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Date: 13/07/10

10cc - The Making Of "I'm Not In Love"

Come with me, my dears, back thirty-five years...

...and that, to me, is a scary concept in itself. I'm taking you back to a point in my life where contemplating thirty-five years was akin to countenancing eternity. Thirty-five years back, to me then, was Ancient History. I mean, from that point it would have meant going back all the way to 1940, to a time when not only did I not exist, but to when my parents probably hadn't even met yet. So much had happened, so much had changed; a war had been fought and - ostensibly - won (although the ideas of the Nazis have never really died, and the world was still going to spend decades divided against itself).

So the mere notion of thirty-five years would have seemed unreal to me at the time. And yet, here I am guiding you back to my own 1940, as 'twere.

Anyway, to cut - as they say - to the chase. It is the summer of 1975; one of the last real summers we had here. I was thirteen years old. The weather was hot, humid and sticky. And so was I. Late nights featured an open bedroom window, me wearing in bed as little as possible consistent with the need to cover potential embarrassment, as even being under a bedsheet raised the temperature to uncomfortable levels.

What late nights also featured was listening to Downtown on Radio City out of Liverpool some thirty miles distant. A late-night programme of easy-ish listening, presented at the weekend by a mad Irish broadcasting legend called Arthur Murphy, and during the week by the smooth, calm voice of Bill Bingham.

The music featured on the shows was, to a large degree, the standard commercial radio playlist of the time, but with the odd excursion (and I mean odd - Isao Tomita's electronic mangling of Debussy's Arabesque No. 1 got what they call 'heavy rotation').

This meant that chart material featured very strongly, although it tended towards the AOR end of the scale (this was way before punk, remember). Which meant that late nights for me meant hearing one of the most sublime songs - and one of the most remarkable feats of production - of the whole pop era; 10cc's I'm Not In Love.

I've remarked elsewhere (well, here to be precise) what a gem of a track that is: a beautiful tune, lyrics at once both wistful and ironic, and a multi-layered production which in its conception and execution seemed many years ahead of what anyone else was doing.

The techniques used in creating the track seem primitive in comparison to the ease of electronic and digital recording and sequencing with which we have become so familiar. But remember, just like Kraftwerk's Autobahn (and more on that here), it was all done with tape, razor blades and a lot of Heath Robinson/Rube Goldberg inventiveness.

But just how did Stewart, Gouldman, Godley and Creme bring about this miracle? Listen to this, and be aware of genius at work:

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(Tip of the wig to BoingBoing)