April 11, 1997 GOLDMINE #436
10cc : A Pure Injection Of Pop
Original Article By Dave Thompson
Chapter Five : Strawberry puts the ‘hit’ in ‘shit’!!!
of course, landed on his feet, taking up an offer to fly to
Kasenatz-Katz sessions took place in
“Dick Leahy, from Philips, came in and he said ‘What the hell’s that you’re playing?’” Stewart recalls. “I said, ‘It’s a studio experiment, a percussive experiment.’ He says ‘It sounds like a hit record to me…’ and ‘Can we release it?’ And we said ‘Yeah okay. What should we call it?’ And we had no name for the group, of course. But we had a girl at the studio… Kathy Gill, I think her name was, yeah… we had very, very nice legs and she used to wear these incredible hot pants. Green, leather hot pants. So we called the group, ah, Hotlegs.”
and released in the summer of 1970 by Philips, Neanderthal Man reached
#22 in the
Undeterred, the trio (augmented by Gouldman) undertook a short British tour supporting the Moody Blues towards the end of 1970, but little more was heard from Hotlegs for another year, until September, 1971, when they released a new single, Lady Sadie. Simultaneously, Philips repackaged Thinks: School Stinks, omitting both Neanderthal Man and, more surprisingly, Lady Sadie, in favour of The Loser (the flip of Lady Sadie), and Today, a reworking of another Marmalade era song.
made no impact, and a further repackaging in 1974 met a similar fate. You
Didn’t Like It Because You Didn’t Think Of It brought together all the
previously available Hotlegs material including, for the first time on album,
the title track; the original B-side of Neanderthal Man, You Didn’t
Like it had since metamorphosed into Fresh Air For My Mama, the
closing track on 10cc’s debut album. Hotlegs did, however, return to the chart
that year, albeit as mere session musicians. Kennedy Street’s Harvey Lisberg
had recently discovered a new talent named John Paul Jones; not the pop
arranger turned Led Zeppelin bassist, explains Gouldman, “but a comedian who
had the most wonderful rich voice.” Aware, though he was, that Zeppelin’s Jones
already had some claim on the name, Lisberg went ahead with launching his new
client’s career. “I still don’t know why he used it,” Gouldman marvels. “It was
such a bizarre thing to do! But
of the Strawberry team played on Jones’ Man From Nazareth single, which
was well on its way to being a Christmas 1970 hit when the other John Paul
succeeded in getting a court injunction, forcing the artist to respell his
surname Joans. The single had already reached #41 on the British chart; in the
ensuing chaos, while RAK Records reprinted the label, Man From Nazareth
dropped from the charts, reappearing in the New Year, when it rose to #25. (In
The Strawberry team were also involved in numerous sessions. The group played on Solomon King’s version of Lynsey DePaul’s When You Gotta Go, Dave Berry, Wayne Fontana and Mike Timoney, a virtuoso on the cordovox, all recorded with them; Peter Cowap teamed up again with Gouldman to cut a trio of singles for Pye, and a fourth, under the pseudonym Grumble, for RCA. The Herman-less Hermits cut around fifty tracks over the course of a year, although only two of them ever saw the light of day; while the Hermit-less Herman, Peter Noone, also recorded a single with Graham, one of several sessions Mickey Most’s RAK label sent Strawberry’s way.
“We were doing sessions and it was terrible,” said Godley. “We did a lot of tracks in a very short time, it was really like a machine. Twenty tracks in about two weeks, a lot of crap really; real shit. We used to do the voices, everything; it saved them money. We even did the female backing vocals!”
Gouldman is more forgiving. “At that period of time, Strawberry Studios was doing everything and anything, and it also was providing work for myself, Eric, Kev and Lol as session musicians, we were the house band.” Comedians, night-club acts, you name it, Strawberry would record it, but the real money spinner came from sport.”
In British chart terms, it was the age of the football (soccer) record; teams of sportsmen trooping into a studio to lend their often dubious vocal talents to their team’s song. Strawberry Studios would be responsible for many of these, including several big hits; Leeds United’s imaginatively title Leeds United even breached the British Top 10, while both of Manchester’s professional teams, United (Willie Morgan On The Wing) and City (The Boys In Blue) enjoyed Strawberry’s services, with the former, an ode to one of the side’s most gifted players, even earning a cover version by the Ted Taylor Orchestra!
“We did the football things,” Gouldman recalls. “We’d be asked and ‘You know, it’s a football record, let’s try and make a good football record, and it’s business for the studio. Who are we to get picky?’ That was our attitude, and at the same time we were doing an album with Neil Sedaka, or an album with Ramases, and I think it showed we could turn our hands to anything, or in other words, there were no depths to which we would not sink.” Of all these projects, Ramases’ Space Hymns remains a genuine favourite. Ramases himself believed he was the reincarnation of the Egyptian Pharaoh of the same name, and Gouldman enthuses, “It was great. It was a really fine album to make. We would sit down on the floor with acoustic guitars, that kind of vibe, very hippy and mystical.”
Eric Stewart In Air Gun Revelation!!!
Graham Gouldman In Wrong Studio Revelation!!!
Graham Gouldman In Songwriting Technique Exposé!!!
The Runcible Spoon… What Exactly Is It?
Strawberry Puts The ‘Hit’ In ‘Shit’!!!
So That’s How They Got The Name…
Million Dollars Buys A
Strawberry Studios South… Now You’re Dorking!!!
I Said ‘You’ve Got To Be Joking Man, It Was A Present From Me Mum’!!!!
Headline Writer In ‘Stuck For Words’ Shock!!!
Sometimes Having Wax In Your Ears Can Be A Good Thing
And They Still Don’t Give A…