Thursday, February 15, 2018

Godley & Creme: Cry

"You don't know how to ease my pain.
You don't know.
You don't know how to ease my pain.
...That's the sound of our love dying.
...You make me want to cry."

This writer is not particularly fond of weird, quirky, experimental pop music, but 10cc was an act I was always intrigued by thanks to their magnificently epic pop masterpiece I'm Not In Love. That's a song easily among my Top 10 favorites of all time, but that's a song for another day. It was that song that led me into the world of 10cc. It was a world that wasn't nearly as inviting as that song. I've always been more inclined to more accessible, masterful pop music they created than the overly eccentric pop productions. So their music is a mixed bag for me.

10cc is downright difficult to embrace musically despite a wild sense of humor, but that act comprised of Kevin Godley and Lol Crème recorded one of the very best pop songs ever made in I'm Not In Love, from The Original Soundtrack (1975), with vocals by Eric Stewart. Stewart returned with 10cc's The Things We Do For Love two years later for The Deceptive Bends (1977) recording.

Clearly it was Stewart that had a flair for the melodic as much as the ingenious Godley and Crème did for the quirky and offbeat oddity. Following Godley and Creme's departure from 10cc in 1976 the duo struck out on their own and began releasing their own productions disbanding Godley & Crème after eight unusual recordings.

The strange duo's only single success stateside came from their seventh recording, The History Mix Volume 1 (1985). That song was Cry. It was a remarkably impressive piece of pop music propelled by a successive deliberate beat. The reason for the act's success, finally, largely had to do with their teaming with members of The Art Of Noise (whom Lol Crème joined in 1998). J.J. Jeczalik and producer Trevor Horn (The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star) stepped in. Horn worked production polish on anything he touched for a decade.

ABC. Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Yes. Seal. Pet Shop Boys. Simple Minds. You name the band from the 1980s and yes Trevor Horn may have been hired by them.

In the end, Cry would become a minor single for the band, but on my playlist it remains a popular favorite to this day. It is a stunningly emotional piece of pop music.

In fact, the changing faces video concept that accompanied the song was indeed ahead of its time as faces morphed or cross-faded from one to another. The video idea predated the late Michael Jackson's Black Or White (1991) video by six years.

Despite having an abundance of creativity and inspiration to spare the band made little effort to create something melodic for insertion into the mainstream. It simply wasn't in their make-up and that's truly unfortunate to a listener like me. The construction of Cry was evidence Godley & Crème could have come up with a full production of truly memorable songs like this one.

Nevertheless, the duo relayed their visual imagination into making music videos throughout the era. Godley & Crème created videos for The Police, Asia, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Sting, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Elton John, Paul Young, Go West, Howard Jones, INXS, Thompson Twins, George Harrison, Wang Chung, Huey Lewis And The News, Peter Gabriel, Ultravox and yes, Yes.

Lol Crème tellingly told Musician magazine in 1985, "We're not in the music business. We left it in 1976 and we haven't taken it seriously since." And that remark tells the story to a degree and says a lot about the duo's playful approach to sound and song. The duo would never look the part of pop stars today, but the music world was a better place for their involvement to be sure.

The resulting Cry, as brilliant as it was, feels now more likely a success by chance and that's really enough to make you wanna' cry. Fortunately it was popular enough to catch this listener's notice. It remains one of the best of the 1980s.

The History Mix Volume 1 (1985): D. An offbeat collection of songs with the standout being the incredible Cry. A medley on the collection, Wet Rubber Soup, also samples I'm Not In Love. This medley coupled with an extended version of Cry runs approximately 18 minutes. A rarity to be sure, but not exactly a satisfying experience.

Cry. A. Truly one of the rare, forgotten and great songs of the 1980s. The song cannot be found on iTunes, yet the video can be downloaded there. The single (edit) was available on a VH1 classic singles collection on CD once upon a time, which is where I snagged my copy. Collections by the act are also out there and do include the extended Cry. But, sadly (ahem), gems like this one are hard to come by today. We are left to resort to ripping them any way humanly possible off You Tube and the web when and where required alongside rare finds by Peter Wolf and Tears For Fears.


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