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Big boys don't cry
May 12, 2009 9:03 PM   Subscribe

10cc's I'm Not In Love and the story behind it.
posted by klangklangston (56 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like Tori Amos's version better.
posted by grouse at 9:07 PM on May 12, 2009


Before anyone says anything snarky, I'd like to say that 10cc is a great band and that this song is wonderful.
posted by archagon at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2009


Beautiful song. Really crappy video.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:12 PM on May 12, 2009


I loved 'Dreadlock Holiday' when I was a kid, without any knowledge of the band. I was so disappointed when it turned out that the band was full of white Brits and not dreadlocked islanders.

Still like the song, though.
posted by Paragon at 9:15 PM on May 12, 2009


Takes me back to my childhood listening to the radio in my room on gray, rainy days in Germany. What the hell was it with the 1970s? It's like the decade was brimming with massive creative genius.
posted by crapmatic at 9:18 PM on May 12, 2009


Aww...one of the many junior high dances I never attended, and one of the many crushes I never kissed.
posted by malocchio at 9:30 PM on May 12, 2009


Or, if your taste runs elsewhere, the story behind the Stone Roses "Fool's Gold".

Or, wherever your taste runs, all the CLASSIC TRACKS articles from Sound on Sound Magazine.
posted by nicwolff at 9:35 PM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Thanks for this - it totally takes me back to my early teenage years. There's a haunting quality to this song - it's beautiful but it's always seemed somewhat mysterious to me. 70's pop was special.
posted by davebush at 9:42 PM on May 12, 2009


Holy crap, Grandaddy covered this song? I have to find that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:43 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the Classic Tracks series had been posted before, but it looks like I was thinking of this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:47 PM on May 12, 2009


Grandaddy covered it on their banned Windfall Varietal tour CD, and there are some concert versions floating out there online as well.

/fandaddy
posted by troybob at 9:54 PM on May 12, 2009


lol creme
posted by maryh at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Great songcraft, great musicianship and just an insane amount of production skill. People in the 70s learned to play the studio itself as an instrument and this is one of the high water marks of the era.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:08 PM on May 12, 2009


Lytle version on tube

Grandaddy Windfall version mp3
posted by troybob at 10:11 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's a lovely song and can totally conjure up a 1976 summer to hear it again. However, I'm slightly aghast at what I just read in the 10cc wikipedia article "A widely-repeated claim, disputed by King[11] and Godley,[12] but confirmed in a 1988 interview by Creme,[13] is that the band name represented a volume of semen that was more than the average amount ejaculated by men, thus emphasising their potency or prowess." Blech, all my memories are ruined.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:11 PM on May 12, 2009


Taking Sides: I'm Not In Love by 10cc vs. Cry by Godley and Creme.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 PM on May 12, 2009


Wow, I had no idea that's how they got that sound. Amazing.
posted by equalpants at 10:41 PM on May 12, 2009


I didn't realize those were actual voices in the background... I always assumed they were synths! I guess that's what puts the track that weird haunting middle ground between human and artificial. It's an uncanny valley song.
posted by speicus at 10:49 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amazing song - love it still.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:01 PM on May 12, 2009


Durn kids these days got it real easy.

Bouncing tracks on a 16 track? What's that for? In my DAW all I have to do is add another track!

4 guys running 3 or 4 faders each on a desk? In realtime? Who would do that? -My DAW remembers each fader's motion, all I have to do is rewind!

Record your own samples? By singing each note? 16 times? Maybe 2 notes per octave, but that's what a sampler is for!

Record your own loops? With tape? With 12' of tape? Wrapped around a mic stand? My cell phone* can do better than that

When I first listened to this song [as a musician], I just assumed it was some 70's synth that had formants in it producing the "ahhs", nothing special there, just a cool pop song.

I was wrong.

*Windows Mobile has a few apps like Griff or MilkyTracker or AudioBox for "on the go" tunes writing
posted by ill13 at 11:52 PM on May 12, 2009


Dear God please help me before I harmonically deconstruct another song on MeFi.

Yes, we all know the first two chords differ only in the movement from the major third to the minor, then on the second line the third and fifth hold while the root descends (A-Am-G#-to auuugh!)

I have to stop.
posted by sourwookie at 1:22 AM on May 13, 2009


Sorry. "Yes, we all know" is just a device I use to get me started typing. Don't read much into it, it doesn't mean that much to me.
posted by sourwookie at 1:24 AM on May 13, 2009


Thanks for the article. It was interesting to read about the extent to which the whole song was came about by a series of fortuitous accidents. Also a reminder of the lack of recording safety nets at the time: if you screwed something up there was no "undo" - you just had something different to work with.

I had always assumed the backing voices were on something like a mellotron so it was fascinating to hear how they actually created them.
posted by rongorongo at 2:23 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sadly their name's not as filthy as was always rumoured.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:34 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's another perspective: As 10cc fans beginning with their first album, and through the incredible "Sheet Music" album, my buddies and I were absolutely appalled when "I'm Not in Love" hit the airwaves. It was a total step off the edge of the cliff in terms of quality. We adored and memorized every line, every abrupt turn in melody, every parodic twist of fast-paced gems like "The Dean's Daughter" and "Rubber Bullets." Then came "I'm Not in Love," this... this... this big, slow, blurry mess that dragged along at an agonizingly slow pace, leaving a trail of glistening slime behind the obvious and witless ironicism of its lyric. A song whose melody barely develops, but seems to take forever to state its lame theme, then states it again, and again, all the time smearing the aural lens with this vaseline production. When you listen to the crisp, virile, snappy tunes that made 10cc's first two albums so exciting, when you've thrilled to the exciting arrangements of songs like "Wall Street Shuffle," and melodic plot twists of "Oh Effendi," "Clockwork Creep" and "Hotel," and even enjoyed the occasional atmospheric (but never dull) ballad like "Old Wild Men" or "Somewhere in Hollywood," then you turn to the mindlessly simple, pointlessly drawn out "I"m Not in Love", you can't help but think here is a band that has absolutely run out of ideas and is now trying to emulate the production values of Richard Carpenter (brother of Karen Carpenter and master of the vocal wash), only without a great song (not even as good as the least of the Carpenters' songs) to lavish its attention on. It was the end of the line for 10cc, it was the corpse of a band washing up on the beach. One of the low points in the history of pop. I don't think I've ever listened to it through to the end.
posted by Faze at 4:17 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The background vocals were a big influence on Abba at the time, particularly evident in their song, My Love My Life.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:27 AM on May 13, 2009


You're all kidding right? This song makes me want to vomit granola all over my birkenstocks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:35 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Big boys sometimes cry. *weep*
posted by tcv at 5:03 AM on May 13, 2009


I wondered why I had thought until now that this song came out in the late eighties, and it turns out that's because the version I remember is Will to Power's cover of it.
posted by orange swan at 5:08 AM on May 13, 2009


The backstory of its construction is fascinating, but I never liked this inescapable radio hit. ...Which is too bad for me, because it kept me far away from 10cc for years that I could have been enjoying their many other incongruously rocking songs.
posted by applemeat at 5:34 AM on May 13, 2009


Maybe Pearl Jam could invite 10cc to be their opening act?

And whatever else, you have to admit that "Lol Creme" is the coolest name ever.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:35 AM on May 13, 2009


Big boys don't kwy.
posted by fish tick at 5:40 AM on May 13, 2009


I didn't realize those were actual voices in the background... I always assumed they were synths! I guess that's what puts the track that weird haunting middle ground between human and artificial.

That really makes the song IMHO. From the article:
"I mixed down 48 voices of each note of the chromatic scale from the 16-track to the Studer stereo machine to make a loop of each separate note, and then I bounced back these loops one at a time to a new piece of 16-track tape, and just kept them running for about seven minutes.
The process is a bit like a Mellotron.
posted by exogenous at 5:56 AM on May 13, 2009


I'm not the world's biggest fan of this particular song, exactly, but I am a big fan of the idea of songs that don't do the usual pop thing, yet manage to become pop hits nonetheless. They stand as testament to the idea that that something different and unexpected and quite original can still shine through, and get some love. That you don't always have to play by the rules. I'm Not In Love, with it's absurdly long (by pop song standards) wordless section, and no drums falls into that rarefied category that I'm talking about.

BTW, I'm pretty sure I linked to this article at some point in a MeFi comment a long time ago, and if I could've found it easily and linked to it I would've, so as to say LOOK KLANG, I GOT THERE FIRST! But I ain't gonna go looking for it just for that, and, I might be misremembering anyway. But it's a good article, and good on Herr Klang for posting it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:09 AM on May 13, 2009


the band name represented a volume of semen that was more than the average amount ejaculated by men, thus emphasising their potency or prowess.

10cc's? That's less "wow he's potent" and more "is he seriously going to pretend he didn't just wet the bed"?
posted by palliser at 6:16 AM on May 13, 2009


I actually bought the album for the mini rock opera Une Nuit a Paris. This was when you were getting all of these long -form rock songs. Yes, Tull, Genesis. The early '70s were a gold mine for what we called Saga Rock.
posted by Gungho at 6:17 AM on May 13, 2009


Great post and very entertaining to read all the replies. Personally, I've always loved the witless, stark and haunting nature of this tune. To contrast with other posts, I found 10cc to otherwise be a mediocre and forgettable relic of a rock band. But "I'm not in Love" has stayed with me. I have no idea if there's anything to this (I'm likely projecting), but I always here the beginnings of Cocteau Twins, when I hear it.
posted by psmealey at 6:31 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Taking Sides: I'm Not In Love by 10cc vs. Cry by Godley and Creme.

Nothing will ever defeat Godley & Creme's Sandwiches of You.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:45 AM on May 13, 2009


Maybe Pearl Jam could invite 10cc to be their opening act?

And the Loving Spoonful.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:21 AM on May 13, 2009


Like the song, but always thought it was by Alan Parsons Project. Huh.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:29 AM on May 13, 2009


"One of the low points in the history of pop. I don't think I've ever listened to it through to the end."

Oh, Faze, it never surprises me when you're absolutely, incontrovertibly wrong about music. Or anything, really.
posted by klangklangston at 7:34 AM on May 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Taking Sides: I'm Not In Love by 10cc vs. Cry by Godley and Creme.

I'm Not in Love: better story.
Cry: better video.
posted by googly at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2009


It's a good tune, but I prefer the vocoder treatment in Naked Ape's Fashion Freak.
posted by bwg at 8:18 AM on May 13, 2009


"I thought the Classic Tracks series had been posted before, but it looks like I was thinking of this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:47 AM on May 13 [+] [!] "


Ah, so that's where those vintage favorites came from!
posted by Eideteker at 8:27 AM on May 13, 2009


It's a decent song, really. Well put together. But the neighbor kid filled the woods behind the house with it over & over & over again, so I'll always remember I'm Not In Love as the one that finally & forever turned me off to moaning, mournful love songs.
posted by Forrest Greene at 8:28 AM on May 13, 2009


Love this song. Outrageous Cherry does a really cool cover, too...it's on the Stereo Action Rent Party record.
posted by capnsue at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2009


exogenous: "The process is a bit like a Mellotron."

Well, like a boutique mellotron with a really clumsy keyboard and keys that all stick. :)

Some of you may know this already, and I have no connection to them whatsoever, but I'm a huge fan of Sound on Sound. For starters, ever since I started recording music up to now, that's over a decade of growing knowledge, broadening horizons and narrowing interests (as you limit your interest somewhat to things specifically relevant to you), my joy in reading SoS hasn't changed much overall.

To me, that's a major sign of the magazine's accessibility (and they don't seem to dumb stuff down much, either). I mean, I find useful and entertaining stuff in EQ and Mix et al. plenty fine too, and Tape Op is especially cool because of its DIY angle and the fact that it's free (Europe too guys), but every edition of SoS is like a small bible of sorts. Just consider the page count (even if half of it is ads, alright).

Its major downside is that it's so ungodly expensive: a single issue is close to €10 in Holland! But the eSub options are very affordable, and every article older than six months can be read online for free. And you can buy single articles as PDF for a pound or so, so the business model is quite enlightened.

Apologies for the sales pitch, I really don't mean it that way; I've just learned so much from SoS. Here's a recent Classic Tracks I liked, on Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way":

"We listened to everything loud, and I started saying, 'Are my ears going or does this sound duller than usual? It seems like I'm adding more top end all the time.' [...] At one point I even brought up the kick drum and the snare, solo'd them, went back and forth between the two, and asked anybody if they could pick out which was which, and without any other timing information or instrumentation you couldn't tell the difference between them. So much character was gone from the kick and the snare that they just sounded like 'pah, pah'. That's when the fog cleared from our brains and we knew we had a problem."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I could listen to Chrissy Hynde sing the phone book. The 10cc version always transports me into being in the backseat of my parents' car, summertime, about 6 years old, the vinyl seat way too hot and sticking to my thighs, and listening to the AM.
posted by not_on_display at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2009


Holy crap—10cc were Manks?!?
posted by koeselitz at 11:58 AM on May 13, 2009


I was not into pop at the time, although I played pop for cash in the studios. I remember the studio wanker going nuts about this song when it came out, and he was right. A great song. There was another song with a killer bass line...damn, can't remember.

I'm glad some boys and girls killed in the studio now and then during an otherwise depressing decade or two when I was immersed in Sun Ra and John Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Good songs are very very good.
posted by kozad at 8:26 PM on May 13, 2009


song has stood the test of time , very pretty. Very understated,musically and lyrically.
As an adolescent young man in 1975-6 I could NOT get into this overplayed Middle of the Road Rock at the time , also "Silly Love Songs". Funny how time and less overexposure can change one's perception of a song.

a cut above most Yacht Rock. bwaa haa

Now where's the story of Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat? "




Fans of this should also consider revisiting Abandoned Luncheonette
posted by celerystick at 10:48 PM on May 13, 2009


Now where's the story of Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat? "

Yes!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:51 AM on May 14, 2009


Really good post, learned a lot.
posted by Wolof at 12:57 AM on May 14, 2009


btw....Year of the Cat.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:58 AM on May 14, 2009


What about that nasty stain?
posted by doctorschlock at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2009


Big boys don't kwy.

Mr. Jaws, why doesn't anything seem to hurt you?
(one could do a whole post on Dickie Goodman..I'm short on time today)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:04 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


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