic pop music doesn’t get much better than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Glenn Sutton
    December 1, 2017

    Hi Rich. Long time no contact, but I’m trying to catch up with some of your posts and you landed on one of my favorites.

    Deceptive Bends was my first 10cc album, although I’d had the “Rubber Bullets” single for ages before that. I picked up Deceptive Bends as a cut-out (remember those?) and it started me on an exploration of both 10cc and Godley & Creme. For a while there, they were my absolute favorite artists.

    I too think “The Things We Do For Love” is a perfect pop song. It’s that whole “Like walking in the rain and the snow” part that really sells it for me.

    I’ve always suspected that “Feel The Benefit” is a parody of overblown, multi-part prog. From the lyrics (“If we all went out without our shoes on, tell me where would we be?”) to the out-of-left-field Latin break, they seem to be winking at the listener. Yet I’ve seen folks on message boards who apparently take the song completely seriously. Maybe that’s the sign of a good parody. .

    Like

    • Hi Glenn. Thanks for the feedback. Glad we agree about “The Things We Do For Love.” I might have been aware of “I’m Not In Love” (via the novelty song “Mr. Jaws”) but wasn’t aware it was 10cc. For a long time I only owned the single (I think “Hot To Trot” was the b-side, so I liked two of their songs) but eventually got most of their albums. I didn’t “get” the early stuff at first in spite of my love for quirky pop, but now I love it as much as the later material. I also finally checked out some Godley & Creme a few years ago and couldn’t believe I had missed out on it for so long. I need to further explore their catalog.

      You might be right about “Feel The Benefit” being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it also functions as an actual prog song. Only the best parodists can get away with that. The same can be said for “Dreadlock Holiday,” which is a great reggae tune (well, white-guy reggae) but also doesn’t take the genre seriously.

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