10cc's Graham Gouldman
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As if to further reinforce Graham Gouldman’s status as one of the world’s leading songwriters, he is to be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame – an arm of America’s National Academy of Music – at a special ceremony in New York in June.
Previous inductees include Noel Coward, Irving Berlin, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Leonard Cohen and Sting.
Born on 10 May 1946 in Manchester, Graham was given his first guitar at the age of 11 and started playing with local bands at 15. He received early encouragement to develop his musical talent from his mother Betty and father Hymie, who also contributed with suggested lyrics and song titles.
Graham played with various Manchester bands before forming The Mockingbirds in 1965 (with Kevin Godley on drums), and when the band’s record label Columbia rejected Graham’s first single composition for the band – For Your Love, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The song became a huge hit for The Yardbirds.
Working by day in a men's outfitters shop and playing by night with his semiprofessional band, Graham went on to write a string of hits, such as Pamela, Pamela for Wayne Fontana, Evil Hearted You and Heart Full of Soul, (The Yardbirds), Bus Stop and Look Through Any Window (The Hollies), No Milk Today and Listen People (Herman's Hermits), and Tallyman for Jeff Beck.
In 1972, along with Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, he formed 10cc and enjoyed a string of Top 10 hits, including three No 1s - Rubber Bullets, I’m Not In Love and Dreadlock Holiday – along with Donna (No 2), Art For Art’s Sake and Good Morning Judge (both reaching No 5), The Things We Do For Love and I’m Mandy Fly Me (6) and The Wall Street Shuffle (10).
It’s the enduring popularity of these tracks and Graham’s love of playing songs in their simplest form, acoustically, that led him and fellow 10cc members Rick Fenn, Mick Wilson and Mike Stevens, into performing some of them – just with vocals and acoustic guitars – as the supporting act at 10cc concerts.
It grew to become a stand-alone entity and Heart Full of Songs debuted in its own right in April 2013, playing 17 shows with several sell-outs, including London’s 800-capacity Union Chapel.
Heart Full of Songs’ performances feature many of the songs mentioned above, along with Bridge To Your Heart (from Graham’s time in Wax with the late Andrew Gold), other Gouldman compositions and tracks from his acclaimed latest solo album Love And Work.
With 10cc having toured UK arenas with Status Quo last December and their next solo concert tour not scheduled until the autumn, Graham is taking Heart Full of Songs on tour again in May, this time as a three-piece with Mike Stevens and Iain Hornal, with percussion contributions from Dave Cobby.
A Heart Full of Songs concert is most certainly a night to remember.