His name might not ring a bell for most people, but if you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s and listened to the radio, you’ve probably heard a few songs by Graham Gouldman. To say that Graham Gouldman is a songwriting genius would be an understatement. Gouldman has been a mainstay in the rock and pop music industry since the mid-1960s, penning classic tunes such as “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul” (both hits for the Yardbirds), “Bus Stop” and “Look Through Any Window” (both hits for the Hollies), as well as songs for the likes of Herman’s Hermits, Jeff Beck, and even Cher.
But Gouldman’s greatest fame came as a member of the British band 10cc, whose string of hits in the 70s included “I’m Not in Love”, “Dreadlock Holiday”, “Art For Art’s Sake”, and “The Things We Do For Love.” 10cc’s endearing style of eccentric pop was adored by both critics and record buyers, and decades later it remains beloved by music fans all over the world. In fact, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band last year, a boxed set of 10cc music was released by Universal Music. Tenology, includes five discs; four music CDs (the usual mix of singles, album cuts, and B-sides) and a DVD (with concert footage of the band). The attractively designed box also includes a thin hardcover book that features song lyrics and an essay with a short history of the band.
During the long hiatus that 10cc took during most of the 80s and 90s, Gouldman teamed up with pop singer-songwriter Andrew Gold to form a duo they dubbed Wax. As Wax, Gouldman and Gold released four acclaimed studio albums. Unfortunately, their record label didn’t a great job of marketing the albums, nor were they able to convince enough fans of the albums’ existence, thus it sold in rather underwhelming quantities. During that “lost decade” Gouldman also produced the album Pleasant Dreams by the legendary Ramones. Clearly, he’s a guy that isn’t afraid to try something different.
Late last year Gouldman released a new solo album, Love and Work, a remarkably strong collection of material. Even in his mid-sixties, it’s obvious that Gouldman can still write devastatingly catchy tunes. And what’s more, he sounds good too. His vocals were always an underrated component of 10cc and on this solo album he more than holds his own. Most of the songs on the new album sound like the more mainstream pop tunes he was recording with Wax rather than the quirkier style he pioneered with 10cc. Among the very memorable tunes on the new album is an instrumental, “Black Gold,” that sounds like it would be right at home on a James Bond soundtrack. The album is dedicated to the memory of Andrew Gold, who passed away in 2011. As excellent as this album is, however, I fear that like what happened with the Wax albums, this new one by Graham Gouldman will also be ignored by the masses. It’s a shame that such high quality music isn’t appreciated — let alone acknowledged — in this age of disposable digital downloads.